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 Anne Hitchcock Sims

 

[Extract]

AMERICAN EMBASSY,

LONDON.

Tuesday July 30, 1917

 

My precious Nani

     The schedule of the American steamers is deranged, and there is a mail going tomorrow, so I must write you a bit of a letter tonight. I could not write today, as I had a great deal to do in getting off a long letter about the conferences in Paris, and in dictating a little of our 30 pages to Pratt.1

     When I returned from Paris I found your dear letters of the 7th and 13th and today I got yours of the 14th.2

     The first of these acknowledged my letters written while I was in command at Queenstown.3 That was one of the cleverest things the British have done, and the effect has been fine in every way. You probably have the big flag by this time that was hoisted over the Admiralty House, and you will soon [have] the photos of it.

. . . . I was much interested in your account of the Visit of the British ship—Admiral Brownings’,4 and your tea on board. I don’t remember whether I told you that I took tea with the wife of Admiral Grant5 (British) here in London and met Mrs. Browning there. I am glad you had a word with some of the British sailors and that Newport did so much to entertain them.

. . . . Some weeks ago two young officers were sent over here from the Bureau’s of Ordnance and Steam Engineering intending to remain some months. Today they came back from a visit to the Grand Fleet and told me they had learned of so many very important things in which we are so very much inferior to the British that they thought they should go home at once and explain them. Of course I at once ordered them leave, and they sail tomorrow.6

     All along the attitude of the P.Ds has been one of [impregnable?] conceit and disrespect for most things British. If they had adopted my recommendations of four months ago to send a number of such men over here, their eyes would have been opened long ago. I think they are a bit alarmed at last, as they now recommend a naval conference in London at which we are to be represented by Admiral Mayo7 and me. This is what should have been done long ago. The Admiralty and all hands are much pleased.

. . . . Good night my sweetheart. My heart aches to see you and the darlings.

     Give them plenty of hugs and kisses for me.

     Your devoted

Will

Source Note: ALS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 9.

Footnote 1: Capt. William V. Pratt. This letter to Pratt has not been found.

Footnote 2: None of the letter from Anne Hitchcock Sims to her husband have been located.

Footnote 3: Sims had assumed temporary command of the British forces based at Queenstown while the British commander there, VAdm. Sir Lewis Bayly away on leave. See: Sims to Sims, 13 June 1917, and Sims to Sims, 21 July 1917.

Footnote 4: VAdm. Montague E. Browning, Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station. Browning visited the United States to meet with Adm. Henry T. Mayo, Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet. See: Browning to Jellicoe, 5 June 1917.

Footnote 5: RAdm. Heathcoat S. Grant, Senior Naval Officer, Gibraltar.

Footnote 6: Lt. Cmdr. Guy W. Castle and Capt. Samuel M. Robison. See: Sims to Pringle, 31 July 1917.

Footnote 7: Mayo arrived in London the last week of August, and the conference took place the first week of September. Wilson Papers, 44: 86-88.

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