Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Rear Admiral Leigh C. Palmer, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation

Admiral Sims’

Personal File.

(To:Read Admiral L.C.Palmer, U.S.N.

Chief of Bureau of Navigation,          January 6th, 1918.

Washington, D.C.)

My dear Palmer,

     Far be it from me to butt in on another fellows affairs. I know you have your own troubles, and that one of them is finding officers the <for> the new destroyers.

     However, as they have to be found, and as it must often be amatter of indifference which one of two officers is sent here, I venture to mention one of my former destroyer men, Lieutenant Alexander Sharp, Junr. son of my old shipmate and fleet mate the late Captain Sharp.1

     It was one of the latter’s desires that his only son (and child) should serve with me.

     He is a fine young chap. He understands the torpedo game, and I believe he is due for sea.

     So, if he is available I would like to have him in the destroyer force.

     The training scheme at Queenstown is working very well. It will be fine when the BRIDGE arrives with the equipment.

     The whole idea of training the men in the force over here is a real “find”. Both officers and men learn thegame many times faster when under observation by an enemy periscope – for they must always assume that Fritz is looking at them and trying for a short. And a hit means that some must die.

     Man certainly are fighting animals, and danger is a strong attraction. There are many demands to go out as passengers on the chance of seeing a brush with a submarine.

     Heaps of men and officers volunteered for Hanrahan’s2 Mystery ship, and he has a fine crew. He left for a “shake down” cruise while I was at Queenstown recently, and was back in dock in 22 hours with a big hole in the side of the “SANTEE”. In this “Old Bill” (his nickname) made a record. Some cruise for months without seeing a submarine. His crew behaved very well but got no chance at the sub, as he did not come up to see what he had done.

     I enclose a photo of the damage.3 It will not take very long to repair it. The crew is spoiling to get out again.

     Note the wood with which the cargo space was filled. A piece of the torpedo flash was found on deck, as is frequently the case when ships are torpedoed.

very sincerely yours,        

Source Note: TCy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 23. Document reference: “1/3/J.”

Footnote 1: Capt. Alexander Sharp.

Footnote 2: Cmdr. David C. Hanrahan.

Footnote 3: The photo was not attached to this copy.

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