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United States Navy and World War I: 1914–1922

by Frank A. Blazich Jr.

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A Fast Convoy; USS Allen (DD-66) & USS Leviathan (SP-1326)


United States Navy and World War I: 1914–1922

Frank A. Blazich Jr., PhD
Naval History and Heritage Command

Introduction

This document is intended to provide readers with a chronological progression of the activities of the United States Navy and its involvement with World War I as an outside observer, active participant, and victor engaged in the war’s lingering effects in the postwar period. The document is not a comprehensive timeline of every action, policy decision, or ship movement. What is provided is a glimpse into how the 20th century’s first global conflict influenced the Navy and its evolution throughout the conflict and the immediate aftermath.  The source base is predominately composed of the published records of the Navy and the primary materials gathered under the supervision of Captain Dudley Knox in the Historical Section in the Office of Naval Records and Library. A thorough chronology remains to be written on the Navy’s actions in regard to World War I. The nationality of all vessels, unless otherwise listed, is the United States.

All errors and omissions are solely those of the author.

Table of Contents

1914........................................ ................................................................2
1915........................................ ................................................................4
1916........................................ ..............................................................11
1917........................................ ..............................................................16
1918........................................ ..............................................................87
1919......................................... ............................................................147
1920........................................ ............................................................157
1921........................................ ............................................................158
1922........................................ ............................................................159
[1]

1914

4 August President Woodrow Wilson issues a proclamation for a policy of neutrality in regard to the conflict in Europe.[i]

5 August Senate and House of Representatives pass House Joint Resolution 314 for the relief, protection, and transportation of American citizens in Europe away from the emerging conflict. The resolution authorized the armed forces to deliver gold abroad, empowering the president “to employ officers, employees, and vessels of the United States and use any supplies of the naval or military establishments, and to charter and employ any vessels that may be required with an appropriation not to exceed $2.5 million.”[ii]

6 August At 10:20 p.m., the armored cruiser Tennessee (CA-10) sails from New York Harbor for Falmouth, England carrying $3 million in gold from private banking interests and $1.5 million in gold coin from a Congressional appropriation to provide financial relief to Americans caught up in the outbreak of World War I. Aboard Tennessee are a delegation of Army officers, additional Navy and Marine Corps officers, five bankers, representatives of the banking interests sending private funds, five representatives of the Treasury Department, a State Department diplomatic advisor, the national director of the American Red Cross and his secretary, and eight War Department clerks and a messenger. Under the auspices of the United States Relief Commission in Europe, the funds are intended to shore up the collapsed European credit system to enable the 125,000 Americans and their interests stranded abroad means to return home.[iii]

7 August Armored cruiser North Carolina (CA-12) and collier Vulcan (AC-5) sail from the Boston Navy Yard and rendezvous off Cape Cod with the armored cruiser Tennessee (CA-10) bound for Falmouth, England.[iv]

15 August U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau wires Secretary of State William J. Bryan about receiving requests from U.S. interests in the Ottoman cities of Beirut and Smyrna (modern day Izmir) demanding U.S. warships be sent to protect American lives and property.[v]

16 August Armored cruiser Tennessee (CA-10) arrives in Falmouth, England, at 7:45 p.m. The following day, $400,000 in gold is sent to London, with $300,000 consigned to U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain Walter Hines Page with the other $100,000 provided to two U.S. Army officers for relief work.[vi]

18–19 August Armored cruiser North Carolina (CA-12) sails from Falmouth, England, and arrives in Cherbourg, France, the following day carrying $200,000 in gold and additional American officials for the U.S. Relief Commission in Europe.[vii]

20 August Armored cruiser Tennessee (CA-10) sails from Falmouth, England, for the Hook of Holland.[viii]

______________

[i] U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, (FRUS) 1914, Supplement, The World War (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office [GPO], 1928), 547–51.

[ii] U.S. War Department, Report on Operations of United States Relief Commission in Europe (Washington, DC: GPO, 1914), 1–2.

[iii] War Department, Report on Operations, 1–2.

[iv] Branden Little, “Evacuating Wartime Europe: U.S. Policy, Strategy, and Relief Operations for Overseas American Travelers, 1914–15,” Journal of Military History 79, no. 4 (October 2015): 944; Arthur S. Link, Wilson: The Struggle for Neutrality, 19141915 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1960), 75; Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS), entry for North Carolina II (Armored Cruiser No. 12), https://www.history.navy.mil/histories/ship-histories/danfs/n/north-carolina-ii.html.

[v] Department of State, FRUS, 1914, Supplement, 66–67.

[vi] War Department, Relief Commission, 3; Little, “Evacuating Wartime Europe,” 946.

[vii] Ibid., 86.

[viii] Ibid., 4.

[2]

21 August Lieutenant Commander Henry C. Mustin, Lieutenant Patrick N. L. Bellinger, and 1st Lieutenant Bernard L. Smith, USMC, travel to Paris, for a two-day tour of aircraft factories and aerodromes in the immediate area. This temporary assignment, the first use of naval aviators as observers in foreign lands, is a precedent for assignment of aviation assistances to naval attaches, which begins the same month when Lieutenant John H. Towers is sent to London.[i]

21 August Armored cruiser Tennessee (CA-10) arrives off the Hook of Holland at 4:40 p.m., three miles outside Dutch territorial waters, and is met by the Dutch cruiser Nord-Brabrant, which will accompany American officials and $200,000 in gold ashore to The Hague.[ii]

29 August Armored cruiser North Carolina (CA-12) sails from Falmouth, England, destined for Turkish waters carrying $150,000 in gold relief funds for American-owned institutions and businesses cut off from usual channels of commerce and banking because of the war.[iii]

16 November Turkish shore batteries fire on the launch carrying the commanding officer of armored cruiser Tennessee (CA-10) from his ship into the city of Smyrna. The commander and crew on the launch are uninjured, but the incident results in several diplomatic exchanges with American officials, who are thereafter instructed to obey Turkish orders relating to port entry.[iv]

16 November An administrative reorganization at Pensacola, Florida, shifts overall command from the station ship to the headquarters ashore and the station is officially designated as Naval Aeronautic Station Pensacola.[v]

23 November The office of Director of Naval Aeronautics is established to designate the officer in charge of naval aviation, with Captain Mark L. Bristol, already serving in that capacity, being ordered to report to the Secretary of the Navy under the new title.[vi]

23 November Director of Naval Aeronautics Captain Mark L. Bristol establishes requirements for special meteorological equipment to be installed at the ends of the speed course at Pensacola, Florida, to measure and record velocity and direction of winds, gusts, and squalls.[vii]

1 December Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan dies at age 74 in Washington, D.C.[viii]

26 December The U.S. government sends the British government a diplomatic protest against the British seizure and detention of U.S. cargoes on the high seas destined for neutral ports.[ix]

______________

[i] Roy A. Grossnick, United States Naval Aviation, 19101995, 4th ed. (Washington, DC: GPO, 1995), 15; Little, “Evacuating Wartime Europe,” 948–49.

[ii] War Department, Relief Commission, 4.

[iii] Department of State, FRUS, 1914, Supplement, 762; John A. DeNovo, American Interests and Policies in the Middle East, 19001939 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1963), 91.

[iv] DeNovo, American Interests, 93; Department of State, FRUS, 1914, Supplement, 771–74, 779–80.

[v] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 15.

[vi] Ibid., 16.

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] “Alfred Thayer Mahan, 27 September 1840–1 December 1914,” Biographies, Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC), http://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/bios/mahan-alfred.html

[ix] Department of State, FRUS, 1914, Supplement, 372–75.

[3]

1915

27 January The schooner William P. Frye is captured by German auxiliary cruiser Prinz Eitel Friedrich in the South Atlantic, southeast of Brazil.[i]

28 January President Woodrow Wilson signs legislation establishing the U.S. Coast Guard through the merger of the U.S. Life-Saving Service and Revenue Cutter Service.[ii]

4 February Germany declares a submarine war zone in the waters around Great Britain and Ireland beginning 19 February and announces that enemy merchant ships will be destroyed and neutral vessels will be warned of potential danger.[iii]

10 February The U.S. government protests to Germany against the risks created by the 4 February German decree of a submarine war zone around the British Isles. The U.S. government also protests to the British against the use of neutral U.S. flags on British vessels to protect the ships from submarine attack.[iv]

19 February The steamship Evelyn is sunk by mines in the North Sea near Isle of Borkum, Germany, 10 miles west of Norderney, killing one man.[v]

20 February The U.S. government sends identical messages to the British and German governments expressing American desires for both belligerents to find basis through reciprocal concessions “which will relieve neutral ships engaged in peaceful commerce from the great dangers which they will incur in the high seas adjacent to the coasts of the belligerents.” The American multi-part suggestion is to ask both countries to identify and minimize the use of sea mines, not use submarines to attack merchant vessels of any nationality except to enforce the right of visit and search, and that both nations will require their respective merchant vessels not to use neutral flags for purpose of disguise. The U.S. government also asks that American food and foodstuffs shipped into Germany be only sent for civilian purposes under American oversight and that the British, in turn, agree to not consider food and foodstuffs contraband and not interfere with shipments to Germany while under American oversight.[vi]

22 February The cargo ship Carib strikes a mine and sinks in the North Sea with a loss of three men.[vii]

3 March President Woodrow Wilson signs multiple key pieces of legislation into law which will impact the Navy’s entry and actions in World War I. The Naval Appropriations Act included an act authorizing construction of 2 battleships, 6 destroyers, and 18 submarines; creation of the position of Chief of Naval Operations; and the establishment of the U.S. Naval Reserve Force. The legislation notes that “There shall be a Chief of Naval Operations, who shall be an officer on the active list of the Navy appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, from the officers of the line of the Navy not below the grade of Captain for a period of four years, who shall, under the direction of the Secretary, be charged with the operations of the fleet, and with the preparation and readiness of plans for its use in war.”[viii]

________________

[i] Navy Department, American Ship Casualties of the World War including Naval Vessels, Merchant Ships, Sailing Vessels, and Fishing Craft (Washington, DC: GPO, 1923), 7.

[ii] Alex R. Larzelere, The Coast Guard in World War I: An Untold Story (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2003), 7–8.

[iii] U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1915, Supplement, The World War (Washington, DC: GPO, 1928), 94.

[iv] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 98–101.

[v] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 17.

[vi] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 119–20.

[vii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 17.

[viii] Jack Sweetman, American Naval History: An Illustrated Chronology of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, 1775Present (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1984), 130; Navy Department, Office of Naval Records and Library, Historical Section, Digest Catalogue of Laws and Joint Resolutions: The Navy and the World War (Washington, DC: GPO, 1920), 9, 14–15, 20; Naval Appropriations Act of 1916, Public Law 63-271, U.S. Statutes at Large 38 (1915): 928–53.

[4]

16 March Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt attends a General Board of the U.S. Navy meeting on the upcoming Atlantic Fleet exercises. Roosevelt suggests, and the Board approves, a plan to make the exercises “serve an object lesson to the country.” Specifically, the exercises were crafted to build public support for a larger navy and battle cruisers.[i] 

22 March The title “Naval Aviator” replaces the former “Navy Air Pilot” designation for naval officers qualified as aviators.[ii]

25 March Submarine F-4 sinks following an accident during maneuvers off Honolulu, Hawaii, to a depth of 305 feet with the loss of her commanding officer and crew of 21 sailors. The submarine is later located and then raised on 29 August after considerable effort.[iii]

28 March British passenger ship Falaba is sunk by German submarine U-28 off the southern coast of Ireland. American passenger Leon C. Thresher, a mining engineer en route to the Gold Coast colony [Ghana], drowns in the sinking. Thresher is the first American civilian killed in the war as a result of German naval action.[iv]

1 April Rear Admiral Bradley A. Fiske resigns as Aide for Operations, although Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels requests he remain at his post for an additional period of time.[v]

2 April The cargo ship Greenbrier strikes a mine and sinks in the North Sea near Amrum, Germany.[vi]

11 April The German auxiliary cruiser SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm stops off Cape Henry, Virginia, after eight months at sea and is interned by the U.S. government.[vii]

16 April The Curtiss AB-2 flying boat is successfully catapulted from a barge by Lieutenant Patrick N. L. Bellinger at Pensacola, Florida.[viii]

28 April A German aircraft bombs the tanker Cushing near North Hinder Lightship in the North Sea between Great Britain and The Netherlands causing damage but no injuries.[ix]

1 May A German submarine torpedoes tanker Gulflight 20 miles west of Isles of Scilly, England, killing three men. This is the first U.S. merchant vessel torpedoed and sunk by a submarine in World War I.[x]

7 May German submarine U-20 torpedoes and sinks British passenger liner RMS Lusitania off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland. A total of 1,198 passengers are killed, including 124 Americans.[xi]

11 May Captain William S. Benson assumes the newly established post of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and is promoted to rear admiral. Benson had been a captain in command of the Philadelphia Navy Yard when selected to be CNO. Rear Admiral Bradley A. Fiske, having previously resigned as Aid for Operations, retires the same day. [xii]

______________ 

[i] Proceedings and Hearings of the General Board of the U.S. Navy 19001950, Roll 3: January 3, 1913–December 29, 1916 (Washington, DC: National Archives Microfilm Publications, 1987), 76.

[ii] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 16.

[iii] Navy Department, Annual Reports of the Navy Department for the Fiscal Year 1915 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1916), 66–68.

[iv] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 358–59.

[v] Henry P. Beers, “The Development of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Part II” Military Affairs vol. 10, no. 3 (Fall 1946), 12.

[vi] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 17.

[vii] DANFS, entry for Von Steuben I (Id. No. 3017),

https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/v/von-steuben-i.html.

[viii] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 16.

[ix] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 378, 393–94.

[x] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 8; Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 378–79.

[xi] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 384; Link, Struggle for Neutrality, 370–72; William N. Still Jr., Crisis at Sea: The United States Navy in European Waters in World War I (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2006), 4.

[xii] Thomas Hone and Curtis Utz, draft manuscript for Office of Chief of Naval Operations Centennial; Navy Department; Navy and Marine Corps List and Directory Officers of the Navy and Marine Corps of the United States June 1, 1915 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1915), 49, 64; Navy Department, Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps January 1, 1915 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1915), 8–11.

[5]

13 May The U.S. government protests to Germany against its submarine policy which culminated in the sinking of the British passenger liner RMS Lusitania. Secretary of State William J. Bryan states: “The Imperial German Government will not expect the Government of the United States to omit any word or any act necessary to the performance of its sacred duty of maintaining the rights of the United States and its citizens and of safeguarding their free exercise and enjoyment.”[i]

17–18 May President Woodrow Wilson, aboard the presidential yacht Mayflower (PY-1), and Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, aboard the gunboat Dolphin (PG-24), together review the Atlantic Fleet in New York Harbor. The fleet numbered 64 ships, including 16 battleships, assembled after months of training in Cuban waters off Guantanamo and target practice off the Chesapeake Capes.[ii]

25 May A German submarine torpedoes and damages the cargo ship Nebraskan 40 miles southwest of Southcliffe, Ireland, which is later salvaged.[iii]

26 May Rear Admiral Austin M. Knight, Naval War College President, releases his official report on the 1915 Atlantic Fleet exercises. His analysis highlights the great danger posed to the Navy by its lack of battle cruisers, focusing especially on the impossibility of maintaining a credible cruiser screen in front of the main fleet. Knight’s analysis is echoed by the popular press.[iv] 

1 June The Navy awards its first contract for a lighter-than-air craft to the Connecticut Aircraft Company, New Haven, Connecticut, for one non-rigid airship which is later designated DN-1.[v]

1 June The German government sends a supplementary note to the U.S. government in regard to the tankers Gulflight and Cushing incidents of 28 April and 1 May 1915.[vi]

9 June The U.S. government, in a second note relating to the sinking of the British passenger liner RMS Lusitania, requests that Germany adopt the necessary measures to safeguard American lives, property, and ships on the high seas and asks for assurances that this will be done.[vii]

25 June Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels orders the discontinuance of the Naval Aide System, in place since 1909, as the duties and responsibilities of the aides now fall under the purview of the Office of Chief of Naval Operations.[viii]

29 June The Austro-Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs submits a protest to the United States regarding the shipment of arms and ammunition to Great Britain and her allies.[ix]

7 July Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels writes Thomas A. Edison, inviting him to become the head of a planned Naval Consulting Board, intended to bring the nation’s top scientists and inventors in close consultation with the Navy on emerging technologies of naval warfare. The board will become the predecessor to the Naval Research Laboratory.[x]

_____________

[i] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 393–96.

