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First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John R Jellicoe, R.N., to Commodore Guy R. Gaunt, British Naval Attaché in Washington, D.C.


     T E L E G R A M

From: Admiralty C.N.S.1

To:  Commodore Gaunt, Washington for Chief of Naval Operations.2

Date 22/10/17      

Your 780 to Admiral Sims.3

Admiralty has approved mine barrier and now confirms approval. Preparations proceeding rapidly. Assistance desired from USA as indicated in my telegram No. 513 of 17th October.4 Admiralty consider this is best scheme to be carried out at a distance from enemy bases. Admiralty is working on supplementary scheme for operations closer in shore, but any such inshore operation has defect that enemy can eventually clear a passage through for submarines. Therefore North Sea Barrage also necessary. No scheme yet tried has effectively closed Dover Straits to submarine, but measures are being constantly improved and they are at least always a considerable deterrent. Extensive mining operations in Dover Straits against submarines commence in November. Hitherto delayed from lack of effective anti-submarine mines.|5|

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document reference: “28-1-1.” Copies: “1 S L/Admiral [William S.] Sims.

Footnote 1: The Chief of Naval Staff was Jellicoe.

Footnote 2: Adm. William S. Benson.

Footnote 5: Extensive Mining of the Dover Straits took place between 1916 and 1918, that included the laying of a line of mines and surface patrols to force u-boats into the nets. However, the field needed to be re-laid in November 1917, because of problems with the mines and the ability of German submarines to pass through the net unscathed. Spencer Tucker, ed., World War I: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection, Vol. 2, D-J (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2014), 485-486.

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