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O.B. Jennings - (1917-1918)
The New York Times, Apr 18, 1918, Thursday

Survivors of the O.B. Jennings Describe Their Rescue After Collision with the War Knight
Vessels Burst Into Flame and 36 men Perished on Deck of the War Knight
Hulk Sunk by Mine.

AN ATLANTIC PORT, April 17.-Thirty-seven lives were lost when the American steamship O.B. Jennings and the British steamer War Knight, both laden with naphtha and inflammable oils, came into collision off the British coast on March 24, according to members of the crew of the O.B. Jennings, who arrived here today. All who perished, with one exception, were on the British vessel. They were burned to death by blazing gas and oil.
Those who survived the flames on the War Knight were rescued in the nick of time by destroyers, for soon afterward. while the blazing hull was being towed toward shallow water, it struck a mine and was blown up. The destroyers went to the rescue 'through a field of blazing oil and took off the crew of the Jennings. Several of the crew of the American ship were, however, badly burned and had to bo removed to hospitals after being landed.
An officer of the 0. B. Jennings who told the story of the disaster, said the collision occurred soon after 2 A. M., when the vessels were within fifteen miles of their destination. He added that It was caused by the necessity of running without lights owing to submarine danger.
"We had had an exceptionally rough trip," the officer said. "As a result, the churning of the bulk oil we carried had created a tremendous amount of gas. When the War Knight hit us there was an Instant explosion, caused no doubt by a spark from the impact of the steel setting the gas on fire.
"Immediately there was a roar of flame spouting out of the hole in the O.B. Jennings's side, which all but enveloped the Britisher. I learned afterwards that thirty-six of her crew of about fifty were on deck at the time, and they must have been almost Instantly incinerated".
"We drifted apart and one of the destroyers by which we were convoyed managed to get a line to her and was towing her toward the beach, when in aome manner the burning ship drifted onto a mine field and she blew up.
The case oil with which she was loaded took fire and completed her destruction".
"We had our own safety to look after. The burning naphtha had poured out onto the sea. and it would have been folly to launch lifeboats. It was then that the destroyers showed their resourcefulness, for they dashed through the burning oil,bumped along side of us and we Jumped to their decks in safety. We lost only one man, a seaman named 'Shea', who was either burned, or fell overboard and drowned.
"The O.B. Jennings, being a menace to other ships, the destroyers proceeded to sink her, which they did with a number of shots fired into her hold. She settled until her decks were level with the water, extinguishing the flames and afterward she was taken in tow and beached. She probably is not a total loss.
"The accident came at the close of a rough and exciting voyage, which had set the nerves or our crew on edge through the previous unaccounted-for disappearance of several snips of our convoy. They may nave been diverted, or they may have been torpedoed. We never knew further than the fact that they were gone when we looked for them".
The British steamer War Knight, the vessel destroyed through the collision, was of 7,501 tons gross register, built at Alameda, Cal. The O.B. Jennnigs was owned by the Standard Oil Company and was a steamer of 10,290 tons gross register. The bare news that the 0O.B. Jennings had been in a collision and was beached and that one or the crew was killed, was received by the Standard Oil Company in New York soon after the accident.