[ii] Navy Department, Annual Report 1915, 13–14.

[iii] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 414, 430, 468–69; Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 8.

[iv] Rear Admiral Austin M. Knight, “Report on the Outcome of the Exercises,” May 26, 1915, Record Group 80, Entry 281: General Board Subject Files 1900-47, Subject GB 434, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, DC.

[v] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 17.

[vi] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 431–32.

[vii] Ibid., 436–38.

[viii] Beers, “Office of Naval Operations, Part II,” 14.

[ix] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 790–93.

[x] Josephus Daniels, Our Navy at War (New York: George H. Doran Co., 1922), 290–91; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 17; Lloyd N. Scott, Naval Consulting Board of the United States (Washington, DC: GPO, 1920), 9–10.

[6]

8 July The German government responds to the U.S. diplomatic note of 13 May by offering safety to U.S. vessels provided the passenger steamers have recognizable markings, and that German submarine commanders are notified a reasonable time in advance of the passage of the steamers. The German government further proposes that an increase in the number of available steamers be placed in service under the U.S. flag to allow American citizens traveling to Europe safe passage rather that “travel to Europe in time of war on ships carrying an enemy flag.” If this is not possible, the German government “is prepared to interpose no objections to the placing under the American flag by the U.S. Government of four enemy passenger steamers for the passenger traffic between America and England.”[i]

10 July Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels authorizes the Washington Navy Yard to outfit a building for testing aeronautic machinery, beginning what will become the Aeronautical Engine Laboratory.[ii]

10 July General Order No. 153 prescribes a standard organization for an aeronautic force within the Naval Militia, with a composition paralleling that of other forces established at the same time. This consisted of sections of not more than 6 officers and 28 enlisted men; two sections forming a division. Officers were in the “aeronautics duty only” category, the highest rank provided being that of lieutenant commander at the division level. Its enlisted structure provided that men taken in under regular ratings of machinist mates and electricians would perform duties as aeronautic machinists; carpenter mates would perform duties as aeronautic mechanics; and landsmen, the equivalent of strikers today, would perform special duties.[iii]

21 July The U.S. government replies to the German diplomatic note of 8 July and “regrets to be obliged to say that it has found it very unsatisfactory,” concluding that “Friendship itself prompts it to say to the Imperial Government that repetition by the commanders of German naval vessels of acts in contravention of those rights must be regarded . . . when they affect American citizens, as deliberately unfriendly.”[iv]

22 July Based on recommendations received from Naval Aeronautic Station Pensacola, the Director of Naval Aeronautics establishes requirements for 13 instruments to be installed in service aircraft: air speed meter, incidence indicator, tachometer, skidding and sideslip indicator, altitude barometer, oil gauge, fuel gauge, compass, course and distance indicator, magazine camera, binoculars, clock, and sextant. All except the navigational instruments, camera, binoculars, and clock are also required for training aircraft.[v]

25 July A German submarine fires on, torpedoes, and sinks the cargo ship Leelanaw off the north coast of Scotland about 60 miles northwest of Orkney Islands.[vi]

27 July After President Woodrow Wilson tells Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to prepare for a large building program in 1916, the General Board of the U.S. Navy sets a new policy of matching “the most powerful [fleet] maintained by another nation . . . not later than 1925.” The board tentatively agrees that battle cruisers must be included in the next building program.[vii]

_____________

[i] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 463–66.

[ii] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 17.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 480–82.

[v] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 17.

[vi] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 8.

[vii] Proceedings and Hearings of the General Board of the U.S. Navy 19001950, Roll 3: January 3, 1913–December 29, 1916 (Washington, DC: National Archives Microfilm Publications, 1987), 199–200.

[7]

4 August The steel-hulled sailing bark Pass of Balmaha surrenders to a German submarine in the North Sea. It is later converted into the German commerce raider SMS Seeadler.[i]

5 August Lieutenant Patrick N. L. Bellinger, flying the Burgess-Dunne AH-10, spots mortar fire for Army shore batteries at Fort Monroe, Virginia, signaling his spots with a flare pistol.[ii]

19 August German submarine U-24 sinks the British passenger liner RMS Arabic 50 miles off Kinsale, Ireland. Forty-four passengers die in the sinking, including two Americans.[iii]

29 August President Woodrow Wilson signs legislation, which would make the Coast Guard part of the Navy in time of war.[iv]

1 September The German ambassador to the United States declares that passenger liners will not be sunk by German submarines without warning and without regard for the safety of the lives of non-combatants provided that the liners do not try to escape or offer resistance. This comes in response to the sinking of the British passenger liners RMS Lusitania and Arabic.[v]

4 September The British passenger liner RMS Hesperian is torpedoed by German submarine U-20—the same U-boat commanded by Kapitanleutnant Walther Schweiger who sank the British passenger liner RMS Lusitania—with the loss of 26 lives. One American citizen, a crewmember, escaped unscathed. While under tow to Ireland, the Hesperian sinks on 6 September.[vi]

7 September The German government sends the U.S. government a report on the sinking of the British passenger liner Arabic.[vii]

12 September The Naval Consulting Board is announced by Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, with Thomas A. Edison selected as board’s presiding officer.[viii]

14 September The U.S. government sends a summary of evidence in regard to the sinking of British passenger liner Arabic to the Foreign Office of the Imperial German government.[ix]

27 September The schooner Vincent strikes a mine and sinks in the North Sea, near Cape Orloff, Russia, injuring four.[x]

29 September For the first time, a series of long-distance wireless telephone communications concludes as the Naval Radio Service, working with the American Telephone and Telegraph Company and Western Electric Company, successfully transmits human voice by radio from the naval radio station at Arlington, Virginia, to Mare Island, California, 2,500 miles away.[xi]

5 October The German government expresses official regret for the sinking of the British passenger liner Arabic, disavows the act, and declares that the Kaiser issues orders to his submarines commanders “so stringent that the recurrence of incidents similar to the Arabic case is considered out of the question.”[xii]

7 October An organizational meeting of the Naval Consulting Board commences at the Navy Department in Washington, D.C.[xiii]

_____________

[i] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 8.

[ii] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 17.

[iii] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 539–40, 547–48.

[iv] Navy Department, Digest Catalogue, 21.

[v] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 530–31.

[vi] Ibid., 533–35; Link, Struggle for Neutrality, 652–53.

[vii] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 539–40.

[viii] “Daniels Names Naval Advisors,” New York Times, 13 September 1915, 1.

[ix] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 547–48.

[x] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 17.

[xi] Navy Department, Annual Report 1915, 43.

[xii] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 560–61.

[xiii] Scott, Naval Consulting Board, 13–14.

[8]

9 October Two days after Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels asks the General Board of the U.S. Navy to prepare a five-year, $500 million construction program (the largest in U.S. history to that point), the board returns with a construction plan headlined by ten battleships and six battle cruisers.[i]

15 October Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels refers a proposal made by Director of Naval Aeronautics Captain Mark L. Bristol to convert a merchant ship to operate aircraft to the General Board of the U.S. Navy. Daniels comments that there was a more immediate need to determine what would be done with armored cruiser North Carolina (CA-12) which was already fitted to carry aircraft.[ii]

18 October Submarines D-1 (SS-17), D-2 (SS-18), D-3 (SS-19), E-1 (SS-24), G-1 (SS-19 1/2), G-2 (SS-27), and G-4 (SS-26) arrive at the New London Navy Yard in Groton, Connecticut. These are the first submarines stationed at Groton, which will be established as Naval Submarine Base New London.[iii]

21 October The U.S. government lodges a second protest with Great Britain against the detention of U.S. ships and cargoes destined for neutral ports and declares the British blockade “ineffective, illegal, and indefensible.”[iv]

26 October Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels orders the Bureau of Construction and Repair to investigate a means of detecting submerged submarines from a surface vessel.[v]

5 November Lieutenant Commander Henry C. Mustin, in the AB-2 flying boat, makes the first catapult launch from a ship, flying off the stern of the armored cruiser North Carolina (CA-12) in Pensacola Bay, Florida.[vi]

5 November Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels issues the first order ever sent by the Navy by wireless telephony from his desk in the Navy Department in Washington.[vii]

7 November German submarine U-38, flying the flag of Austria-Hungary, torpedoes and sinks Italian passenger steamer Ancona off Cape Carbonara, Italy. More than 200 passengers, including nine Americans, are killed.[viii]

18 November The schooner Helen Martin strikes a mine and sinks in the North Sea, injuring four. It is later salvaged.[ix]

1 December The German government requests the U.S. government to issue orders to the commanders of U.S. warships in the Mediterranean to display the national flag clearly during the day and keep the flag sufficiently illuminated at night to avoid the vessels being mistaken for warships of the belligerents against the Central Powers. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels acknowledged the request on 10 December but declined the German request to issue orders to the U.S. warship commanders in the Mediterranean, “and must continue to consider that the German Government is wholly and fully responsible for the prevention of unintentional attacks by its naval forces on the vessels of the United States.”[x]

_______________

[i] Proceedings and Hearings of the General Board of the U.S. Navy 1900-1950, Roll 3: January 3, 1913–December 29, 1916 (Washington, DC: National Archives Microfilm Publications, 1987), 299–303.

[ii] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 17.

[iii] John Ruddy, “First Seven Submarines Arrived in Groton a Century Ago,” The Day, 17 October 2015, http://www.theday.com/article/20151017/NWS01/151019329.  

[iv] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 578–601.

[v] Gary E. Weir, An Ocean in Common: American Naval Officers, Scientists, and the Ocean Environment (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2001), 7.

[vi] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 17.

[vii] Navy Department, Annual Report 1915, 43.

[viii] Paul G. Halpern, The Naval War in the Mediterranean, 1914–1918 (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1987), 194; Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 611, 623–25, 646.

[ix] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 17.

[x] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 1054–56.

[9]

3 December The U.S. government requests the recall of Germany’s naval and military attachés in Washington, D.C., Captain Karl Boy-Ed and Captain Franz von Papen, respectively. Both men are recalled on 10 December.[i]

5 December The tanker Petrolite is fired upon by an unknown submarine flying an Austrian flag off the coast of Egypt. After stopping, the tanker captain is taken aboard the submarine and ordered by its commander to provide the submarine with fresh provisions of ham, beef, and eggs, while holding one of the American crew captive until the provisions were provided. After receiving the provisions and without paying recompense, the submarine submerges and departs.[ii]

6 December Secretary of State Robert Lansing, responds to the sinking of the Italian passenger steamer Ancona by dispatching a sternly-worded letter of protest to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, demanding that the government denounce the sinking and punish the U-boat commander. Acceding to U.S. demands, the empire pays an indemnity and requests the German navy refrain from attacking passenger vessels while flying the Austrian flag.[iii]

30 December Austria-Hungary announces to the U.S. government that the commander of the submarine which sank the Italian passenger steamer Ancona has been punished “in accordance with the rules of force in this matter for exceeding his instructions.”[iv]

______________

[i] David M. Cooney, A Chronology of the U.S. Navy: 17751965 (New York: F. Watts, 1965), 220.

[ii] U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1916, Supplement, The World War (Washington, DC: GPO, 1929), 160–61, 276–78.

[iii] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 623–25; Halpern, Naval War in Mediterranean, 196–97.

[iv] Department of State, FRUS, 1915, Supplement, 655–58.

[10]

1916

4 January The U.S. government protests to Great Britain against interference with U.S. mail to and from neutral countries. This is in response to British customs authorities removing mail bags en route from the United States to Scandinavian nations.[i]

6 January Instruction commences at Pensacola, Florida, for the first group of enlisted men to receive flight training.[ii]

18 January The U.S. government sets forth a proposed “Modus Vivendi for the Observance of Rules of International Law and Principles of Humanity by Submarines and the Discontinuance of Armament of Merchant Ships” and requests whether the governments of the Allies would subscribe to such an agreement.[iii]

15 February Secretary of State Robert Lansing issues a statement to the press that the U.S. government agrees that commercial vessels have the legal right to carry arms in self-defense.[iv]

16 February The German government dispatches a diplomatic note acknowledging its liability in the British passenger liner RMS Lusitania affair and being prepared to make reparation for the lives of those Americans lost in the sinking.[v]

4 March Captain Mark L. Bristol is detached as Director of Naval Aeronautics and both the title and office cease to exist. He is assigned command of the armored cruiser North Carolina (CA-12) and, under a new title of Commander of the Air Service, assumes operational supervision over all aircraft, air stations, and the further development of aviation in the Navy. Such aviation duties as remained in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations are assumed by Lieutenant Clarence K. Bronson.[vi]

11 March The battleship Nevada (BB-36) commissions under the command of Captain W. S. Sims.[vii]

24 March The French cross-channel ferry Sussex is torpedoed by German submarine UB-29 on its journey from Folkestone, England, to Dieppe, France. The blast blows off the entire bow forward of the bridge and kills at least 50 persons aboard. Several American passengers are injured, resulting in an exchange of diplomatic correspondence between the United States and Germany.[viii]

_________________

[i] Department of State, FRUS, 1916, Supplement, 591-92.

[ii] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 17.

[iii] Department of State, FRUS, 1916, Supplement, 146–48.

[iv] Ibid., 170.

[v] Ibid., 171–72.

[vi] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 18.

[vii] DANFS, entry for Nevada II (Battleship No. 36), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/n/nevada-ii.html.

[viii] Sweetman, American Naval History, 133; Edward K. Chatterton, Fighting the U-boats (London: Hurst & Blackett, Ltd., 1942), 172; Department of State, FRUS, 1916, Supplement, 214–16, 218–19.

