Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain Nathan C. Twining, Chief of Staff to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Captain Lyman A. Cotten, Commander, United States Naval Base at Plymouth, England

CS.                                    July 17, 1918.

My dear Cotten,

              With respect to the several points that I was to take up regarding the Plymouth Base, I can give you the following information –

(a)    Twenty-five Chasers now at the Azores will come to Plymouth soon, and it has been practically decided to base seventy-two chasers at Plymouth. This is subject to confirmation by Captain Leigh1 when he returns to London in a few days.

(b)    In case the above decision is confirmed the HANNIBAL will be permanently stationed at Plymouth and her Captain2 together with such other officers as he and you may agree upon, will be assigned to additional duty at the Base.

(c)    An Assistant for Lieut. Cdr. Stebbins3 will be provided as soon as possible. For the moment it does not seem possible to get one.

(d)    Two additional communication officers will besent to you soon.

(e)    Authority to use the Corporation Wharf has been sent you officially I believe.

(f)    The proposals made by Wilson Brown4 to take over property on the other side of the present base will not be approved.

                   I gained the impression during my visit to Plymouth that the chasers were not being used as actively as they might be. That is to say, I think there were too many of them in port. This is an impression which I give you for what it is worth, and it may not be a correct one.

                   I did not hear you say anything while I was at Plymouth about conference of commanding officers in regard to operations. I meant to ask about this, but it slipped my mind. Would it not be well to make it a practice to have periodical meetings in which to discuss past and present operations, with a view to developing tactics. Everything I hear of the chasers is favourable to the energy and interest of the personnel, but unless there is free interchange of ideas among the youngsters and between them and you, enthusiasm will evaporate.

Commander L.A. Cotten, U.S. Naval Base 27,

               PLYMOUTH                    N.C.Twining

Source Note: LTS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520.

Footnote 1: Capt. Richard H. Leigh. Leigh had been in Corfu establishing the submarine chaser base there before returning to London at the end of this month.

Footnote 2: Cmdr. Charles S. Joyce. HANNIBAL had been responsible for escorting the first group of chasers to Plymouth that had arrived on 29 June; see: Cotten to Arthur J. Hepburn, 9 July 1918.

Footnote 3: Ernest V. Stebbins, N. N. V., whom Cotten had selected to be Executive Officer of the Plymouth Base.

Footnote 4: Wilson Brown, Jr., a member of Sims’ staff, and Commander, Parker.

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