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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson, Commander, United States Patrol Sqaudron Based at Gibraltar


B.                                 September 22, 1917.

FROM: Force Commander,

TO  : Commander Patrol Squadron based on Gibraltar.

SUBJECT:   Duties of Squadron Commander.

REFERENCES:  (a)Campaign Order No. 1 of August 1, 1917.1

             (b)Force Instructions No. 1 of August 11, 1917.2

             (c)War Diary, Patrol Force, of 20 August, 1917.3

     1.  Campaign Order No. 1 in enumerating the forces specifies that the Patrol Squadron based on Gibraltar is commanded by Rear Admiral Wilson, and the Patrol Squadrons operating on the French Coast are under the command of Captain (now Rear Admiral) Fletcher.4

     2.  Paragraph 7 of Force Instructions No. 1 states that the assignment of vessels to the several Forces of the Atlantic Fleet “are not to be considered as effective for either administrative or operative purposes under existing conditions”.

     3.  It is noted that in your War Diary for August 20th the following entry is made:

“Vice Admiral Sims . . . . . . stated that, because of   the  great distance between Gibraltar and Brest, it would probably be better for Admiral Fletcher to ordinarily act as a separate group.”

It is the intention of the Force Commander that the vessels operating on the French Coast, whether belonging to the Patrol Force of the Atlantic Fleet or to other organizations, shall operate at all times under the orders of Rear Admiral Fletcher and that the only forces to operate under your command are those based on Gibraltar. This assignment of vessels and of Task Group Commanders will continue until some other disposition may be found necessary and such disposition will be communicated to Campaign Orders or otherwise, as may be found expedient.

     4.  This letter is written to clear up any possible misunderstanding as to the division of command between yourself and Rear Admiral Fletcher.

Wm S. Sims.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Identification number in top right-hand corner: “File No. 23/21/5.”

Footnote 3: The War Diary has not been found.

Footnote 4: Radm. William B. Fletcher.

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