[11]

25 March Qualifications for officers and enlisted men in the Aeronautic Force of the Naval Militia are defined by General Order No. 198, which, in each instance, were over and above those prescribed for the same ranks and ratings of the Naval Militia. These extras, cumulative for ranks in ascending order, required ensigns to have knowledge of navigation (except nautical astronomy) and scouting problems, practical and theoretical knowledge of airplanes and motors, and ability to fly at least one type of aircraft. Lieutenant (j.g.)s were in addition to have some knowledge of nautical astronomy, principles of aircraft design, and to qualify for a Navy pilot certificate. Additional requirements for lieutenants called for a greater knowledge of nautical astronomy and ability to fly at least two types of naval aircraft, while lieutenant commanders, the highest rank provided for the force, were also to have knowledge of Navy business methods used in aeronautics. Aviation mechanics were to have knowledge of aircraft maintenance and aviation machinists were to have similar knowledge of motors.[i]

18 April The U.S. government warns Germany that “Unless the Imperial [German] Government should now immediately declare and effect an abandonment of its present methods of submarine warfare against passenger and freight-carrying vessels, the Government of the United States can have no choice but to sever diplomatic relations with the German Empire altogether.”[ii]

27 April Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson dispatches a memorandum to the fleet, detailing steps to take in the event of a mobilization order, with the rendezvous designated at Chesapeake Bay.[iii]

2 May Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels appoints the Board for the Development of Navy Yard Plans to draw up for consideration by the Navy bureaus and for the secretary’s approval a plan for the development of each navy yard. The board’s work represented an unprecedented expansion of the primary navy yards, modernizing them for increases in the fleet and incorporation of the latest technologies.[iv]

2 May Battleship Oklahoma (BB-37) commissions under the command of Captain Roger Welles.[v]

4 May The Imperial German government issues the Sussex Pledge, which promises that the German navy will not target passenger vessels, sink merchant ships until the presence of weapons is established (by search if necessary), or sink merchant ships without provision for the safety of the passengers and crew.[vi]

8 May The U.S. government accepts the German Sussex Pledge but emphasizes that the fulfillment of these conditions cannot depend upon the negotiations between the United States and any other belligerent government.[vii]

10 May Commander Frank H. Schofield reports to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson for duty to ostensibly to head an Office of the Chief of Naval Operations planning section, although no section will be established for the remainder of the year.[viii]

13 May The Chief of Naval Operations requests the appropriate bureaus to undertake development of gyroscopic attachments for instruments and equipment, including compasses, bombsights, and base lines, the latter a forerunner of the turn-and-bank indicator.[ix]

20 May The Bureau of Ordnance receives a $750 allocation to be used in placing an order with the Sperry Gyroscope Company to develop a gyroscopically operated bomb-dropping sight.[x]

24 May The U.S. government protests to Great Britain and France against interference with mail at sea, declaring that it can no longer be tolerated.[xi]

_____________

[i] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 18.

[ii] Department of State, FRUS, 1916, Supplement, 232–37.

[iii] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 9–10.

[iv] Navy Department, Bureau of Yards and Docks, Activities of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, World War, 19171918 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1921), 129.

[v] DANFS, entry for Oklahoma, (Battleship No. 37), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/o/oklahoma.html.

[vi] Department of State, FRUS, 1916, Supplement, 257–60; Still, Crisis at Sea, 5; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 9–10.

[vii] Department of State, FRUS, 1916, Supplement, 263.

[viii] Beers, “Office of Naval Operations, Part II,” 21.

[ix] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 19.

[x] Ibid.

[xi] Department of State, FRUS, 1916, Supplement, 604–608.

[12]

3 June Formal instruction in free and captive balloons is instituted at Pensacola, Florida, when Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels approves a course proposed by Lieutenant Commander Frank R. McCrary, and directs that it be added to the Bureau of Navigation Circular “Courses of Instruction and Required Qualifications of Personnel for the Air Service of the Navy.”[i]

12 June Battleship Pennsylvania (BB-38) commissions under the command of Captain Henry B. Wilson.[ii]

18 June The steamship Seaconnet strikes a mine and sinks in the North Sea, off Great Yarmouth, England.[iii]

21 June The U.S. government demands an apology and reparation from the Austro-Hungarian Empire for the insult to the American flag and invasion of American citizens’ rights by an Austrian submarine to the crew of the merchant tanker Petrolite.[iv]

9 July The German cargo submarine SMS Deutschland arrives at Baltimore, Maryland, carrying 750 tons of dyestuffs and chemicals. It leaves Baltimore on 1 August with a cargo of nickel, crude rubber, and tin.[v]

10 July The steamship Gold Shell (ID-3021) strikes a mine in the Bay of Biscay, but is later salvaged.[vi]

12 July The AB-3 flying boat, piloted by Lieutenant Godfrey deC. Chevalier, is catapulted from the armored cruiser North Carolina (CA-12) while underway in Pensacola Bay, Florida. The launch completes calibration of the first catapult designed for shipboard use, thereby making North Carolina the first ship of the Navy equipped to carry and operate aircraft.[vii]

30 July German agents secretly light a series of small fires along a mile-long pier on “Black Tom” island in New York Harbor adjacent to Liberty Island at the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company munitions depot. The fires soon detonated around two million pounds of small arms and artillery ammunition—including 100,000 pounds of TNT in storage. The massive explosions caused property damage estimated at $20 million, including $100,000 in damage to the Statue of Liberty.[viii]

10 August Negotiations begin for the first aircraft production contract with a telegram to Glenn H. Curtiss requesting him to call the Bureau of Construction and Repair with a proposition to supply at the earliest date practicable 30 school flying boats. The telegram results in a contract for 30 N-9 floatplanes.[ix]

19 August The Naval Reserve Force is established and the Naval Militia federalized under the name of the National Naval Volunteers. The National Naval Volunteers in July 1918 will be transferred to the Naval Reserve Force.[x]

_______________

[i] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 19.

[ii] DANFS, entry for Pennsylvania II (Battleship No. 38), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/p/pennsylvania-ii.html.

[iii] Navy Department, Ship Causalities, 17.

[iv] Department of State, FRUS, 1916, Supplement, 276–78.

[v] Navy Department, Office of Naval Records and Library, Historical Section, German Submarine Activities on the Atlantic Coast of the United States and Canada (Washington, DC: GPO, 1920), 17.

[vi] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 17.

[vii] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 19.

[viii] Jules Witcover, Sabotage at Black Tom: Imperial Germany’s Secret War in America, 19141917 (Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books, 1989), 11–25.

[ix] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 19–21.

[x] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 222; Sweetman, American Naval History, 134.

[13]

29 August Congress approves the Naval Act of 1916, authorizing construction in three years of 10 battleships, 6 battle cruisers, 10 scout cruisers, 50 destroyers, and 67 submarines. The act further provides for the establishment of a Naval Flying Corps to be composed of 150 officers and 350 enlisted men in addition to those provided by law for other branches of the Navy. It also provides for the establishment of a Naval Reserve Flying Corps to be composed of officers and enlisted men transferring from the Naval Flying Corps, of surplus graduates of aeronautics schools and of members of the Naval Reserve Force with experience in aviation. The legislation establishes the Chief of Naval Operations billet as a full admiral and appoints a staff “no less than fifteen officers of and above the rank of lieutenant commander of the Navy or major of the Marine Corps” to support him. Lastly, the legislation legalizes the Naval Consulting Board and includes appropriations for experimentation and research in conjunction with the work of the Naval Consulting Board.[i]

29 August Congress passes legislation authorizing the President in a national emergency to transfer the Lighthouse Service to the Navy Department, and be reestablished separately under the Department of Commerce after the national emergency passed.[ii]

29 August Congress passes legislation authorizing the organization of the Council of National Defense, composed of the Secretary of War, Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, and Secretary of Labor, for the “coordination of industries and resources for the national security and welfare” and for the “creation of relations which will render possible in time of need the immediate concentration and utilization of the resources of the Nation.”[iii]

7 September President Woodrow Wilson signs legislation establishing the U.S. Shipping Board for the purpose of encouraging, developing, and creating a naval auxiliary, naval reserve, and a merchant marine to meet requirements of the United States with its territories and possessions and with foreign carriers.[iv]

12 September A demonstration of guided missile equipment—a piloted flying boat equipped with an automatic stabilization and direction gear developed by the Sperry Company and P. C. Hewitt—is witnessed by Lieutenant Theodore S. Wilkinson of the Bureau of Ordnance at Amityville, Long Island, New York.[v]

7 October German submarine U-53 enters the port of Newport, Rhode Island, under command of Kapitanleutnant Hans Rose on a friendly visit. The Germans welcomed U.S. naval officers and personnel aboard the U-boat for brief inspections but had to depart Newport under the threat of internment.[vi]

8 October German submarine U-53, after leaving Newport, Rhode Island, commences military operations two miles off the Nantucket Lightship 85, stopping and sinking the British liner Stephano, British steamer Strathdene, and U.S. steamer West Point, the Dutch steamer Blommerdijk, and the Norwegian steamer Christian Knutsen. A large U.S. destroyer force sails from Newport to rescue the survivors on the evening of 8–9 October.[vii] 

_____________

 

[i] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 222; Navy Department, Digest Catalogue, 15–16; Still, Crisis at Sea, 5; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 12–13; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 21; Harold and Margaret Sprout, The Rise of American Naval Power, 1776–1918, fifth printing (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1980), 344–46; Naval Act of 1916, Public Law 64-241, U.S. Statutes at Large 39 (1916): 556–619; Scott, Naval Consulting Board, 112.

[ii] Navy Department, Digest Catalogue, 21; Navy Department, Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy for the Fiscal Year 1918 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1918), 127.

[iii] Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 141.

[iv] Act to Establish a United States Shipping Board, Public Law 64-260, U.S. Statutes at Large 39 (1916): 728–38.

[v] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 21.

[vi] Albert Gleaves, A History of the Transport Service: Adventures and Experiences of United States Transports and Cruisers in the World War (New York: George H. Doran Co., 1921), 136; Navy Department, German Submarine Activities, 18–22; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 11.

[vii] Gleaves, Transport Service, 136–37; Navy Department, German Submarine Activities, 22–23; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 11.

[14]

11 October The acting Secretary of War recommends to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels that a joint Army-Navy board be appointed to consider the requirements for developing a lighter-than-air service in the Army or Navy or both. With the Secretary’s concurrence, there comes into being an agency for inter-service cooperation in aeronautics, which under its later title, Aeronautical Board, functions for more than 30 years until dissolution in 1948.[i]

17 October Battleship Arizona (BB-39) commissions under command of Captain John D. McDonald.[ii]

28 October German submarine U-55 torpedoes and sinks British steamer Marina 30 miles west of Fastnet, Ireland, and six American passengers are killed.[iii]

1 November A German cargo submarine, SMS Deutschland, arrives at New London, Connecticut, with a cargo of dyestuffs and chemicals, returning to Germany with cargo of nickel and copper.[iv]

7 November The German submarine U-49 uses scuttling charges to sink the steamship Columbian 50 miles northwest of Cape Ortegal, Spain.[v]

8 November Lieutenant Clarence K. Bronson, Naval Aviator No. 15, and Lieutenant Luther Welsh, on an experimental bomb test flight at Naval Proving Ground, Indian Head, Maryland, are instantly killed by the premature explosion of a bomb in their plane.[vi]

17 November Efforts to develop high-speed seaplanes for catapulting from ships leads Chief Constructor David W. Taylor to solicit suitable designs from various manufacturers. Among the requirements are a speed range of 50 to 95 mph, two and a half hours endurance, and provisions for radio.[vii]

26 November The steamship Chemung is torpedoed and sunk by gunfire from an Austrian submarine in the Mediterranean Sea, 14 miles east of Cape de Gata.[viii]

14 December The schooner Rebecca Palmer is fired upon and damaged by an enemy submarine, 70 miles west southwest of Fastnet, Ireland.[ix]

18 December The cargo ship Kansan strikes a mine in Bay of Biscay, injuring six. It is later salvaged.[x]

23 December The first class of 16 officers graduates from the submarine training school at New London, Connecticut.[xi]

______________

[i] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 22.

[ii] DANFS, entry for Arizona II (Battleship No. 39), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/a/arizona-battleship-no-39-ii.html.

[iii] Navy Department, Bureau of Ordnance, Navy Ordnance Activities World War 1917 1918 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1920), 269; Justus D. Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War: A New History of America’s Entry into World War I (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2011), 219.

[iv] Navy Department, German Submarine Activities, 17.

[v] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 8.

[vi] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 22.

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 8.

[ix] Ibid.

[x] Ibid., 17.

[xi] Michael D. Besch, “A Navy Second to None: The History of U.S. Naval Training in World War I” (PhD diss., Marquette University, 1999), 298.

[15]

1917

6 January A board of Army and Navy officers recommends to the Secretaries of War and the Navy that an airship of the zeppelin-type be designed and constructed under the direction of the Chief Constructor of the Navy with funds provided equally by the Army and the Navy, and that a board of three Army and three Navy officers be created to ensure effective inter-service cooperation in prosecution of the work.[i]

8 January A Benet-Mercie machine gun, installed in a flexible mount in the Burgess-Dunne AH-10 seaplane, is fired at altitudes of 100 and 200 feet above Pensacola, Florida. Both the gun and aircraft operate satisfactorily during the test.[ii]

9 January Germany declares a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.[iii]

16 January Admiral of the Navy George Dewey dies at age 79 in Washington, D.C.[iv]

31 January Germany announces to the United States its intention of abandoning all legal restrictions on naval warfare in certain designated sea areas. The announcement declares that “From February 1, 1917, sea traffic will be stopped with every available weapon and without further notice.”[v]

31 January The Bureau of Ordnance suggests that American battle cruisers be built with 16-inch rather than 14-inch guns to mirror British trends toward larger capital ship guns.[vi]

1 February Germany places its policy of unrestricted submarine warfare into full effect, torpedoing vessels of any nation without warning.[vii]

1 February The Bureau of Ordnance, recognizing a shortage of machine guns to arm Marines and crews, wires machine gun manufacturers to come to Washington, D.C., for consultation. Bureau chief Rear Admiral Ralph Earle asks them to proceed with quantity production, with funds and production numbers to be given later.[viii]

2 February Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels requests all naval personnel, “In view [of the] present international situation [to] take every possible precaution to protect government plants and vessels.”[ix]

3 February German submarine U-53 shells and sinks the cargo ship Housatonic 20 miles south of Bishop’s Light, off the Isles of Scilly.[x]

3 February The U.S. government severs diplomatic relations with Germany.[xi]

3 February At the Engineering Society Building in New York City, a group of experts in antisubmarine warfare–related fields gathers at the invitation of the Naval Consulting Board. The experts agree that underwater sound and echo ranging offers the most promising avenue of exploration for scientists in the war effort.[xii]

______________

[i] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 23.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 222.

[iv] Biographies, “George Dewey, 26 December 1837–16 January 1917,” NHHC, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/research-guides/z-files/zb-files/zb-files-d/dewey-george.html; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 15.

[v] U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1917, Supplement 1, The World War (Washington, DC: GPO, 1931), 34–36; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 13; Arthur S. Link, Wilson: Campaign for Progressivism and Peace, 19161917 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1965), 290–91.

[vi] U.S. Navy Bureau of Ordnance “Memorandum for Chief of Naval Operations,” 31 January 1917, RG19, Entry 105, 22-C1-6-1, NARA.

[vii] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 223; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 10, 19; radiogram from Josephus Daniels to USS Des Moines, 2 February 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, Naval Department Library (NDL).

[viii] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 17.

[ix] Radiogram from Josephus Daniels to ALNAV, 2 February 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 8; Link, Campaign for Progressivism, 309–10.

[xi] Department of State, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 1, 106–08; Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 223; Larzelere, Coast Guard, 4; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 22; Link, Campaign for Progressivism, 300–01; radiogram from OPNAV to USS Illinois, 4 February 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Weir, Ocean in Common, 7.

[16]

4 February Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels directs that 16 non-rigid airships of Class B be procured, with contracts subsequently issued to the Connecticut Aircraft Corporation, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, and the B. F. Goodrich Company.[i]

5 February Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson recommends that in view of the urgent military necessity, eight aeronautic coastal patrol stations be established in the United States.[ii]

5 February Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels approves a plan for the development of Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia.[iii]

12 February German submarine U-35 captures and sinks the schooner Lyman M. Law in the Mediterranean Sea, about 25 miles from Cagliari, Sardinia.[iv]

19 February Admiral Charles Badger writes to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels on behalf of the General Board of the U.S. Navy about the intended role of battle cruisers in the fleet, claiming that they “are not intended to form part of the fighting line [or] . . . a fast wing, but . . . to offensively screen the fleet,” laying out the basic American consensus on battle cruiser doctrine.[v]

24 February U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain Walter Hines Page receives a copy of a decoded telegram from the British government sent by Imperial German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann to the German Ambassador to Mexico Heinrich von Eckardt, asking him to approach the Mexican government about a proposed military alliance should the United States move to war.[vi]

25 February German submarine U-50 torpedoes and sinks British liner RMS Laconia, killing 12, including three American passengers.[vii]

26 February President Woodrow Wilson, in his “Armed Neutrality” address to Congress, requests authority to arm American merchant vessels and take other measures to protect American lives and property on the high seas.[viii]

28 February President Woodrow Wilson releases the “Zimmermann Telegram” of 24 February to the American press, which publishes it the next day.[ix]

28 February Captain William D. MacDougall, U.S. Naval Attaché in London, cables the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington, D.C., to report that the British Admiralty “will assist when the situation makes it advisable to join action with us.”[x]

4 March Congress passes the Naval Appropriations Act of 1917, providing the Navy with its largest one-year budget to date, $517 million. Approximately $192 million is allocated to continue the authorized 1916 construction program to build an additional battle cruiser, 3 battleships, 3 scout cruisers, 15 destroyers, 38 submarines, and 2 auxiliaries. Another $115 million is allocated for a “naval emergency fund” to be used as necessary for the purchase of ships or other purposes.[xi]

_______________

[i] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 24.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 131.

