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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Rear Admiral William B. Fletcher, Commander, Patrol Squadrons Based in France

October 11, 1917.

From:     Force Commander.

To:       Commander Patrol Squadrons based on France.


Subject:      Information concerning arrival of convoys at


          The following procedure is carried out for mercantile convoys containing storeships or other U.S. vessels to be escorted on arrival in the vicinity of the French Coast: -

          I cable you the date and hour when the convoy is due at the rendezvous, together with the position of the rendezvous. It frequently happens that subsequently to this information being forwarded to you the convoy is either ahead or behind its schedule. This necessitates in some cases a change in the rendezvous, as well as in the hour and date when the convoy is to be met. For instance, if a convoy is to be met at 6 a.m. and is six hours behind schedule, no change will be necessary in the rendezvous, but the convoy will be met at noon instead of at the original hour. If, however, the convoy is six hours ahead of schedule, it would pass through the rendezvous at midnight, and it is very undesirable for escorting forces to attempt to join a convoy at night, owing to the danger of being mistaken for submarines or hostile vessels, and fire opened on them.

          In order you the earliest possible information of any changes, it has been my practice to forward the information direct to Brest for the C.D.P.B.1 with the request that you be informed. The information of changes in rendezvous, delays, and so forth is obtained in the Admiralty and given to the French Naval Attache,2 who has a desk in the Admiralty, and immediately forwarded by him to the C.D.<P>.B. and I have requested him to add to his messages “Please inform Admiral Fletcher”, so as to make certain that the information will come to your hands.

          Please inform me if the foregoing method is working satisfactorily, or if anything can be done at this end to improve matters.

/s/ WM. S. SIMS.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. There are identification numbers at the top of the document: “11-4-15” and “C-1316”.

Footnote 1: Conseil de déploiment de patrouilles du Bretagne (Council for the Deployment of Patrol Boats in Brittany).

Footnote 2: Contre-amiral (RAdm.) Maurice-Henri, Baron Mercier de Lostende.

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