Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, to British Admiralty

[Extract]

11-3-15.     

CABLEGRAM RECEIVED      April <26, 1918> 22528 MJK

Origin    Opnav Washington.       Ser.No. 5394

40 AD                        VERY SECRET.

Simsadus.

5394. For Admiralty. Routes for Western Atlantic have been prepared by Navy Department in consultation with Admiral Grant1 and Representative of Canadian Naval Service. If concurred in, it is proposed that traffic should be routed accordingly forthwith. Full details are being mailed. Further proposals will be made for winter route. System is devised first: to keep Westbound traffic clear of eastbound traffic<.> Second: to provide a means for knowing the route along which westbound traffic will be approaching at any given time<.> Third: To facilitate control of traffic and provision of patrol and escorts. The first is not always possible and when a convoy route has to be crossed special attention should be called to the fact in the sailing orders. Normal routes always to be used in absence of local enemy activity...

Head westbound route. Ship should be routed by direct route and given alternative routes in two sealed envelopes the route to the right being called W and the route to the left X. In case of enemy activity vessel will be diverted by radio to route W or X as necessary. Routes in each group are designated by a colour and letter too thus<:> a ship bound for Halifax N.S. diverted by radio to W would proceed along red D. Where there is more than one diverging point for port, shipping should be distributed equally among them in order to scatter shipping, Belle Isle routes for Sydney and St. Lawrence ports details by mai<l>, blue route for Sydney and St. Lawrence while southern convoy routes arein force, details by mail...

BENSON.                 

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: VAdm. Sir William Lowther Grant, Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station.

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