[iv] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 8.

[v] Admiral Charles Badger, “Letter to Secretary Daniels,” 19 February 1917, RG19, E 105, 22-C1-6-1, NARA.

[vi] Department of State, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 1, 147–48; Link, Campaign for Progressivism, 342–43.

[vii] Sweetman, American Naval History, 135; Link, Campaign for Progressivism, 350.

[viii] Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 264–65; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 18; Josephus Daniels, The Wilson Era: Years of Peace, 19101917 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1944), 594–95; Link, Campaign for Progressivism, 346–49.

[ix] Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 267; Link, Campaign for Progressivism, 353–54.

[x] Cablegram from William D. MacDougall to Office of Naval Intelligence, Washington, DC, 28 February 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Navy Department, Digest Catalogue, 16, 18.

[17]

9 March President Woodrow Wilson, with Congress having recessed before acting on his request, declares his belief that he had the authority to arm American merchant vessels without Congressional approval.[i]

12 March President Woodrow Wilson assigns Navy crews to man deck guns placed aboard American merchant vessels and informs foreign governments of his decision.[ii]

12 March The first inter-service agreement regarding the development of aeronautic resources and the operations of aircraft is submitted by a board of Army and Navy officers and approved by the Secretaries of War and Navy Departments. The agreement recognizes a general division of aeronautical functions along lines traditional to the services, but stresses the importance of joint development, organization, and operation, and enunciates basic principles whereby joint effort could be achieved in these areas.[iii]

12 March German submarine U-62 sinks USCGC Algonquin with gunfire and scuttling charges 65 miles west of Bishops, off the Isles of Scilly, England.[iv]

12 March The first Navy gun crews from battleship Arizona (BB-39) are ordered aboard the passenger liners St. Louis and Manchuria.[v]

13 March Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels issues regulations governing the conduct of American merchant vessels, on which Navy personnel designated as Armed Guards man the guns, are to be placed for the protection of the vessels, their crews and cargoes. That day the Bureau of Ordnance itself issues directions assigning guns to the passenger liners Manchuria and St. Louis, steamships Mongolia, New York, Philadelphia, Kroonland, and St. Paul.[vi]

14 March The Bureau of Ordnance issues directions assigning deck guns to the merchantmen West Oil, Aztec, and steamship Campana.[vii]

15 March Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels signs a contract for six scout cruisers and five battle cruisers authorized and funded by Congress.[viii]

15 March New York Navy Yard completes installation of guns aboard the passenger liners Manchuria, St. Louis, and steamship New York.[ix]

16 March German submarine U-70 torpedoes and sinks steamship Vigilancia, 145 miles west of Bishops, off the Isles of Scilly, Great Britain, killing 15.[x]

16 March The passenger liner Manchuria becomes the first U.S. armed merchantman to sail for the European war zone. It carries two 4-inch guns forward, one 6-inch gun aft, two one-pounder rapid-fire guns, and two Lewis guns.[xi]

______________

[i] Doenecke, Nothing Less Than War, 277; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 18; Josephus Daniels, Years of War and After 19171918, 17; Link, Campaign for Progressivism, 373–77.

[ii] Josephus Daniels, The Navy and the Nation: War-time Addresses (New York: George H. Doran Co., 1919), x; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 18–19, 40; Link, Campaign for Progressivism, 377; Department of State, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 1, 171; statement given to the press by the Department of State about notification of arming of merchant vessels, 12 March 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 24; report of Board of Army and Navy officers relative [to] development [of] aeronautical service to the Secretary of the Navy, 12 March 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 8; Department of State, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 1, 174.

[v] Lewis P. Clephane, History of the Naval Overseas Transportation Service in World War I (Washington, DC: GPO, 1969), 15.

[vi] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 40–41; Daniels, Years of War and After, 29; Link, Campaign for Progressivism, 377; Josephus Daniels, “Information for [merchant] Ship Owners,” 13 March 1917; Josephus Daniels, “Regulations governing the conduct of American Merchant Vessels on which ARMED GUARDS have been placed,” 13 March 1917,  Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 40.

[viii] William J. Williams, “Josephus Daniels and the U.S. Navy’s Shipbuilding Program During World War I” Journal of Military History 60, no. 1 (January 1996): 13–14.

[ix] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 41.

[x] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 8; Department of State, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 1, 182.

[xi] Clephane, Naval Overseas Transportation, xvii; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 269.

[18]

17 March The Navy Department receives authorization to enlist women to perform yeoman’s duties. With the need for clerical assistance increasing, shore stations find themselves increasingly in need of personnel. Fortuitously, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels learns that there is no language in the Naval Act of 1916 restricting the enlistment of women in the Naval Reserve. As Daniels recounts in his response to his legal advisors, “‘Then enroll women in the Naval Reserve as yeomen,’ I said, ‘and we will have the best clerical assistance the country can provide.’” Women are given the designation as “Yeomen (F)” indicating their gender. By war’s end, approximately 11,000 Yeomen (F) served in the Navy [i]

17 March A German submarine sinks the steamship City of Memphis with gunfire, 35 miles south of Fastnet Rock, Ireland.[ii]

18 March A German submarine sinks the tanker Illinois with scutting charges in the English Channel, 20 miles north of Alderney, Channel Islands.[iii]

19 March The Navy Department issues orders for building 60 submarine chasers at the New York Navy Yard and four at the New Orleans Navy Yard.[iv]

20 March President Woodrow Wilson holds a cabinet meeting at the White House to discuss the issue of unrestricted submarine warfare by Germany.[v]

20 March H. J. W. Fay of the Submarine Signal Co. meets with the Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering about the establishment of an experimental station at Nahant, Massachusetts, for research into the detection of submarines. The meeting results in the bureau chief approaching the establishment of a station and suggests also inviting General Electric Co. and the Western Electric Co. to work there. The station is completed on 7 April.[vi]

21 March Loretta Perfectus Walsh becomes the first female Navy petty officer, sworn in as a

chief yeoman.[vii]

21 March The Navy Department issues orders with private shipyards for the construction of 41 submarine chasers.[viii]

21 March Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels issues confidential instructions regarding updates to Navy mobilization plans in the event of war.[ix]

21 March A German submarine torpedoes and sinks the tanker Healdton, killing 20, about 25 miles north of Terschelling, The Netherlands.[x]

22 March President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2554, allowing more than eight hours of labor in a day for workers under contract with the Navy Department in all navy yards and private establishments where “such suspension of the provisions of the law will result in hastening preparation to meet present emergency conditions.”[xi]

23 March President Woodrow Wilson issues a proclamation calling for a special session of Congress to meet 2 April to discuss submarine attacks and the European crisis.[xii]

______________

[i] Sweetman, American Naval History, 135; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 41; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 328–29.

[ii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 8; Department of State, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 1, 180.

[iii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 8; Department of State, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 1, 184.

[iv] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 302.

[v] Still, Crisis at Sea, 1; Daniels, Years of War and After, 22–24; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 30–31; Link, Campaign for Progressivism, 401–08.

[vi] Scott, Naval Consulting Board, 68, 74.

[vii] Susan H. Godson, Serving Proudly: A History of Women in the U.S. Navy (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2001), 60.

[viii] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 302.

[ix] Secretary of the Navy to assorted Commanders in Chief and Commandants about Mobilization Plan, 21 March 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 8; Doenecke, Nothing Less than War, 282; Department of State, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 1, 183.

[xi] Executive Order 2554, 22 March 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Doenecke, Nothing Less than War, 282.

[19]

23 March U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain Walter Hines Page cables Secretary of State Robert Lansing to convey that the British government would “fall in with any plan we propose as soon as cooperation can be formally established” regarding closer naval relations. Page adds, “Knowing their spirit and their methods I cannot too strongly recommend that our government send here immediately an admiral of our navy who will bring our navy’s plans and inquiries.”[i]

23 March The Bureau of Ordnance chief, Rear Admiral Ralph Earle, issues instructions on the amount of ammunition, small arms, and spare parts to be provided for Naval Armed Guards stationed aboard armed merchant ships.[ii]

24 March President Woodrow Wilson asks Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to establish confidential communications with the Royal Navy to work out a scheme of cooperation between U.S. and British fleets.[iii]

24 March The first Yale Unit of 29 men enlist in the Naval Reserve Flying Force and leave college on 28 March to begin military training at West Palm Beach, Florida. They are the first of several college groups to join up as a unit for war service.[iv]

24 March Captain William D. MacDougall, U.S. Naval Attaché in London, cables the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington to report on British antisubmarine warfare weaponry. He notes that the British “lack sufficient destroyers, so [they] convoy merchant ships out of port but require them to come in alone except troop ships. Force we send here will have everything done for it.”[v]

24 March President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2559, directing that the authorized enlisted strength of the Navy be increased to 87,000 men.[vi]

25 March The U.S. Atlantic Fleet is ordered to Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, from winter quarters at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.[vii]

26 March Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels orders Rear Admiral W. S. Sims to Washington, D.C., for a meeting with him.[viii]

26 March The Bureau of Navigation cables the Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet to place in full commission battleships Rhode Island (BB-17), Louisiana (BB-19), Alabama (BB-8), Nebraska (BB-14), North Dakota (BB-29), Minnesota (BB-22), and scout cruiser Birmingham (CS-2).[ix]

26 March The armed passenger liner St. Louis, with two 6-inch guns forward and one 6-inch gun aft, becomes the first armed American merchantman to carry arms to the European war zone, arriving in Liverpool, England.[x]

27 March The Navy Department approves the request from the Bureau of Ordnance to remove 38 3-inch, 50-caliber guns from cruisers and older battleships for installation on merchantmen.[xi]

28 March Rear Admiral W. S. Sims receives written orders “to carry out the confidential instructions which have been given you” in reference to verbal instructions from Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson.[xii]

______________

[i] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 36–37; cablegram from Walter H. Page to Robert Lansing, 23 March 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Ralph Earle to all Navy Yards, Commandant’s Naval Districts, Ammunition Depots, and selected commanding officers about ordnance material for Armed Guards on merchant ships, 23 March 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 36–38.

[iv] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 224; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 24.

[v] Cablegram from William D. MacDougall to Office of Naval Intelligence, Washington, DC, 24 March 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Executive Order 2559, 24 March 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Still, Crisis at Sea, 1.

[viii] W. S. Sims, The Victory at Sea (New York: Doubleday, Page and Co., 1921), 3–4; Still, Crisis at Sea, 1; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 38–39.

[ix] Radiogram from Bureau of Navigation to Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet, 26 March 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 41.

[xi] Ibid.

[xii] Elting E. Morison, Admiral Sims and the Modern American Navy (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1942), 338.

[20]

31 March Rear Admiral W. S. Sims and his aide, Commander John V. Babcock, secretly board the steamship New York under assumed names and sail for Liverpool, England.[i]

31 March The Navy Department places orders with private builders for 179 submarine chasers and order an additional 71 to be constructed at the Norfolk, Charleston, Mare Island, and Puget Sound Navy Yards.[ii]

31 March The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations telegrams the Commandant, Sixth Naval District requesting they take special precautions in cooperation with the Collectors of Customs “to see that refugee German vessels can neither escape nor be destroyed. When necessary have armed vessel on hand ready for action.”[iii]

31 March Commander Edward T. Pollock, commanding the transport Hancock (AP-3), arrives at St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and takes possession of the recently purchased territory and becomes its acting governor. The United States bought the territory from Denmark in part because of fears regarding German operations based from the islands.[iv]

1 April German submarine U-46 torpedoes and sinks the steamship Aztec off Ushant, France, killing 28 men, including Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class John I. Eopolucci of the Naval Armed Guard, the first member of the U.S. Navy killed in World War I. Aztec, having sailed on 17 March for Havre, France, is the first armed American merchant ship lost during the war.[v]

2 April A special joint session of Congress meets in the evening and President Woodrow Wilson delivers a war message, declaring that recent acts of the German Imperial government are tantamount to war, and therefore requests a war resolution.[vi]

2 April The Navy Departments orders the appointment of a Board of Appraisal under Captain Alexander S. Halstead to appraise and set values upon civilian vessels which the department considered acquiring by purchase or charter for military use.[vii]

3 April President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2571, authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury upon request of the Secretary of War or the Secretary of the Navy, to detail officers or employees of the Public Health Service for duty with either the Army or the Navy.[viii]

4 April German submarine U-35 stops and sinks the sailing vessel Marguerite off Sardinia.[ix]

4 April German submarine U-52 shells and sinks the steamer Missourian off Porto Maurizio, Italy.[x]

4 April Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels cables the commandant, Sixth Naval District, ordering him to “take no action on your own initiative with the German refugee ships or their personnel,” and to render all possible assistance to representatives of the Treasury Department or Department of Labor when requested.[xi]

4 April The Senate adopts a war resolution on a vote of 82 to 6.[xii]

_____________

[i] Sims, Victory at Sea, 4; Morison, Admiral Sims, 339.

[ii] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 302.

[iii] Telegram from the Office of Chief of Naval Operations to Commandant, 6th Naval District, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] DANFS, entry for Hancock, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/h/hancock-iii.html.

[v] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 8; Daniels, The Navy and the Nation, x; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 173–74; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 41.

[vi] Doenecke, Nothing Less than War, 289–90.

[vii] Beers, “Office of Naval Operations, Part II,” 29.

[viii] Executive Order 2571, 3 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 9.

[x] Ibid.

[xi] Telegram from Josephus Daniels to Commandant, 6th Naval District, 4 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Link, Campaign for Progressivism, 429–30.

