Captain Nathan C. Twining, Chief of Staff to Commander, United States Naval Forces in European Waters, to Lieutenant Commander Earl O. Coffey
October 4, 1917.
From: Commander, U.S. Naval Forces operating in
To: Commanding Officer, U.S.S. BATH.
Subject: Sailing orders for U.S.S. BATH.
1. The services of the U.S.S. BATH are placed temporarily at the disposal of the U.S. Army to carry coal between Cardiff and such French ports as may be indicated. The loading and unloading of this vessel will be arranged by the U.S. Army authorities, whose instructions in this matter will govern. Rees, Jones & Co.2 will furnish all information in regard to loading at Cardiff. The U.S.S. NERO is shortly to be placed in the same service and a number of chartered American vessels will be similarly engaged.
2. You are responsible for the safe navigation of your ship and will operate under my direct orders. You will be continually passing through mined waters as well as waters infested with submarines, and you must use every endeavor to safeguard your ship. From Penzance (Mounts Bay) to Bordeaux and return there are regularly organised convoys in which you will sail. From Penzance (Mounts Bay) to Cardiff and return I understand vessels coast singly. If convoys on that route are organised, sail in them. Bear in mind that the safety of your ship is the first consideration and you are to choose such time for sailing as will lessen the risk to your vessel. For instance, it is quite likely that you may have frequently to anchor by day and sail by night. Such delays must be accepted to increase the safety of your vessel. Before sailing from Cardiff on each trip consult the senior British naval officer in the port as to safe routes, hour of sailing, hour of arrival at Penzance, time and distance of passing dangerous points, etc. and be guided by his advice. Obtain similar information from the senior British naval officer in any British ports in which you may stop. Ordinarily when steaming alone and when not passing through sweptchannels, and excepting thick weather and very dark nights, you will steer zig-zag courses at full speed.
When in convoy follow explicitly the instructions of the senior officer in charge.
There are U.S. Naval port officers in Brest, St. Nazaire and Bordeaux who may be consulted on any questions that arise. These officers have full authority over the sailings of U.S. vessels and they may modify your time of sailing if considered necessary.
3. When in all respects ready for sea and loaded with cargo of coal proceed to Roscanvel (Brest Roads) following the instructions laid down in paragraph 2. At Roscavel the U.S. port officer will assign you a further destination at which you will discharge your cargo of coal. When discharged return to Cardiff, load, and sail for Roscanvel for further orders. Continue these sailings until further orders.
Telegraph me “Simsadus” London, the date of your arrival and sailing each trip from Cardiff.
4. Acknowledge by telegraph receipt of these orders.
CHIEF of Staff
Signed for Vice-Admiral Sims
In his absence.
Source Note: TLS, DNA, RG45, Entry 517B. Identification numbers in upper-left corner: “C 1118” and in upper-right corner: “1/3/C/J” in columnar fashion. Recipients list below close: “Copies to:-/Admiral Fletcher, U.S. Navy, Brest./Captain Baldwin, U.S. Navy, St. Nasaire./Captain Patton, U.S. Navy, Pauillac.” RAdm. William B. Fletcher, Force Commander, Patrol Squadrons, French Waters; Capt. Frank P. Baldwin; and Cmdr. John Patton, Commander, Pauillac Naval Air Station.
Footnote 1: VAdm. William S. Sims. Twining, Sims’ Chief of Staff, wrote this letter on his behalf while he was away from headquarters in London.
Footnote 2: Presumably a coalmining company.