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 Navy Josephus Daniels

A-1                                     25 May, 1918.

From:-    Force Commander.

To:-      Secretary of the Navy, (Operations – Aviation).

Subject:- AVIATION – Weekly report of activities.

1.   ENGLAND.  The U.S. Naval Aviation Detachment at Killingholme have taken over the Short War Flight and it is expected that they will also take over the Large America War Flight as soon as sufficient pilots have been trained for this duty.

2.   IRELAND.

     Queenstown:-   One slipway has been completed. The first double hangar is 75% complete and the camp buildings about 50% complete.

     Wexford:- One slipway has been completed and the foundations for two hangars practically finished; the camp buildings are about 50% complete.

     Whiddy Island:- The slipway pier and adjacent roads have been completed. One hangar is practically finished and the foundations and floor for a second hangar are 70% completed.

     Lough Foyle:- One slipway is 75% complete, and the first hangar is erected; the second hangar and camp buildings are 50% complete.

     Berehaven:- Practically all work has been finished except for the hangar, materials for which have not yet been received.

     Lough Swilly:- All construction work on this station has been done by the British as this will be maintained and operated as a British Station unless we take it over at such time as U.S. Destroyers may operate in this vicinity. Until that time, however, Lough Swilly will be a British Kite Balloon Station and will not be referred to hereafter as a U.S. Station

3.   FRANCE.

     Arcachon:- Construction work progressing unfavorably due to the fact that the French contractors are experiencing difficulty in obtaining material and labor. Work in progress on one hangar to accommodate ten seaplanes. This work is being performed by enlisted personnel of the U.S. Navy. Inasmuch as one slipway has been completed, this station will be in operation upon the completion of this hangar and as soon as seaplanes are available for allocation to this point.

     Gujan:- Work on one dirigible hangar in progress.

     Moutchic:- All buildings completed and the station is in full operation. During the week students made 32 solo flights and engaged in dummy bomb dropping and machine gun practice. In addition to the regular pilots’ course in bombing, aerial machine gunnery, radio and signalling, special courses are now being given in aerial navigation, meteorology, U.S. Navy Regulations, hygene and aviation intelligence. The Armament and instruction Department of this station announces that a new and improved type of practice bomb has been designed and perfected by J.R. Ailsworth, C.C.M.,1 who has also invented a special salvo bomb dropper to fit the new bombs. As a result of these improvements, which make the bombs lighter and much cheaper and so do away with the necessity of recovering them, the daily output of practice bombs at this station will be increased within the next two or three weeks from ten to approximately two hundred. In consequence, bombing practice will be speeded up. In future ten of the new bombs will be taken up in a machine, any or all of which can be discharged at one time by this new bomb dropper.

     The Armament and Instruction Department further states that they are bringing to completion experimental work on a new type of butt stock especially adapted to use with the Norman Ring Sights and Reille-Soult on free guns. Blue prints and models together with a full description will be forwarded to all stations within the near future. Mr. A.E. Carlstrom,2 Marlin Machine Gun expert, on a recent visit to Moutchic. Expressed his unqualified approval of this invention. He demonstrated the new Marlin synchronized butt which was very favorably received by the Gunnery Officers of this Station.

     Pauillac:- Thirty-three portable buildings have been erected and work on the assembly and repair shop is progressing favorably. It is believed that by June 1, 1918, the major portion of these buildings will have been completed.

     St. Trojan:- Construction work proceeding in a satisfactory manner. The enlisted personnel are engaged in the erection of one double hangar. Slipways have been completed.

     Rochefort:- The construction of the dirigible hangar has not progressed due to the fact that material for this work is not available.

     La Pallice:- The foundations for the fuel oil tanks are in such shape that upon receipt of material for the tanks, they can be erected immediately.

     Fromentine:- Portable barracks loaned the U.S.Naval Aviation Forces by the U.S. Army have been erected. Work in progress on grading and building foundations for hangars.