[21]

5 April In a memorandum to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, the General Board of the U.S. Navy declares that “the mission of our Navy when war is declared against Germany will best be determined by arrangement with the Allied Powers now engaged in war with that country. We should immediately obtain from the Allied Powers their views as to how we can best be of assistance to them and as far as possible conform our preparations and acts to their present needs, always being in mind that should peace be made by the powers not at war we must also be prepared to meet our enemies single handed. We should not depend upon the defensive but prepare for and conduct a vigorous offensive.”[i]

5 April The Savage Arms Company of Utica, New York, manufacturing Lewis machine guns for the British military chambered in .303-caliber ammunition, test several chambered for .30-caliber ammunition at the urgent request of the Bureau of Ordnance. Following the successful tests, the Lewis MK VI machine gun is adopted as standard for the Navy, with the first contract for 3,500 placed with Savage Arms on 25 April.[ii]

5 April President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2584, establishing defensive sea areas and regulations for carrying into effect the executive order for selected areas of the U.S. coastline.[iii]

6 April The House of Representatives adopts a war resolution on a vote of 373 to 50. The United States declares war on Germany. The Navy has 197 commissioned ships, 4,376 regular officers, 877 reserve officers, 64,118 regular enlisted men, and 12,206 reservists.[iv]

6 April Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels orders the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets to mobilize for war in accordance with his confidential mobilization plan of 21 March.[v]

6 April The U.S. government seizes all German ships—totaling 90—then in American ports.[vi]

6 April President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2585, ordering that such radio stations required for naval communications within the jurisdiction of the United States shall be taken over by the federal government and used and controlled by it to the exclusion of any other control or use, and that those other radio stations not required may be closed for radio communication.[vii]

6 April Yeoman (F) 2nd Class Ella C. Leech joins the staff of the Bureau of Ordnance, becoming the bureau’s first female employee.[viii]

6 April U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain Walter H. Page cables Secretary of State Robert Lansing a memorandum received from British Foreign Secretary Arthur J. Balfour reporting on the needs of the Allies in Europe. “Without a doubt the most pressing need of the Allies at this moment is shipping,” opened Balfour, followed by financial support, locomotives and rolling stock, and military forces. For the Navy, the Foreign Secretary observed how “there seems so far as we can judge, to be no immediate sphere of employment for the American battle fleet, but the share which American cruisers could take in policing the Atlantic is of the greatest importance and all craft from destroyers downwards capable of dealing with submarines would be absolutely invaluable.”[ix]

________________

[i] Memorandum from Senior Member of the General Board to the Secretary of the Navy on “Assistance that United States can give Allies upon Declaration of War,” 5 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 70.

[iii] Executive Order 2584, 5 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Navy Department, Report of the Secretary of the Navy for Fiscal Year 1917 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1917), appendix; Doenecke, Nothing Less than War, 293–96; Link, Campaign for Progressivism, 430–31; Department of State, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 1, 207–08; Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 66; Proclamation by the President of the United States of America on the Existence of War with the German Empire, 6 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Daniels, Navy and the Nation, xi; Daniels, Years of War and After, 39; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 1–2; radiogram from Josephus Daniels to USS Pennsylvania, USS Minnesota, USS Seattle, USS Columbia, USS Vestal, 6 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 224; Larzelere, Coast Guard, 190–93.

[vii] Executive Order 2585, 6 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 24.

[ix] Cablegram from Walter H. Page to Robert Lansing, 6 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[22]

7 April The Navy Department assumes control of all wireless radio stations in the United States.[i]

7 April Executive Order 2587 directs the transfer of the U.S. Coast Guard from the Treasury Department to the operational control of the Navy.[ii]

7 April Sailors and Marines aboard the schooner Supply at Apra Harbor, Guam, sail out to capture the interned German auxiliary cruiser SMS Cormoran. After the German crew fails to heed requests to surrender and begin preparing to scuttle the ship, Corporal Michael B. Chockie, USMC, aboard the Supply, fires rifle shots across the bow—the first shots fired by the United States against Germany in World War I, and the only shots against Germany in the Pacific. Cormoran is scuttled with the loss of nine crew; those remaining are captured as prisoners of war.[iii]

7 April Gunboat Dolphin (PG-24), under destroyer escort, arrives in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, carrying Rear Admiral James Oliver to his post as the first presidentially appointed governor of the territory.[iv]

7 April German submarine U-52 shells and sinks the steamer Seward off Cap Bagur, France.[v]

7 April German submarine UC-25 stops and sinks the schooner Edwin R. Hunt off Cape de Gata, Spain.[vi]

8 April The U.S. government severs diplomatic ties with the Austro-Hungarian Empire.[vii]

9 April The steamship New York strikes a mine four miles off Bar Lightship, Liverpool, England, but is salvaged.[viii]

9 April Rear Admiral W. S. Sims, traveling under a pseudonym and in civilian clothing, arrives in Liverpool, England.[ix]

9 April The General Munitions Board of the Council of National Defense is created with F. A. Scott of the Warner-Swasey Company as its chairman.[x]

9 April The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations orders that all naval vessels not already painted in war color should be painted immediately.[xi]

9 April Admiral Henry T. Mayo, Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, writes Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels requesting if whether the title “United States Fleet” is the proper designation for the force established under his commander in regard to the mobilization plan of 21 March.[xii]

_______________

[i] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 224; Navy Department, History of the Bureau of Engineering, Navy Department, During the World War (Washington, DC: GPO, 1922), 111.

[ii] Adrian O. Van Wyen, Naval Aviation in World War I (Washington, DC: GPO, 1969), 8; Larzelere, Coast Guard, 9–10; Executive Order 2587, 7 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 224.

[iv] DANFS, entry for Dolphin IV (PG-24), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/d/dolphin-iv.html.

[v] Navy Department, Ship Causalities, 9.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Department of State, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 1, 594-95; Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 224.

[viii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 17.

[ix] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 224; Sims, Victory at Sea, 4; Morison, Admiral Sims, 341; Still, Crisis at Sea, 21; Senate Subcommittee on Naval Affairs, Naval Investigation Hearings, vol. I, 66th Cong., 2d sess., 1921: 2; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 40–41.

[x] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 29.

[xi] Radiogram from the Office of Naval Operations to USS Pennsylvania, USS Pittsburgh, USS Brooklyn, USS Tacoma, USS Machias, USS Dolphin, USS Des Moines, USS Charleston, 9 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Memorandum from Henry T. Mayo to Josephus Daniels about questions regarding organization of fleet after mobilization, 9 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[23]

10 April Rear Admiral W. S. Sims arrives in London and meets with First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Jellicoe.[i]

10–11 April British Admiral Sir Montague E. Browning and French Admiral R. A. Gasset arrive at Hampton Roads, Virginia, and in ensuing meetings with Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson request the dispatch of American destroyers to European waters.[ii]

11 April President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2588, whereby the Lighthouse Service transfers from Department of Commerce control to the command of the Navy. This transfers 46 steamers used as lighthouse tenders, 4 light vessels, and 21 light stations together with 1,132 personnel to the Navy.[iii]

11 April Steel armed yacht Scorpion (PY-3), on station at Constantinople, is interned by the Ottoman Empire following entry of the United States into World War I.[iv]

12 April The Office of the Naval Auxiliary Reserve is established in New York.[v]

13 April As the result of meetings between Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson and British Admiral Sir Montague E. Browning and French Admiral R. A. Gasset, the Navy agrees to send six destroyers to European waters in the immediate future, supervise the west coast of North America from the Canadian to Columbia boundaries, maintain the China Squadron for the present time, supervise Gulf of Mexico and Central America as far as the Columbia boundary thence to West Point, Jamaica, along north coast of Jamaica to the east point of the Virgin Islands, and send submarines to the Canadian coast in the event enemy submarines appear in those waters.[vi]

13 April President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2594, creating a Committee on Public Information, composed of the Secretary of State, Secretary of War, Secretary of the Navy, and a civilian executive director, George Creel.[vii]

14 April The Navy’s first guided missile effort commences when the Naval Consulting Board recommends to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels that $50,000 be apportioned to carry out experimental work on aerial torpedoes (unmanned, mechanically controlled aircraft carrying high explosives).[viii]

14 April Rear Admiral W. S. Sims cables Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels following his meeting with the First Sea Lord, writing that “The submarine issue is very much more serious than people realize in America. The recent success of operations and the rapidity of construction constitute the real crisis of the war.” Sims urges the deployment of destroyers, antisubmarine craft, and merchant tonnage to combat the submarine scourge.[ix]

14 April Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels writes Admiral Henry T. Mayo and clarifies that the title of the officer commanding the Atlantic Fleet shall remain “Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.”[x]

______________

[i] Sims, Victory at Sea, 5–11; Morison, Admiral Sims, 341–42; Senate Subcommittee on Naval Affairs, Naval Investigation Hearings, vol. I, 66th Cong., 2d sess., 1921: 2.

[ii] Still, Crisis at Sea, 380–81; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 45–49.

[iii] Executive Order 2588, 11 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL; Larzelere, Coast Guard, 167.

[iv] DANFS, entry for Scorpion IV (St. Yacht), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/scorpion-iv.html; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 362–63; Department of State, FRUS, 1917, Supplement 1, 601, 603–04.

[v] Clephane, Naval Overseas Transportation, 57.

[vi] Cablegram from Commander-in-Chief N.A. and W.I. to British Admiralty, 13 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Executive Order 2594, 13 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 8; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 24.

[ix] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 14 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL; Jerry W. Jones, U.S. Battleship Operations in World War I (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1998), 4; Morison, Admiral Sims, 345; Still, Crisis at Sea, 14–15; Senate Subcommittee on Naval Affairs, Naval Investigation Hearings, vol. I, 66th Cong., 2d sess., 1921: 29–30; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 41.

[x] Memorandum from Josephus Daniels to Henry T. Mayo about organization of fleet after mobilization, 14 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[24]

14 April Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels issues movement orders for Division Eight, Destroyer Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet to deploy to European waters, “to assist naval operations of Entente Powers in every way possible” and proceed to Queenstown, Ireland.[i]

14 April President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2597, establishing a defensive sea area at the York River.[ii]

15 April Bureau of Ordnance publishes a memorandum proposing protection of merchant vessels by means of torpedo blisters and of establishing antisubmarine mine barrages enclosing the North Sea and the Adriatic.[iii]

16 April Rear Admiral W. S. Sims cables Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels advising that any destroyer or patrol forces sent to European waters not be based on the French coast but “as far to westward as practicable preferably south coast Ireland to operate principally in designated high sea area in zone to westward and southward which is present critical area.”[iv]

16 April The United States Shipping Board organizes in the District of Columbia the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation with capital stock of $50 million to oversee the board’s construction program.[v]

17 April The Bureau of Ordnance cables Rear Admiral W. S. Sims directing him to report on practicability of efficiently blockading the German coast to make ingress and egress of submarines practically impossible.[vi]

17 April Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels appoints a Commission on Training Activities (later to merge with a similar Army commission) to coordinate the activities of various organizations that dealt with servicemen such as the Young Men’s Christian Association, the Young Women’s Christian Association, Knights of Columbus, and the Salvation Army.[vii]

18 April Rear Admiral W. S. Sims cables Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, writing how “The destroyer has shown itself to be by far the most efficient enemy of submarines operating against commerce,” urging the secretary to “send immediately every destroyer capable of reaching Ireland” and adds that “we should adopt present British methods and base further developments only upon actual experience in cooperation with them.” In a second cable to Secretary Daniels, Sims reemphasizes that communications and supplies to all forces on all fronts are threatened and that “‘Command of the Sea’ is actually at stake.”[viii]

19 April Sailors aboard the armed steamship Mongolia (ID-1615) engage and drive off a U-boat with a 6-inch gun—No. 263, nicknamed “Teddy”—seven miles southeast of Beachy Head in the English Channel. These are the first shots by the Navy against Germany in the Atlantic.[ix]

20 April The Navy’s first airship, DN-1, makes its first, albeit unsatisfactory, flight at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.[x] 

20 April Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels cables Rear Admiral W. S. Sims requesting immediate and full information concerning British naval aviation, including descriptions of aircraft types employed and tactics that had proven most successful over water, on coastal patrol, and searching for submarines.[xi]

________________

[i] Josephus Daniels to Commander, Eighth Division, Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, USS Wadsworth, about projection of commerce near the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland, 14 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL; Joseph K. Taussig, The Queenstown Patrol, 1917: The Diary of Commander Joseph Knefler Taussig, U.S. Navy, ed. William N. Still Jr. (Newport, RI: Naval War College Press, 1996), 15–16; Still, Crisis at Sea, 165; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 53–54.  Josephus Daniels, The Wilson Era: Years of War and After, 19171923 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1946), 71–73.

[ii] Executive Order 2597, 14 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Navy Department, Office of Naval Records and Library, Historical Section, The Northern Barrage and Other Mining Activities (Washington, DC: GPO, 1920), 12–13; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 43–44.

[iv] Cablegram from Walter H. Page to Robert Lansing for W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 16 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Scott, Naval Consulting Board, 85–86.

[vi] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 13; Morison, Admiral Sims, 347; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 44.

[vii] Still, Crisis at Sea, 249.

[viii] Cablegram from Walter H. Page to Robert Lansing for W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 18 April 1917; W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 18 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL; Senate Subcommittee on Naval Affairs, Naval Investigation Hearings, vol. I, 66th Cong., 2d sess., 1921: 39.

[ix] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 269; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 174.

[x] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 8; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 24.

[xi] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, 20 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[25]

20 April The Ottoman Empire breaks diplomatic relations with the United States.[i]

21 April The Bureau of Yards and Docks awards a contract for construction of a U.S. Marine Corps training camp at Parris Island, South Carolina.[ii]

21 April Office of the Chief of Naval Operations radios the governor of Guam and directs him to transfer all German prisoners of war (from the auxiliary cruiser Cormoran) to the United States under the custody of the Army.[iii]

22 April Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels cables Rear Admiral W. S. Sims and requests he confer with the British Admiralty and wire his recommendations as to a Russian request for the Navy to send four patrol vessels and four destroyers for the defense of the Russian arctic coast.[iv]

22 April German submarine U-43 sinks the schooner Woodward Abrahams with scuttling charges, 407 miles west of Fastnet, Ireland.[v]

22 April An enemy submarine sinks the schooner Percy Birdsall with gunfire in the Bay of Biscay, approximately 26 miles south from Cordouan Light, France.[vi]

22 April Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson cables Rear Admiral W. S. Sims news to relay to the Allies that the United States has six destroyers ready to sail upon receiving information as to desired port and best route to follow as they approached the Irish coast.[vii]

24 April Division Eight, Destroyer Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet under command of Commander Joseph T. Taussig departs Boston for Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland. The division consists of Wadsworth (DD-60) (Taussig), Conyingham (DD-58), Porter (DD-59), McDougal (DD-54), Davis (DD-65), and Wainwright (DD-62).[viii]

24 April Admiral Henry T. Mayo issues orders to the Battleship Forces (Battleship Divisions Five, Six, Seven, and Eight), which dictated that the fleet would furnish crews of seven to ten men each to man guns on those merchant vessels being armed.[ix]

24 April Rear Admiral W. S. Sims cables Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, reporting the Admiralty’s ability to maintain “fairly exact” information about the location of German U-boats. Sims emphasizes “All the [British] destroyers that can be freed from duty with the fleet are being employed.” He comments how “I believe our Navy has an opportunity for glorious distinction and I seriously recommend that there be sent at once maximum possible number [of] destroyers.”[x] 

24 April A committee appointed by Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels for determining the location of a naval armor plant selects Charleston, West Virginia, as the site for construction of the South Charleston Naval Ordnance and Amor Plant which will provide guns, armor, and armor-piercing projectiles for the Navy. The land deeds will be received on 4 June and the first heat of steel in the projectile plant will be poured on 8 June 1918.[xi]

________________

[i] U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1917, Supplement 1, The World War (Washington, DC: GPO, 1931), 598–603.

[ii] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 94.

[iii] Radiogram from OPNAV to Governor of Guam, 21 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, 22 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 9.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 22 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL; Still, Crisis at Sea, 15, 382.

[viii] Joseph K. Taussig, The Queenstown Patrol, 1917: The Diary of Commander Joseph Knefler Taussig, U.S. Navy, ed. William N. Still, Jr. (Newport, RI: Naval War College Press, 1996), 14–15; cablegram from Josephus Daniels to William D. MacDougall, 24 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Besch, “Navy Second to None,” 337.

[x] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 24 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL. Emphasis in original.

[xi] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 258–59; Justin Salisbury, “Renders Obsolete: History of the South Charleston Naval Ordnance and Armor Plant” West Virginia Historical Society 20, no. 2 (April 2006), 1–10.

