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Rear Admiral Sir Alexander L. Duff to Vice Admiral Sir Dudley R.S. De Chair



From   Admiralty                             Date 13-5-17.

To    N.A.1 Washington.                     Sent

Your 1700                For Admiral de Chair

                         From all experience Admiralty considers project of attempting to close exit to North Sea to enemy submarines by method suggested to be quite impracticable.2 Project has previously been considered and abandoned. The difficulty will be appreciated when total distance, depths material and patrols required and distance from base of operations are considered. Even were it practicable to lay, maintain and protect such a barrage it would not owing to want of resilience prove effective against passage of submarines fitted with cutters.

     Special memorandum with drawings sent to Washington deals fully with limitations of barrage as result of experience.3

     Although this particular project is not considered practicable, the proposal to send over all small craft suitable for patrol work would if adopted prove of the very greatest value.

     Vessels should have good sea-keeping qualities.

 (Sigd.) A.L. DUFF,


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. There is a list of persons to receive this memorandum in a column along the right margin below the signature. That list includes: “Duty Captain,/War Registry/C.S.D./D.A.S.D./D.O.D./Sir A.K. Wilson/4th Sea Lord/1st Sea Lord/1st Sea Lord.” In the middle of the page opposite this list is the notation: “Admiral Sims./For information./A.L.Duff./D.A.S.D./13-5-17.” The duty captain was the officer in the War Registry responsible for seeing a message was distributed correctly. “C.S.D.” was the Chief Superintendent of Design. “D.A.S.D.” was Director Anti-Submarine Division. “D.O.D.” was Director, Operations Division. Sir A. K. Wilson was a former First Sea Lord and a member of the advisory War Staff Group. The Fourth Sea Lord was Commo. Lionel Halsey; he oversaw the Naval Supplies department. The First Sea Lord, Civil Member, was Sir Edward H. Carson; the First Sea Lord, Naval, was Adm. Sir John Jellicoe.

Footnote 1: That is, Naval Attaché; Capt. Guy R. Gaunt was the British Naval Attaché in Washington.

Footnote 2: The method suggested was a mine barrage. See: Josephus Daniels to William S. Sims, 11 May 1917.

Footnote 3: This record has not been located.

Footnote 4: Director Anti-Submarine Division.

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