Skip to main content

Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, R.N., Commander, Naval Forces, Southern Ireland, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

Admiralty House,  


29. 1. 18

My dear Admiral

          Thanks for the Irish histories, I will return them later. We were very lucky the other day, they mined the entrance the day before the US S/M’s arrived and the Bridge went out. And it has been blowing so hard since that we could not be certain that all the mines had been swept up: in fact it is still blowing and we are not certain yet. At all events the ships got in safe. I am very glad there is going to be a naval committee is going to sit at Versailles[;] it was amazing that in a war like this the authorities should not have recognized that the two arms must work together.1

I advise you to take lots of wraps to Italy, they probably won’t heat the carriages, and it can be very cold indeed at night there.

I shall be very glad if the troop convoys come through the Irish Sea instead of as at present. It is far easier to deal with S/Ms in narrow waters where our convoys pass than when no convoys go there & consequently no destroyers are there either. But the Troop Convoy Comdrs. must obey orders & attend very strictly to their regulations or else there will be some ghastly failures. They seem to me to want to run the show themselves; if allowed to they must take all responsibility as the escort comdrs are unable to force them to obey.

The U.S. mail steamers are rather a serious matter in this continuous bad weather: the Flivvers cannot keep up & get knocked to pieces, and the 1000 tonners have to be used for the troop convoys as well, & have to command the other escorts which makes life difficult. A pity they did not take an oscillator Flivver for the experiments at Portsmouth instead of a big ship like the Aylwin especially during this bad weather. I don’t like the North of Ireland route.

Good luck to you on your journey take plenty to eat.

Yours very sincerely   

Lewis Bayly  

Source Note: ALS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 47.

Footnote 1: Bayly here is referring to the creation of the Allied Naval Council and the Supreme War Council, both of which were to have their first meetings in the coming days.