[26]

25 April During a British War Cabinet meeting in London, Rear Admiral W. S. Sims urges the adoption of the convoy system to defeat the U-boat threat.[i]

25 April U.S. Naval Attaché in Paris Lieutenant Commander William R. Sayles meets with Rear Admiral W. S. Sims in London. The men agree that military necessity demands an immediate centralization of all recommendations of policy made to the Navy Department from European powers, and of the need for immediate concerted action to combat the growing submarine menace. Sayles agrees that Sims take responsibility “without reference to the [Navy] Department” with the French Ministry of Marine.[ii]

25 April Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson issues policy to the Bureaus of Ordnance, Construction and Repair, and Navigation as to the requisition of guns from warships for the arming of merchant vessels.[iii]

26 April The Bureau of Yards and Docks receives authorization to construct a receiving camp for 1,000 men at the Charleston (South Carolina) Navy Yard. Ground is broken on 30 April, and the camp is completed on 8 June 1917.[iv]

26 April The Bureau of Ordnance receives authority from the Navy Department to remove 124 3-inch, 50-caliber; 12 4-inch, 40-caliber; 12 5-inch, 50-caliber; and 36 6-inch, 50-caliber guns and mounts from the least advantageous locations on battleships and cruisers for installation on merchantmen.[v]

27 April Captain William D. MacDougall, U.S. Naval Attaché in London, wires the Office of Naval Intelligence that Admiralty experiments have established how California sea lions can accurately locate the sound of submarines, with “the procuring of additional animals recommended as urgently required here.”[vi]

27 April German submarine U-33 burns and sinks the schooner Margaret B. Rouss about 42 miles due south of Monaco.[vii]

28 April The General Board of the U.S. Navy informs Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels that U-boat success could lead to the defeat of the Allies and that the United States must deploy as many patrol craft as possible to European waters.[viii]

28 April The Bureau of Ordnance receives authorization for the removal of an additional 180 3-inch, 50-caliber guns from warships for arming merchantmen.[ix]

28 April President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2604, prohibiting all companies or individuals controlling or operating telegraph and telephone lines, or submarine cables from transmitting or receiving messages to or from the United States except under rules and regulations established by the Secretary of War for telegraph and telephone lines and by the Secretary of the Navy for submarine cables.[x]

_______________

[i] Jones, Battleship Operations, 5.

[ii] Cablegram from William R. Sayles to Josephus Daniels, 28 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Memorandum from William S. Benson to Chiefs of Bureaus of Ordnance, Construction and Repair, and Navigation, about requisition of guns, 25 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 70.

[v] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 42.

[vi] Cablegram from William D. MacDougall to Office of Naval Intelligence, Washington, DC, 27 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 9.

[viii] Still, Crisis at Sea, 379.

[ix] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 42.

[x] Executive Order 2604, 28 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[27]

28 April The Navy acquires the yacht Kanawha II (SP-130) from John Borden and commissions the ship on the same day, with Lieutenant Commander John Borden commanding.[i]

28 April The German submarine U-21 torpedoes and sinks the tanker Vacuum, killing 24 men, about 120 miles west of Barra Island, Hebrides, Scotland. One of the dead is Lieutenant Clarence C. Thomas, the first naval officer killed in action in World War I.[ii]

28 April The Navy Department cables Rear Admiral W. S. Sims to assume command of all destroyer forces operating from British bases including tenders and auxiliaries. The following day, Sims acknowledges the orders and requests the detail of several officers for a staff to help him fulfill his duties.[iii]

29 April Captain William D. MacDougall, U.S. Naval Attaché in London, cables Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels via the Office of Naval Intelligence urging the Navy to send four big tugs immediately to salvage torpedoed ships and tow sailing vessels.[iv]

30 April The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations orders 24 destroyers to their home navy yards to be fitted out for distant service “at the earliest practicable date.”[v]

30 April Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels appoints Captain D. W. Todd as Chief Cable Censor to censor messages transmitted over cables touching the territory of the United States or the Republic of Panama, except in the Philippines. This is done in accordance with Executive Order 2604. Trans-Atlantic cables will be included beginning on the night of 25–26 July.[vi]

1 May Rear Admiral W. S. Sims cables Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, writing “British Admiralty has decided to give trial to the convoy scheme. . . . Instead of present plan of naval forces operating independently against raiders, there will be a high sea convoy against raiders, such convoy to be established as quickly as possible on all main trade routes, and an approach to dangerous areas on this side will be met by destroyers and escorted into port.”[vii]

1 May A plan for development of the Philadelphia Navy Yard is approved by Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels.[viii]

1 May The German submarine U-45 torpedoes and sinks the steamship Rockingham about 150 miles west-northwest of Ireland, killing two.[ix]

1 May The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations organizes destroyer forces for distant service by designating Destroyer Division Seven as the Rowan (DD-64) (flagship), Ericsson (DD-56), Winslow (DD-53), Jacob Jones (DD-61), Cassin (DD-43), and Tucker (DD-57); Destroyer Division Six as Cushing (DD-55) (flagship), Benham (DD-49), O’Brien (DD-51), Nicholson (DD-52), Cummings (DD-44), and Sampson (DD-63). Division Seven is ordered to be ready and assembled at Boston, Massachusetts for sea duty by 5 May, and Division Six assembled at New York for sea duty by 10 May.[x]

________________

[i] DANFS, entry for Piqua I (SP-130), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/p/piqua-i.html.

[ii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 9; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 174.

[iii] Morison, Admiral Sims, 365; Still, Crisis at Sea, 25; cablegram from Josephus Daniels to William D. MacDougall, 28 April 1917; cablegram from Walter H. Page to Robert Lansing for W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 30 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Cablegram from William D. MacDougall to Office of Naval Intelligence for Josephus Daniels, 29 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Radiogram from OPNAV to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Norfolk, and Charleston Navy Yards, 30 April 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Beers, “Office of Naval Operations, Part II,” 26–27.

[vii] Morison, Admiral Sims, 350; cablegram from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 1 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 131.

[ix] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 9.

[x] Radiogram from OPNAV to USS Pennsylvania, USS Seattle, USS Rowan, and USS Cushing, 1 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[28]

3 May The General Board of the U.S. Navy recommends the immediate dispatch of 36 destroyers and a tender to Europe and an additional 100 antisubmarine warfare vessels as soon as possible.[i]

3 May The Bureau of Yards and Docks requests to construct a receiving camp for an additional 5,000 men at the Charleston Navy Yard, South Carolina.[ii]

3 May Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson issues guidance to all commanders of Naval Armed Guard detachments as to inspections and preparations for the armament and the guard members prior to sailing.[iii]

4 May Division Eight, Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet arrives at Queenstown, Ireland; that evening, Commander Taussig paid call on British Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, commander, Western Approaches. Over dinner, Bayly asked Taussig when his flotilla would be ready, and as popular legend has it, Taussig replied “We are ready now, Sir.”[iv]

5 May Secretary of War Newton D. Baker agreed to a proposal of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels that a joint board be established for the purpose of standardizing the design and specifications of aircraft. The subsequently established board was originally titled “Joint Technical Board on Aircraft, Except Zeppelins.”[v]

5 May Rear Admiral W. S. Sims cables the Navy Department from Paris to report that relations with the French Navy Department are very satisfactory and that in a conference with the French Navy Minister, French Navy Chief of Staff, French Attaché, British Attaché, and First Sea Lord, all unanimously agreed that the American destroyer force remain concentrated and attack enemy submarines “in whatever area they may be operating in greatest numbers.”[vi]

5 May Destroyer Division Seven, composed of the destroyers Ericsson (DD-56), Winslow (DD-53), Rowan (DD-64), Cassin (DD-43), Jacob Jones (DD-61) and Tucker (DD-57), sails from Boston, Massachusetts, for Queenstown, Ireland.[vii]

6 May Wilmington (PG-8) on the Yangtze River makes steam and heads to the Philippines prior to the Chinese government ordering her to leave Chinese ports or be seized. Lieutenant H. Delano takes command of the gunboats Monocacy (PG-20), Palos (PG-16), Samar (PG-41), Quiros (PG-40), and Villalobos (PG-42) and turns their breech blocks over to the U.S. consul general at Shanghai, neutralizing the guns aboard the vessels.[viii]

6 May Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels authorizes Allied vessels visiting American waters to obtain stores on current contract or from naval bases.[ix]

7 May The Navy Department directs that all naval auxiliaries be placed on full naval status.[x]

7 May The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations organizes destroyers fitting out for distance service to designated divisions. For Destroyer Division Four: Allen (DD-66), Jarvis (DD-38), Fanning (DD-37), McCall (DD-28), Terry (DD-25), and Perkins (DD-26). For Destroyer Division Five: Patterson (DD-36), Paulding (DD-22), Warrington (DD-30), Trippe (DD-33), Jenkins (DD-42), and Drayton (DD-23). For Destroyer Division Nine: Aylwin (DD-47), Parker (DD-48), Wilkes (DD-67), Balch (DD-50), Ammen (DD-35), and Burrows (DD-29). The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations orders Division Five to depart from Boston, Massachusetts, on 21 May, Division Four from New York on 23 May, and Division Nine from New York on 1 June.[xi]

________________

[i] Still, Crisis at Sea, 17.

[ii] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 70.

[iii] Memorandum from William S. Benson to Commanding Armed Guard via Commandant for all Navy Yards on “Instructions,” 3 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Taussig, Queenstown Patrol, 19–21, 188n84; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 54–55; cablegram from Admiralty to Josephus Daniels, 4 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 8; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 25.

[vi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Navy Department, 5 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Cablegram from French Naval Attaché, Washington to General Staff, 6 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] A. B. Feuer, The U.S. Navy in World War I: Combat at Sea and in the Air (Westport, CT: Prager, 1999), 115; Senate Subcommittee on Naval Affairs, Naval Investigation Hearings, vol. I, 66th Cong., 2d sess., 1921: 44; Kemp Tolley, Yangtze Patrol: The U.S. Navy in China (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1971), 79–80.

[ix] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, 6 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Clephane, Naval Overseas Transportation, 6; Larzelere, Coast Guard, 197.

[xi] Radiogram from OPNAV to Boston and Norfolk Navy Yards, 7 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[29]

7 May Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels cables Rear Admiral W. S. Sims requesting his advice in response to a French Government request for the Navy to establish temporary bases at Bordeaux and Brest, France. Based on Sims’ recommendations, he also announced the intention to establish U.S. naval bases at both locations. Sims replies the following day that bases at Brest and Bordeaux are “very desirable but should not divert in any way necessary repair supply and fuel vessels from mobile destroyer base.”[i]

8 May Destroyers Wadsworth (DD-60) and McDougal (DD-54) commence first U.S. combat patrol operations in European waters during World War I.[ii]

9 May Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels directs Captain William D. MacDougall, U.S. Naval Attaché in London, to request of the Admiralty detailed working plans of the captive paravane to enable American production.[iii]

9 May To improve closer cooperation between the three companies working at Nahant, Massachusetts, and the Navy Department, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels calls a conference which results in him appointing a Special Board on Anti-Submarine Devices. Two days later, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels appoints Rear Admiral Albert W. Grant as senior member of the board, together with Commanders C. S. McDowell and M. A. Libbey. The board is tasked with the purpose “of procuring, either through original research, experiment, and manufacture, or through the development of ideas and devices submitted by inventors at large, suitable apparatus for both offensive and defensive operations against submarines.”[iv]

10 May Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels orders the Commandants of the Fourth and Fifth Naval Districts to immediately purchase “all fishing vessels inspected and found able to cross Atlantic. Lease all other fishing vessels suitable for district work.”[v]

10 May The steam yacht Noma, acquired from Vincent Astor, commissions as the armed yacht Noma (SP-131) under command of Lieutenant Commander Lamar Richard Leahy.[vi]

10 May The steel-hulled yacht Wacouta, leased to the Navy by G. F. Baker on 23 April, is renamed and commissioned as the armed yacht Harvard (SP-209), with Lieutenant A. G. Sterling in command.[vii]

11 May The destroyer Davis (DD-65) recovers 22 survivors from the sunken British bark Killarney.[viii]

11 May Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels appoints a Special Board on Antisubmarine Devices, for the purpose of procuring, either through original research, experiment, and manufacture, or through the development of ideas and devices submitted by inventors at large, suitable apparatus for both offensive and defensive operations against submarines.[ix]

________________

[i] Senate Subcommittee on Naval Affairs, Naval Investigation Hearings, vol. I, 66th Cong., 2d sess., 1921: 6; cablegram from Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, 7 May 1917; cablegram from W. S. Sims to Navy Department, 8 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Taussig, Queenstown Patrol, 28–30; Still, Crisis at Sea, 335.

[iii] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to William D. MacDougall, 9 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Scott, Naval Consulting Board, 75; Navy Department, Engineering, 48–49.

[v] Telegram from Josephus Daniels to Commandants, Fourth and Fifth Naval Districts, 10 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Feuer, Navy in World War I, 25; DANFS, entry for Noma (S.P. 131), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/n/noma.html.

[vii] DANFS, entry for Harvard II (SP-209), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/h/harvard-ii.html.

[viii] DANFS, entry for Davis II (Destroyer No. 65), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/d/davis-ii.html.

[ix] Navy Department, Engineering, 49.

[30]

11 May Yacht Aphrodite owned by Colonel O. H. Payne of New York is acquired and commissioned by the Navy as the armed yacht Aphrodite (SP-135), with Lieutenant Commander Ralph P. Craft, commanding.[i]

11 May Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels cables Rear Admiral W. S. Sims requesting that he consult with the Admiralty about establishing a barrier using mines, nets, and patrols across the North Sea, Norway, and Scotland, either directly or via the Shetland Islands, to prevent the egress of submarines.[ii]

11 May Destroyer tender Melville (AD-2) sails from Boston, Massachusetts, for Queenstown, Ireland.[iii]

11 May After Guatemala breaks diplomatic relations with Germany on 27 April, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels cables the armored cruiser Pittsburgh (CA-4) and requests that the ship “stop long enough en route to call on President of Guatemala in order to show the good-will of United States and encourage friendly relations.” [iv]

12 May The Bureau of Yards and Docks requests to erect a naval training camp at the Puget Sound (Washington) Navy Yard for 5,000 men.[v]

12 May Congressional Public Resolution 2 (Senate Joint Resolution 42) authorizes the President “to seize for the United States the possession and title of any vessel within its jurisdiction which at the time of coming therein was owned in whole or in part by any corporation, citizen, or subject of any nation with which the United States may be at war, or was under register of any such nation. . . .” The resolution further authorizes the Secretary of the Navy to appoint a board of survey to ascertain the actual value of the vessels, their equipment, appurtenances, and all property aboard at the time of seizure and report the findings to the Navy Secretary as evidence for any claims for compensation.[vi]

13 May Admiral Sir Alexander Duff, Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff of the Admiralty, writes to the Naval Attaché in Washington, D.C., Admiral Dudley de Chair, that the Admiralty considers the proposed American project to close the exit to the North Sea to enemy submarines by mine barrage impracticable, but that “the proposal to send over all small craft suitable for patrol work would if adopted prove of the very greatest value.”[vii]

14 May Rear Admiral W. S. Sims reports to Bureau of Ordnance that “bitter and extensive experience has forced the abandonment of any serious attempt at blocking” submarines passages in the North Sea.[viii]

14 May President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2619A, ordering the Secretary of the Navy to take possession, title of, and operate for the United States, the German vessel Odenwald and cargo ship Präsident in the harbor of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Präsident was renamed USS Kittery (AK-2).[ix]

_______________

[i] DANFS, entry for Aphrodite (S.P. 135), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/a/aphrodite.html.

[ii] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, 11 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, 9 May 1917; Memorandum from Josephus Daniels to Commander, Division Five, Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, USS Patterson, Flagboat, about protection of commerce near British and French coasts, 18 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Radiogram from Josephus Daniels to USS Pittsburgh, Flag, 11 May 1917; J. H. Quinan to E. A. Anderson, 11 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 79.

