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 Secretary of the British Admiralty Sir Oswyn A. R. Murray

CONFIDENTIAL

12 June, 1918.

From:-    Force Commander.

To:-      Secretary to the Admiralty.

               Whitehall, S.W.1.

Subject:- U.S. NAVAL AVIATION ACTIVITIES IN EUROPE.

1. The U.S.Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service, under my command have established eight squadrons of day and night bombing aeroplanes in the Dunkirk-Calais area with the distinct mission of destroying enemy Naval Bases on the Belgian Coast. Inasmuch, therefore, as this work is purely naval, it is proposed with your concurrence, to place the operations of these squadrons under the command of the British Vice-Admiral at Dover as in reality they will form part of the Dover barrage.1

2. With reference to the U.S. Naval Air Stations in Ireland, it is proposed to place these under the command of the Admiral Commander-in-Chief, Coast of Ireland,2 for operations in the same way that the destroyers based on Queenstown are under his command. The internal administration and maintenance of these stations will, however, remain directly in my Force. It is furthermore proposed with your concurrence, to place the operative command of the Air Station at Killingholme under the Admiral commanding the East Coast when we take it over from you.3

3. If, therefore, my views on this subject are in accordance with yours, and if you are agreeable to my suggestions in this connection, I shall be pleased to receive confirmation from you to this effect so that I may issue orders to my Field Commanders to place themselves under the command of these British Admirals for operations.4

4. Although your several Commanders-in-Chief will have U.S. Naval Aviators attached to their respective Staffs through whom routine reports will undoubtedly pass, it is thought best that all correspondence emanating from the Admiralty or the Air Ministry should pass through this office en route to my Aviation Field Commanders so that I may be kept fully informed of existing conditions.

5. In this connection I have instructed my Aide for Aviation, Lieutenant W.A. Edwards, U.S.N., to keep himself in readiness at all times to answer any questions or to clear up with you any matters about which there may be any obscurity. This officer, being in close touch with Naval Aviation, is in a position to transmit to you my views on any subject dealing with Naval Aeronautics, and it is thought that the exchange of suggestions with him directly will facilitate our co-operation and thus eliminate voluminous correspondence which might otherwise be necessary. He will be authorized to discuss all questions pertaining to administration, operation and policy as they may arise from time to time, and, briefly, keep you fully posted on all matters pertaining to our participation in the war from the standpoint of Naval Aeronautics.

WM. S. SIMS.       

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document identifier in top left-hand corner: “A-1” and “20971.” Sims’ signature is a stamp.

Footnote 2: Adm. Sir Lewis Bayly, R.N.

Footnote 3: VAdm. Stuart Nicholson, R.N. was succeeded on 14 July 1918 by VAdm. Sir Edward F.B. Charlton, R.N.

Footnote 4: On 26 June, the British Admiralty informed Sims that Sims’ views “entirely accord” with their own. W.F. Nicholson to Sims, 26 June 1918, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

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