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


Admiralty House,


16. 7. 17.

My dear Admiral,

     Captain Pringle1 has shown me your letter about an organization being arranged so that destroyers should be told off to go away from here should they be required elsewhere.2 I have told him that I cannot interest myself in such a matter; that I organize them in such a way as I consider best for the work here; that should the British Admiralty order me to send ‘n’ destroyers away to another station, I should detail ‘n’ out of those that could best be spared in existing circumstances; should they say ‘n’ 1000 ton destroyers then I should detail ‘n’ 1000 ton destroyers out of those that could best be spared. Should the British Admiralty name the destroyers to be sent then they would probably not be sent so soon as the above, because they or some of them might be escorting; going out to escort; just returning etc.

And since different convoys require different numbers of destroyers in their escorts, we cannot lay down an organization that escorts are always to consist of 4, 6, 8 destroyers etc. as that would not meet the grave necessities here.

Everything is being done here to meet the exigencies of the moment; all hands are working splendidly and very hard; and the same will continue for some time until convoys are of similar sizes; punctual todates; and unhindered by weather; probably never. In a view of the closeness together with which Capt. Pringle and I must work; of the necessity of our relative positions being clearly understood; and of his knowing exactly where he stands; I strongly suggest that he be put on my staff. It will help him and help me, and will strengthen the bonds that hold us all together. Of course Capt. Pringle would remain in command of the Melville.3

Yours very sincerely    

(sgd) Lewis Bayly

Source Note: LTS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Container 22. A cataloging note at the top of the page reads: “Admiral Sims/Personal File.”

Footnote 1: Cmdr. Joel R.Poinsett Pringle, Chief of Staff, Destroyer Flotillas.

Footnote 3: Pringle did become Bayly’s chief of staff, retaining that position throughout the remainder of the war. He was the first American to serve in a staff position in the Royal Navy. Still, Crisis at Sea: 66.

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