[vi] Joint Resolution Authorizing the President to Seize Vessels of Enemy Aliens, Public Resolution 65-2, U.S. Statutes at Large 40 (1917), 75.

[vii] Telegram from Alexander Duff to Dudley de Chair, 13 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 14; cablegram from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 14 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Executive Order 2619A, 14 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[31]

15 May J. P. Morgan’s private yacht, Corsair III, is chartered by the Navy and commissioned as armed yacht Corsair (SP-159) with Lieutenant Commander T. A. Kittinger in command.[i]

15 May Destroyer Division Six sails from New York for Queenstown, Ireland, via Halifax, Nova Scotia.[ii]

16 May The Aircraft Production Board is established by resolution of the Council of National

Defense, as a subsidiary agency to act in an advisory capacity on questions of aircraft production and procurement; on 1 October, Congress transferred control of the board to the War and Navy Departments.[iii]

16 May Destroyer Division Seven reports an attempted torpedo attack on either destroyers Ericsson (DD-56) or Jacob Jones (DD-61) in the Western Approaches. The alleged attack is unsuccessful and the destroyers continue to Queenstown, Ireland.[iv]

16 May An enemy submarine torpedoes and sinks the steamship Hilonian, three miles off Albenga, Italy, 30 miles from Genoa, killing four men and injuring three.[v]

16 May Rear Admiral W. S. Sims writes Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson and requests the establishment of a liaison service composed of two officers representing the Bureaus of Operations, Ordnance, Steam Engineering, Construction and Repair, Supplies and Accounts, Medicine and Surgery, and Aeronautics. These men are to be detailed for placement in the Admiralty, the Grand Fleet, or in shipbuilding plants to study and observe their foreign counterparts. Sims contends that “We have now the opportunity to obtain and apply directly the lessons of three years of warfare which these people have had to work out with blood and often bitter disappointment.”[vi]

17 May Destroyer Division Seven arrives in Queenstown, Ireland.[vii]

17 May Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson requests the purchase of 50 aircraft machine guns synchronized to fire through propellers and 50 for all-around fire.[viii]

17 May Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson informs the British Embassy in Washington that the Navy Department is prepared to supply 20 4- or 5-inch guns with 150 rounds per gun to the British government for use aboard merchant vessels during the next two months as need arises.[ix]

17 May Destroyer Division Six sails from Halifax, Nova Scotia, for Queenstown, Ireland.[x]

18 May Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels issues orders to Commander, Destroyer Division Five to “assist the naval operations of the Entente Powers in every possible way,” sailing from St. John’s, Newfoundland, and proceeding to Queenstown, Ireland.[xi]

18 May German submarine UC-73 using scuttling charges bombs and burns the schooner Francis M. off Spain.[xii]

______________

[i] Ralph D. Paine, The Corsair in the War Zone (n.p.: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1920), 21.

[ii] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 58; cablegram from British Naval Attaché, Washington to Admiralty, 11 May 1917; Memorandum from Josephus Daniels to Commander, Division Five, Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, USS Patterson, Flagboat, about protection of commerce near British and French coasts, 18 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 9; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 25.

[iv] DANFS, entry for Ericsson II (Destroyer No. 56), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/e/ericsson-ii.html; DANFS, entry for Jacob Jones I (Destroyer No. 61), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/j/jacob-jones-i.html.

[v] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 9.

[vi] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on “Information re Naval War Experience – Establishment Liaison Service,” 16 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Taussig, Queenstown Patrol, 37–38; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 56; Daniels, Years of War and After, 75.

[viii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 9; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 25.

[ix] William S. Benson to Guy Gaunt, 17 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to William D. MacDougall, 19 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Memorandum from Josephus Daniels to Commander, Division Five, Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, USS Patterson, Flagboat, about protection of commerce near British and French coasts, 18 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 9.

[32]

19 May The first U.S. national insignia for aircraft is described in a general order and ordered placed on all naval aircraft. The design calls for a red disc within a white star on a blue circular field, and for red, white, and blue vertical bands on the rudder, with the blue forward.[i]

19 May Seven student aviators comprising the Harvard Unit, with Lieutenant H. B. Cecil in charge, report to the Curtiss Field at Newport News, Virginia, for flight instruction.[ii]

19 May Destroyer Division Nine arrives in Queenstown, Ireland, after an uninterrupted passage.[iii]

19 May Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly addresses the commanding officers of the U.S. destroyers under his command at Queenstown, Ireland. He announces that on 21 May the destroyers will head out on war patrols and passes on guidance to the American officers. Cognizant of the dangers, Bayly emphasizes that “When you pass beyond the defenses of the harbor you face death, and live in danger of death until you return behind such defenses. You must presume from the moment you pass out that you are seen by a submarine and that at no time until you return can you be sure that you are not being watched. You may proceed safely, and may grow careless in your watching; but, let me impress upon you the fact that if you do relax for a moment, if you cease to be vigilant, then you will find yourself destroyed, your vessel sunk, your men drowned.”[iv]

20 May About 200 miles out of New York, an Armed Guard aboard the steamship Mongolia (ID-1615) starts firing the 6-inch gun for target practice. On the third shot, the gun’s brass mouth cup flies in an unexpected direction and strikes a stanchion near several Red Cross nurses, killing two of them and wounding a third.[v]

21 May The Admiralty votes to adopt the convoy system for all merchant shipping one day after an experimental convoy safely reaches England from Gibraltar.[vi]

21 May Destroyer Division Five sails from Boston, Massachusetts, for European waters.[vii]

21 May Destroyer Ericsson (DD-56), while on patrol in the Western Approaches out of Queenstown, Ireland, sights a German submarine running on the surface engaging two sailing vessels, a Russian and a Norwegian, with its deck gun. Ericsson closes on the submarine and opens fire. It lets loose a torpedo against the aggressor at 7,000 yards. This is the first U.S. torpedo fired at the enemy during World War I. Seeing the destroyer’s approach, the submarine dives below the waves and sinks both sailing vessels with torpedo fire of its own. Ericsson searches for the U-boat but can not locate it and then proceeds to pick up the surviving crew of the sunken vessels. It disembarks the survivors at Queenstown and returns to her patrol.[viii]

21 May Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels informs the French Government that the Navy Department would send ten or more yachts for service against enemy submarines off the coast of France, to leave American waters around 1 June.[ix]

21 May Destroyer Division Nine joins Division Eight on sea patrols off Queenstown, Ireland.[x]

_______________

[i] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 9; Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 225; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 25.

[ii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 9.

[iii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 19 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to Destroyer Force, on “Address delivered by Vice Admiral Lewis Bayly, R.N.,” 26 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 81.

[vi] Senate Subcommittee on Naval Affairs, Naval Investigation Hearings, vol. I, 66th Cong., 2d sess., 1921: 356; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 123.

[vii] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 58.

[viii] DANFS, entry for Ericsson II (Destroyer No. 56), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/e/ericsson-ii.html.

[ix] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to William R. Sayles, 21 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 21 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[33]

21 May Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson orders the chiefs of the Bureaus of Navigation, Ordnance, Construction and Repair, Steam Engineering, Supplies and Accounts, and Hydrographic Office to make immediate preparations for the departure of a convoy of 24 troop transports on a date to be designated.[i]

21 May Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson informs Admiral Henry T. Mayo that submarine nets will be planted in the defense of Long Island, New York, under the purview of the Commandant of the Third Naval District.[ii]

22 May Destroyer tender Melville (AD-2) arrives in Queenstown, Ireland, becoming the first auxiliary ship to reach the war zone.[iii]

22 May The French Ministry of Marine requests on behalf of the French government that the U.S. government issue identification cards to the crews of all U.S. ships to help prevent enemy agents from infiltrating onto French soil or from conducting espionage operations.[iv]

22 May Congress authorizes friendly aliens enrolling in the Naval Reserve Force who are “subject to the condition that they may be discharged from such enrollment at any time within the discretion of  the Secretary of the Navy” may under existing law become citizens of the United States and who render honorable service in the Naval Reserve Force in time of war for a period of not less than one year may become citizens of the United States without proof of residence on shore and without further requirement than proof of good moral character and honorable discharge.[v]

22 May Congress passes legislation authorizing the enlisted strength of the Navy to be increased from 87,000 to 150,000, including 4,000 additional apprentice seamen.[vi]

22 May President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2625, requesting the Secretary of the Treasury to transfer the seized German vessels Hohenfelde, Frieda Leonhardt, Nicaria, Kiel, Rudolf Blumberg, Vogesen, Breslau, and Saxonia to the Navy for use as colliers and cargo carriers.[vii]

23 May The initial production program to equip the Navy with the aircraft necessary for war is recommended by the Joint Technical Board on Aircraft. The program comprises 300 school machines, 200 service seaplanes, 100 speed scouts, and 100 large seaplanes.[viii]

23 May Destroyer Division Four departs from New York for European waters.[ix]

23 May An enemy submarine shells and sinks the schooner Harwood Palmer in the Bay of Biscay, six miles southwest of Le Blanche Island, near Basse-Loire, France.[x]

24 May The first Atlantic convoy departs from Hampton Roads, Virginia, escorted by Royal Navy warships.[xi]

______________

[i] Memorandum from William S. Benson to Chiefs of Bureaus of Navigation, Ordnance, Construction and Repair, Steam Engineering, Supplies and Accounts, Hydrographic Office, and Convoy Commander about convoy, 21 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Memorandum from William S. Benson to William T. Mayo, 21 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Still, Crisis at Sea, 156; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 56; Daniels, Years of War and After, 75; cablegram from Williams S. Sim to Josephus Daniels, 24 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Cablegram from William R. Sayles to Josephus Daniels, 22 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[v] An Act to amend an Act entitled “An Act making appropriations for the naval service for the fiscal year ending June thirteenth, nineteen hundred and seventeen, and for other purposes,” relative to the enrollments in the Naval Reserve Force, Public Law 65-15, U.S. Statutes at Large 40 (1917): 84.

[vi] An Act to temporarily increase the commissioned and warrant and enlisted strength of the Navy and Marine Corps, and for other purposes, Public Law 65-17, U.S. Statutes at Large 40 (1917): 84.

[vii] Executive Order 2625, 22 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 9; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 26.

[ix] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 58.

[x] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 9.

[xi] Still, Crisis at Sea, 346.

[34]

24 May The German submarine UC-73 burns and sinks the schooner Barbara, 90 miles west of Gibraltar.[i]

25 May Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels approves the plan for development of the Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton, Washington.[ii]

25 May The German submarine UC-73 shells and sinks the schooner Magnus Manson 50 miles west by south of Cape Vincent, Portugal.[iii]

26 May Rear Admiral W. S. Sims receives temporary promotion to vice admiral.[iv]

26 May Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves, Commander Destroyer Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, reports to the Navy Department in Washington, D.C., and is designated as Commander U.S. Convoy Operations in the Atlantic, with directions to organize and escort the first American Expeditionary Force to France.[v]

27 May President Woodrow Wilson approves regulations providing for the handling of troop convoys, previously approved by the War and Navy Departments.[vi]

27 May Sultana, a steam yacht loaned to the Navy by Mrs. E. H. Harriman of New York, is commissioned as the armed yacht Sultana (SP-134), Lieutenant E. G. Allen commanding.[vii]

28 May The Navy commissions the armed yacht Vedette (SP-163), a steel-hulled steam yacht acquired from Frederick W. Vanderbilt on 4 May, with Lieutenant Commander Chester L. Hand in command.[viii]

28 May Naval personnel arrive at Bumkin Island, Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, and begin preparing a summer children’s hospital for conversion into a naval training camp to open in November.[ix]

28 May Passenger liner RMS Baltic sails from New York with a naval escort for Liverpool, England, with Major General John J. Pershing and his staff aboard.[x]

28 May The oiler Maumee (AO-2) refuels six destroyers in the North Atlantic, the first fueling underway in U.S. Navy history. Lieutenant Commander Chester W. Nimitz was then serving as the Maumee’s chief engineer and executive officer.[xi]

28 May The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations assigns Destroyer Divisions Four and Nine to Destroyer Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet and orders them held in readiness at navy yards for distant service.[xii]

29 May A contract is reached with the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Akron, Ohio, to train 20 men in the operation of lighter-than-air craft.[xiii]

_______________

[i] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 9.

[ii] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 132.

[iii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 9.

[iv] Morison, Admiral Sims, 365; Still, Crisis at Sea, 27; telegram from William D. MacDougall to W. S. Sims, 26 May 1917; letter from Woodrow Wilson to W. S. Sims, 26 May 1917,  Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Memorandum from Albert Gleaves to Henry T. Mayo, on report of convoy of first U.S. Expeditionary Force to France, 24 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Document titled “Naval Convoy of Military Expeditions,” 27 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] DANFS, entry for Sultana (S.P. 134), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/sultana.html.

[viii] DANFS, entry for Vedette I (ScStr), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/v/vedette-i.html.

[ix] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 46–47.

[x] Cablegram from Robert Lansing for W. S. Sims, 25 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] DANFS, entry for Maumee II (AO-2), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/maumee-ii.html.

[xii] Radiogram from OPNAV to USS Allen, USS Balch, USS Seattle, and USS Pennsylvania, 28 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[xiii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 9; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 26.

[35]

29 May Rear Admiral Albert Greaves is designated commander of the Cruiser and Transport Force, which eventually grows to 45 transports and 24 cruisers, organized to carry troops of the American Expeditionary Force to Europe.[i]

30 May The Navy’s first successful airship, B-1, completes an overnight test flight from Chicago, Illinois, to Akron, Ohio, where it was assembled.[ii]

30 May The destroyer Cushing (DD-55) rescues 13 survivors from the Italian brigantine Luisa damaged by U-boat gunfire.[iii]

30 May Following a conference on 29 May with the French Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral W. S. Sims conveys to the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson the French desire to have an American naval officer of captain rank or above be assigned to the French Ministry of Marine.[iv]

30 May Vice Admiral W. S. Sims’s office publishes general instructions for U.S. Naval Destroyer Force operating in European Waters.[v]

31 May Armed yacht Christabel (SP-162) commissions at New York Navy Yard, Lieutenant H. B. Riebe in command. Christabel was purchased by the Navy on 30 April from Irving T. Bush.[vi]

31 May Vice Admiral W. S. Sims cables the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson that British mine production makes it “unwise to attempt to utilize our present available supply” and relays that the British recommend the Americans concentrating efforts on other work.[vii]

31 May Destroyer tender Dixie (AD-1) sails for Queenstown, Ireland.[viii]

31 May German submarine UC-1 sinks the steamship Dirigo with scuttling charges six miles southwest of Eddystone Lighthouse, England, killing one.[ix]

1 June Destroyer Division Five arrives in Queenstown, Ireland.[x]

1 June The Navy Department orders Captain William B. Fletcher to assume command of eight converted armed yachts—Corsair (SP-159), Aphrodite (SP-135), Harvard (SP-209), Sultana (SP-134), Christabel (SP-162), Kanawha II (SP-130), Vedette (SP-163), and Noma (SP-131)—being fitted out for foreign service to be deployed to France as the U.S. Patrol Squadron Operating in European Waters.[xi]

1 June The Bureau of Navigation requests that the Bureau of Yards and Docks increase the receiving and training barracks capacity at Key West, Florida, for up to 1,000 men.[xii]

3 June Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves arrives aboard armored cruiser Seattle (CA-11) in New York to begin preparing transports for convoying.[xiii]

______________

[i] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 225; Gleaves, Transport Service, 32; Still, Crisis at Sea, 357.

[ii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 9; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 26.

[iii] DANFS, entry for Cushing II (Destroyer No. 55), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/c/cushing-destroyer-no-55-ii.html.

[iv] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, 30 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Document titled “General Instructions for U.S. Naval Destroyer Force operating in European Waters,” 30 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] DANFS, entry for Christabel, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/c/christabel.html.

