Update: Wreck of USS Jacob Jones Found

We’d like to share with you an update to Kathi Kresol’s August, 2019 article “Simon T. Murphy & The sinking of the USS Jacob Jones.”

To read the original article click here: Simon T. Murphy & The Sinking of the USS Jacob Jones.’


On December 6, 1917, the USS Jacob Jones (DD-61), one of the fast new US Navy destroyers was patrolling off the southwest coast of England when she was sunk by the German submarine U-53 about 40 miles of the off the coast of the Isles of Scilly. The sinking was historically significant, because the Jacob Jones was the first American destroyer ever to be sunk by an enemy; and the deaths of Simon T Murphy and more than 60 of his shipmates represented the most serious loss the US Navy had suffered up to that time.


In August, 2022, using a list of GPS coordinates provided by the UK Hydrographic Office, a team of British technical divers was examining as-yet unidentified shipwrecks. The team located the Jacob Jones at a depth of 377 feet in the Atlantic Ocean, about 70 miles south of Cornwall, England. The Jacob Jones was identified by markings written on part of the shipwreck, and by her bell, on which parts of the inscription were still legible. Reports say no human remains or personal items were found.

jacon-jones-bell x960

The US Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) requested that the British Royal Navy assist with survey and salvage of the wreck site, and the operation was done by the UK Ministry of Defense’s salvage unit (SALMO).

The survey work has continued on the wreck of the Jacob Jones since it was found. In early February, 2024, the bell was recovered by ROV.

Rear Admiral Sam Cox (Retired), Director of the US Naval History and Heritage command, as reported by Mark ‘Crowley’ Russell in Dive Magazine said:

‘The wreck of the ship is a hallowed war grave and is the last resting place for many of the 64 men who were lost in the sinking.’ Admiral Cox added ‘US Navy policy is to leave such wrecks undisturbed, however, due to risk of unauthorized and illegal salvaging of the ship’s bell, NHHC requested Ministry of Defense assistance.


‘The US Navy is grateful to the Salvage and Marine Operations Team for recovering the bell, which will serve as a memorial to sailors who made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of both the United States and the United Kingdom.’

The Haunted Rockford crew hopes you will join us this Memorial Day in remembering the sacrifices made by Simon and his shipmates, and by the many brave men and women who have given their lives in the service of our country.




USS Jacob Jones underway off the New England coast, 1916 (Photo (colourised): US Navy Naval History and Heritage Command)



By SWNS Lauren Beavis and Lili Stebbings
(Image: © Richard Ayrton / SWNS)


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