US Navy in Berehaven during WW1

In 1917, while protecting the sea lanes off southern Ireland during World War One, American battleships and submarines from the US Navy anchored in the sheltered harbour off Bere Island, while in between patrols.  They chose Berehaven for safe anchorage as they would be protected by the extensive gun batteries on the island.

American sailors came ashore to Rerrin village visiting the island shop and sending mail home from the local post office.  Each American ship had their own baseball team, and a baseball diamond was marked out in the British Admiralty Recreation Grounds at Rerrin.  Whilst ashore on the island, US sailors craved their names into a rock outside Rerrin village which can still be seen.

USS Utah’s mascot causes havoc

However, a ship’s mascot from the  USS Utah  manged to cause havoc amongst the livestock of Beara.  The American military had a big tradition of mascots, the Indianapolis Star from July 1917 included a story of a fox terrier named Dixie who was both mascot and chief rat catcher on the Utah, “this sea-going dog caused its shipmates their first worry  when he went  ashore in Castletown, Bantry Bay, Ireland where the Utah had its base.  He nearly killed a prize  sky terrier belonging to an English officer five minutes after he set foot on Irish soil, to say nothing of engaging in several dozen fights in the next few days.  Then the authorities received complaints about a black and white terrier usually seen in the company of American sailors, who had an aversion to Irish sheep, calves, pigs and other livestock.” 

Dixie was eventually banned from coming ashore,  however, the Indianapolis Star also noted that Dixie held the record for being the only one of the Utah crew to ascend Hungry Hill twice in one day.

Among the ships which anchored in Berehaven were the USS Utah, Nevada and Oklahoma, all of which were lost in the attack on Pearl Harbour.

US Navy in Berehaven
BIPG Archive
USS Utah anchored off Bere Island in 1918
BIPG Archive
US Navy crews ashore in Rerrin Village in 1918.
BIPG Archive
Inscriptions left by US Navy on a wall outside Rerrin Village.
BIPG Archive

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