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Rear Admiral Leigh C. Palmer, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, to Rear Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Destroyers Operating from British Bases




May 10, 1917. 

My dear Admiral:-

     In reply to your letter written on the way over, in regard to the expenses and pay of yourself and Babcock,1 we did the best we could, and had a cablegram sent to you and MacDougall authorizing MacDougall to advance to you certain moneys which I hope fixed you all up.2

     In regard to your other question about status of sea pay and shore pay, etc., I think that was all straightened out when the cablegram came detaching you from all shore duty in America, and ordering you to assume command of American destroyers, etc., which puts you and Babcock on sea duty as the paramount duty, continued you on your special mission to England in addition to your other duties; that is, sea duty is paramount for you from the 28th of April, and your London job is in addition to your sea duty –- same thing for Babcock; so I think that answers this question.

     The Melville is going over, as you know, and she undoubtedly will be your flagship for the present. At least, that is what we understand from Operations.3

     The bill for your passage money was received all O.K. and has been attended to.

     We anticipated your cable about the Staff, insomuch as Lieutenant Commander J. F. Daniels was ordered immediately, and took passage aboard the Ericson to join you.4 This gave you two of your old Staff – Babcock and Daniels, and we tried to get Lieutenant j.g. Lavender, but it was impossible as he had but recently fallen out of an aeroplane, breaking both arms.5 Ensign A. C. Davis,6 a very good officer in the radio work, and one especially recommended by Admiral Mayo,7 was sent to the Melville, but his orders read for straight duty on the vessel. However, he is for your use as a floatilla or force radio officer, but he was not ordered as an aid on account of his being an ensign. I hope you will find him useful.

     In regard to Tobey,8 he is shortly to be ordered home to lay before the Department the results of his year’s investigations, and when you cabled for him, you probably did not know that the regular Pay and Supply Officer of the Melville and Dixie were en route.

Yours truly

LC Palmer

Source Note: TLS, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 77. Addressed below close: “Rear Admiral/William S. Sims, U.S.N,/C/o United States Naval Attache,/American Embassy,/London, England.” Document reference numbers: “N/31/MEF.” Letter is on Bureau of Navigation stationary.

Footnote 1: Lt. Cmdr. John V. Babcock.

Footnote 3: The destroyer tender Melville arrived at Queenstown, Ireland, on 22 May. See: Sims to Daniels, 24 May 1917. However, Sims continued to spend most of his time in London and did not use the tender as a flagship. See: Sims to Daniels, 15 June 1917.

Footnote 4: Lt. Cmdr. Joseph F. Daniels. The destroyer Ericsson arrived at Queenstown on 19 May. See: Sims to Daniels, 19 May 1917.

Footnote 5: Lt. Robert A. Lavender

Footnote 6: En. Arthur C. Davis

Footnote 7: Rear Admiral Henry T. Mayo, Commander, Atlantic Fleet.

Footnote 8: Paymaster and Assistant to the Naval Attaché in London Eugene C. Tobey. The small number and composition of his staff elicited repeated complaints from Sims, see: Sims to Navy Department, 8 May 1917; Sims to Daniels, 21 May 1917; and Sims to Daniels, 24 May 1917.