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Voyage to France

(Paul B's account of the voyage to France)

Sailed from New York City on May 10 1918 at 7:35 PM on the Transport Covington, convoy consisting of 14 ships including a Battle Cruiser which led the way. The Covington followed with the U S S President Grant on the right and the U S S President Lincoln on the left. Gen. Hill and Col Green were the ranking officers of the convoy and on this ship, which carried the 65 Brig Hdq, the 129 Inf intact and some units of Artillery. This ship, formerly the Cincinnati, German owned and operated, confiscated same time the Leviathan was, was so arranged that only a very little time and labor was required to convert it into a Troop Transport. Vessel of all steel construction, 608 feet long[,] screw propelled, 2 funnels, 4 masts and carried 4 six inch guns.

Convoy escort

Paul B's note: As they looked the early gray dawn of May 21, 1918, when they came slipping in from the horizon, as sly as foxes, to take up their vigil circling the convoy.

May 21 the Cruiser left, to be replaced by ten or more U S Destroyers which sailed continually around the convoy the remainder of the voyage. May 22, entered the Bay of Biscay, most dangerous part of the voyage, Destroyers increased their speed around the convoy. Entered the Harbor at Brest France on May 23 achoring at 11 AM. May 24 at noon left the ship, marched thru Brest to a point 3 miles beyond, near the Pontanazen Barracks, where a temporary camp was established.

Sinking of the Covington

Covington sinking

Months later I found a magazine dated about the first of June 1918 in which was this picture "Sinking of the Covington" and a very brief account of it. Judging from the date of issue, etc, this must have happened on its return trip to the U S A. The sailors had mentioned before we left the ship that they were to return via the British Isles and the Covington was torpedoed some distance off the east coast of Scotland. Bulkheads were closed around the great hole in her side keeping her afloat, wireless calls bringing relief, the crew abandoned ship all but 26 men, who stayed on watch. She was being towed (2) to land when suddenly the bulkheads give way, then listing (3) heavily, rear end settling fast (4), throwing the nose (5) straight in the air, she slipped into the depths taking all with her, there being no time to escape.

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