     Paimboeuf:- Work on the new dirigible hangar is being delayed due to lack of men. Grading and foundation work in progress.

     Le Croisic:- No construction work in progress as this station was taken over from the French and is satisfactory in this connection for our present activities. It is expected, however, that the near future will see extensions along various lines in progress.

     La Trinite:- General prepatory work is proceeding prior to the arrival of the Kite Balloon hangars from the United States.

     Lorient:- Foundations for the fuel oil tanks have been completed and await only the arrival of the tanks.

     Ile Tudy:- Three Bessoneau canvas hangars are at present in use. In addition to the three shop buildings and store houses, the renovation of an existing building has been completed. Work is progressing on the slipway, aprons and hangars.

     Brest:- A sufficient number of buildings have been erected to accommodate six hundred men. Two double hangars are being constructed by the enlisted force and 50% of this work has been completed.

     Guipavas:- Foundations for the dirigible hangar are proceeding, but progress has been slow due to delay in the receipt of material from the United States. The U.S. Army portable barracks and tents are used to accommodate the enlisted force now at this station.

<L’Aber-Vrach> Abervarvrach:- Foundations for the two seaplane hangars completed. The slipways and piers are well underway.

     Treguier:- This is at present a French operating station and will not be taken over completely by us until sufficient material is received from the United States to enlarge this station.

     Dunkirk:- Usual patrols of this area. No construction work in progress.

4.   ITALY.

     Lake Bolsena:- Instruction work progressing.

5.   The following is a flight summary of all operating stations listed according to their geographical positions:

Stations & Schools in Operation.

Flights Made.

Total Knots

Total time flying.

Suitable Flying Time.

Aircraft at Stations.

Dunkirk

42

3268

48H. 36m.

51h.

10 H.Ds3

16 D.Ds.4

Ile Tudy

16

1604

32h.4m.

33h.

13 D.Ds.

Le Croisic

28

2385

39h.45m.

25h.

15 Tellier5

2 D.Ds.

Moutchic

174

65h. 9m.

32h.

3 Sopwith6

5 Tellier

1 FBA7

7DDs.

Bolsena

(For week ending May 4 301 by Americans)

 

98h.1m.

 

16

Paimbouef

4

242

11h.15m.

13h.

1 Astra Torres.8

Totals:- 6

565

7499

234h.84m.

155h.

88 Seaplanes

1 Dirigible

6.   The following is a list of the enlisted personnel attached to the U.S.Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service:-

ENGLISH STATIONS:-

Cranwell            14

Killingholme        487

London(Aerial Photography)    20

Reading(Armourers)            20

                              541

IRISH STATIONS:-

Castletownbere           81

Dublin                   8

Lough Foyle              82

Queenstown               307

Wexford                  92

Whiddy Island            61

                         631

FRENCH STATIONS:-

Arcachon                 111

Bordeaux                    6

Brest (Seaplane)         342

Dunkirk                  272

Fromentine               203

Guipavas                 211

Gujan-Mestras            148

Ile Tudy                 259

L’Abervrach              239

La Trinite                 85

La Croisic               331

Lorient                     1

Moutchic                 437

Pauillac                 2043

Paris (Headquarters)     116

Paimbouef                300

Rochefort                  20

St. Trojan               296

Naval Hospital No.5.Brest  53

             No.6.Bordeaux 4

U.S.S. BELLA                26

                         5501

ITALIAN STATIONS:-

Lake Bolsena               32

Rome                       4

                           36

          Grand Total:-........6709

Wm. S. SIMS        

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Signature is a stamp.

Footnote 1: J. R. Ailsworth, C.C.M.

Footnote 2: Mr. A. E. Calstrom.

Footnote 3: Hanriot HD.1 single seater bi-plane.

Footnote 4: Donnet-Denhaut flying boat.

Footnote 5: Tellier two seat flying bi-plane.

Footnote 6: Sopwith Baby single seat seaplane.

Footnote 7: FBA French flying patrol boat.

Footnote 8: Astra Torres dirigible.

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