[vii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 31 May 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 58.

[ix] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 9.

[x] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 2 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 8 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Memorandum from Josephus Daniels to William B. Fletcher, 1 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL; Still, Crisis at Sea, 388.

[xii] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 73.

[xiii] Memorandum from Albert Gleaves to Henry T. Mayo, on report of convoy of first U.S. Expeditionary Force to France, 24 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[36]

4 June The Bureau of Yards and Docks awards a contract for construction of U.S. Marine Corps barracks at Quantico, Virginia.[i]

4 June Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels cables Vice Admiral W. S. Sims and instructs him to furnish one division of destroyers for each of the four convoys of American troop transports due to sail around 9 June.[ii]

4 June Steamship Norlina is damaged by a torpedo from the German submarine U-88 in the Atlantic Ocean about 180 miles northwest of Inishtrahull Island off the north coast of Ireland. Chief Boatswain’s Mate Olaf J. Gullickson, commanding the Naval Armed Guard aboard the ship, opens fire on the submarine and claims two hits before the submarine disappears. For his quick action, Gullickson receives the Navy Cross.[iii]

5 June Initial elements of the First Aeronautic Detachment commanded by Lieutenant Kenneth Whiting arrives at Pauillac, France, aboard the collier Neptune (AC-8), while the second echelon commanded by Lieutenant G. C. Dichman aboard the collier Jupiter (AC-3) arrives at St. Nazaire, France, on 8 June. The detachment comprises 7 officers and 122 enlisted men under command of Lieutenant Kenneth Whiting.[iv]

5 June Destroyer McDougal (DD-54) is guarding British steamer Manchester Miller when a torpedo strikes the merchantman on its port side. McDougal rescues 32 members of the crew before the steamer sinks bow first.[v]

5 June Destroyers Cassin (DD-43) and Ammen (DD-35) search for a small boat with survivors of a ship loss after a convoyed steamer reports a visual but loses sight of it. The destroyers spot the boat after several hours and a British trawler recovers the survivors.[vi]

6 June Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson informs Vice Admiral W. S. Sims of the organization of ships and forces destined to be known as U.S. Forces Operating in European Waters. The destroyers in Ireland will be known as “U.S. Destroyer Flotilla Operating in European Waters,” and the yachts and other small craft known as “U.S. Patrol Squadrons Operating in European Waters.” Benson clarifies that the small craft fall under Sims’s general command, but that it is the Navy Department’s desire that they be based in France under command of Captain William B. Fletcher. Sims is lastly “authorized to organize your forces at your discretion.”[vii]

7 June British First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Jellicoe appeals to the Navy Department for light cruisers and other escort-type vessels to be based at Gibraltar.[viii]

7 June The Navy Department suspends battle cruiser construction for the duration of the war to free money and shipyard space for construction of submarine chasers and destroyers.[ix]

7 June Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels writes Secretary of the War Newton D. Baker and suggests a policy for the handling of supply ships, colliers, tugs, and other vessels chartered or owned by the War Department in regard to the Naval Armed Guards, escorts, and communications. On 10 June, Secretary Baker concurs with Daniel’s policy outline.[x]

_______________

[i] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 94.

[ii] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, 4 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 8; Harry R. Stringer, ed., The Navy Book of Distinguished Service (Washington, DC: Fassett Pub. Co., 1921), 76.

[iv] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 9; Navy Department, Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy for the Fiscal Year 1919 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1919), 42; memorandum from Kenneth Whiting to Josephus Daniels, about report of operations to date, 20 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[v] DANFS, entry for McDougal I (Destroyer No. 54), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/mcdougal-i.html.

[vi] DANFS, entry for Cassin I (Destroyer No. 43), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/c/cassin-i.html; DANFS, entry for Ammen I (Destroyer No. 35), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/a/ammen-i.html.

[vii] Memorandum from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, about organization of “U.S. Forces operating on European Waters,” 6 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Still, Crisis at Sea, 314.

[ix] David F. Trask, Captains & Cabinets: Anglo-American Naval Relations, 1917–1918 (Columbia, University of Missouri Press, 1972), 116–25.

[x] Memorandum from Josephus Daniels to Newton Baker, 7 June 1917; memorandum from Newton D. Baker to Josephus Daniels, 10 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[37]

9 June Armed yachts Noma (SP-131), Christabel (SP-162), Harvard (SP-209), Kanawha II (SP-130), Sultana (SP-134), and Vedette (SP-163) sail from New York bound for Brest, France.[i]

9 June The Ship Protection Committee, headed by Rear Admiral Harry H. Rousseau, Civil Engineer Corps, reports to Major General George W. Goethals, general manager of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, about studies into protection of merchant vessels from attacks by submarines and additional details about lowering visibility by use of special paint schemes and increasing the offensive power by installing naval guns aboard all merchant vessels traversing the danger zone.[ii]

9 June The German liner and auxiliary cruiser SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm is renamed and commissioned as the troop transport Von Steuben (ID-3017).[iii]

9 June The French Ministry of Marine orders 6 officers and 63 men from the First Aeronautic Detachment—the section aboard the collier Neptune (AC-8)—transferred from St. Nazaire to Brest, France. The men arrive on 10 June.[iv]

10 June Destroyers Walke (DD-34) and Sterett (DD-27) arrive at Queenstown, Ireland, from Brest, having escorted the collier Jupiter (AC-3) to France.[v]

10 June The tanker Petrolite is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-35 off the coast of Morocco, 185 miles west one-half degree south of Cape Spartel.[vi]

11 June Destroyers Jarvis (DD-38) and Perkins (DD-26) arrive at Queenstown, Ireland, having escorted the collier Neptune (AC-8) to France.[vii]

11 June Vice Admiral W. S. Sims wires Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels that the Admiralty has requested (with Sims’ recommendation) the assignment of a U.S. naval officer to be assigned to Sims’ office for exclusive duty in the Admiralty in connection with convoys, selection of rendezvous points, and other ship movement–related matters.[viii]

11 June Naval Training Camp, San Pedro, California, is established.[ix]

12 June Destroyer tender Dixie arrives at Queenstown, Ireland.[x]

12 June President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2635, ordering the Secretary of the Navy to take immediate possession and title of the German steamer Staatssekretar Solf at Tutuila, Samoa, and operate it in the service of the Navy.[xi]

12 June The first tentative plans for the North Sea Mine Barrage are formally submitted to the Bureau of Navy Ordnance. This is a proposed mine field extending from the Orkney Islands to the Norwegian coast using a combined British-American force of minelayers deploying the MK VI naval mine.[xii]

12 June In the morning, the tanker Moreni encounters a submarine 17 miles southwest of Tadarca Island, Spain. Despite its guns being out-ranged by the submarine, Moreni fires approximately 150 rounds at the enemy before the tanker’s crew abandons ship after an enemy hit ignites a gasoline tank. Four men are killed in the attack, and the abandoned tanker is later sunk by the submarine.[xiii]

______________

[i] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 226; Wilson, American Navy in France, 24; Joseph Husband, On the Coast of France: The Story of the United States Naval Forces in French Waters (Chicago: A.C. McClurg and Co., 1919), 6–8; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 100.

[ii] Scott, Naval Consulting Board, 90–96.

[iii] Feuer, Navy in World War I, 47.

[iv] Memorandum from Kenneth Whiting to Josephus Daniels, about report of operations to date, 20 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, about addenda to general report concerning Destroyer Force, British Waters, 15 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 9.

[vii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 13 June 1917; memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, about addenda to general report concerning Destroyer Force, British Waters, 15 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 11 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 77.

[x] Still, Crisis at Sea, 156; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 13 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Executive Order 2635, 12 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 110, 270; memorandum from Ralph Earle to William S. Benson, about mine barrier, 12 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[xiii] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 51.

[38]

12 June The destroyer Tucker (DD-57) rescues 47 survivors from the merchantman Polyxena.[i]

13 June USCGC McCulloch sinks after colliding with the steamship Governor off San Francisco, California.[ii]

13 June Vice Admiral W. S. Sims cables Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels an outline for handling convoy operations in the war zone.[iii]

14 June Destroyer Division Nine sails from New York for European waters.[iv]

14 June The first American Expeditionary Force convoy in four groups sails from New York bound for St. Nazaire, France. Group 1 consists of the armored cruiser Seattle (CA-11), armed yacht Corsair (SP-159), destroyers Wilkes (DD-67), Terry (DD-25), and Roe (DD-24), the commandeered German liner-turned-armed transport DeKalb (ID-3010), and troopship Tenadores, transports Saratoga and Havana, and store ship Pastores (ID-4540/AF-16). Group 2 consists of the Army-charted troopships Antilles and Momus, and transports Lenape (ID-2700) and Henderson (AP-1), escorted by the scout cruiser Birmingham (CS-2), converted armed yacht Aphrodite (SP-135), and destroyers Fanning (DD-37), Burrows (DD-29), and Lamson (DD-18). Group 3 includes the transports Henry R. Mallory (ID-1531), troopship Finland (ID-4543), and cargo ship San Jacinto (ID-1531), escorted by the protected cruiser Charleston (CA-19), armed collier Cyclops (AC-4), and destroyers Allen (DD-66), McCall (DD-28), and Preston (DD-19). Group 4 contains the cargo ship Montanan, transports Dakotan (ID-3882), El Occidente (ID-3307), and Edward Luckenbach (ID-1662) escorted by the protected cruiser St. Louis (C-20), transport Hancock (AP-3), and destroyers Shaw (DD-68), Ammen (DD-35), Flusser (DD-20), and Parker (DD-48). Oilers Kanawha (AO-1) and Maumee (AO-2) precede the convoy to refuel the destroyers at sea as required.[v]

14 June Vice Admiral W. S. Sims is designated Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.[vi]

14 June The schooner A. B. Johnson is captured by the German commerce raider SMS Seeadler in the Pacific Ocean, set on fire, and destroyed 15 June.[vii]

14 June Establishment of aerial patrol stations along the Atlantic coast is implemented as the first contract for base construction is let. The contract covers sites on Long Island, New York, located at Montauk, Rockaway Beach, and Bay Shore.[viii]

16 June The German raider SMS Wolf captures the schooner Winslow in the Pacific Ocean off Raoul, Kermadec Group. Winslow is burned, shelled, and sunk on 22 June.[ix]

16 June The destroyer O’Brien (DD-51), while escorting a vessel off the Irish coast, sights and depth charges a suspected submarine. The Admiralty later credits O’Brien with slightly damaging the submarine. Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander in Chief, Queenstown, Ireland, nominates Lieutenant Commander Charles A. Blakely, commander of O’Brien, for the Distinguished Service Order and Ensign Henry N. Fallon for the Distinguished Service Cross. Blakely will receive the U.S. Navy Distinguished Service Medal for his actions, while Fallon will receive a Navy Cross for actions as officer of the watch aboard O’Brien in an engagement with another enemy submarine on 14 September 1917.[x]

_______________ 

[i] DANFS, entry for Tucker I (Destroyer No. 57), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/t/tucker-i.html.

[ii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 5.

[iii] Senate Subcommittee on Naval Affairs, Naval Investigation Hearings, vol. I, 66th Cong., 2d sess., 1921: 89–90.

[iv] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 58; DANFS, entry for Burrows II (Destroyer No. 29), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/b/burrows-ii.html.

[v] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 226; Gleaves, Transport Service, 32–41; Wilson, American Navy in France, 23; Paine, The Corsair, 21–22; Still, Crisis at Sea, 357; cablegram from Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, 16 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL; Memorandum from Albert Gleaves to Henry T. Mayo, on report of convoy of first U.S. Expeditionary Force to France, 24 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Memorandum from Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, about change of title, 14 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL; Still, Crisis at Sea, 27.

[vii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 7.

[viii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 9; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 26.

[ix] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 7.

[x] Still, Crisis at Sea, 401; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 60; Stringer, Distinguished Service, 22, 68; Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 17 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[39]

16 June A German submarine torpedoes and sinks the tanker John D. Archbold off Ushant, France, 85 miles southwest of Penmarch, killing three.[i]

17 June The schooner R.C. Slade is captured by the German commerce raider SMS Seeadler in the Pacific Ocean. She is burned and sunk 18 June.[ii]

18 June The first test of the K-1 mine-firing device for a naval mine is held at the New London, Connecticut, submarine base with promising results. The device was essentially a copper antenna that uses seawater as the electrolyte; contact with steel (a submarine hull) completed the circuit and detonated the device and the mine. The concept of the electrical trigger using seawater as the electrolyte stems from an invention offered to the Navy by Ralph C. Browne of Salem, Massachusetts. While the “Browne submerged gun” was not of interest, the triggering device became the key component of the MK VI mine.[iii]

19 June Destroyers Nicholson (DD-52) and Sampson (DD-63) assist in the recovery of sailors from the sunken British merchantman Batoum.[iv]

20 June The first Curtiss R-5 seaplanes assigned to naval service are received at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.[v]

20 June The motor boat Gypsy (SP-55) is destroyed by fire off Stony Beach, Allerton Beacon, Boston, Massachusetts, and declared a total loss.[vi]

20 June In a cable to Vice Admiral W. S. Sims, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels notes that the 32 destroyers currently in European waters are “all that there are available,” that 110-foot submarine chasers bound for France should begin sailing in August along with 12 fishing vessels.[vii]

20 June Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson assigns U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters to duty with the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and requests that Vice Admiral W. S. Sims keep the Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet, Admiral Henry T. Mayo, informed of the employment of forces under his command and submit such reports as required to Admiral Mayo so he may “supervise the readiness of material and personnel, and to perform their proper functions in the event of fleet operations.”[viii]

21 June A German submarine shells and sinks the schooner Childe Harold off Ushant, France.[ix]

_______________

[i] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 10.

[ii] Ibid., 7.

[iii] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 18–19.

[iv] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson about general report concerning submarine situation in European waters, 20 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 9.

[vi] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 4.

[vii] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to William S. Benson, 20 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Memorandum from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 20 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 10.

[40]

22 June Enlisted men of the First Aeronautic Detachment begin preliminary flight training in Caudron landplanes under French instructors at the Military Aviation School, Tours, France. Around the same time, another 50 men of the detachment were sent to St. Raphael, France, for training as mechanics.[i]

22 June Group 1 of the first American Expeditionary Force convoy reports attacks by enemy submarines, with the transport DeKalb (ID-3010) reporting two torpedo wakes, and two torpedoes reportedly passing close by the transport Havana.[ii]

22 June Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels cables Vice Admiral W. S. Sims to report that the Bureau of Ordnance is now in position to manufacture both the latest British naval mine “or a superior type at the rate of four thousand per week beginning sixty days from now.”[iii]

22 June Vice Admiral W. S. Sims reports to Washington that the British Admiralty have adopted the convoy system and “will put it into full effect as fast as heavy ships can be obtained for high sea convoy against raiders and destroyers for escort duty in submarine zones.” Sims urges support for assisting and cooperating in the assembly of convoys and furnishing one cruiser or reserve battleship a week for escort.[iv]

23 June Destroyers Cushing (DD-55), Jacob Jones (DD-61), Conyngham (DD-58), Nicholson (DD-52), and O’Brien (DD-51), out of Queenstown, Ireland, rendezvous with Group 1, now composed of the armored cruiser Seattle (CA-11), transport DeKalb (ID-3010), destroyers Wilkes (DD-67), Terry (DD-25), and Roe (DD-24), troopship Tenadores, transports Saratoga  and Havana, and store ship Pastores (ID-4540/AF-16), and proceed to escort the ships to France.[v]

23 June Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels orders coordination and organization of efforts among the various research groups considering submarine and antisubmarine devices, placing the effort under the special board with Rear Admiral Albert W. Grant as senior advisor.[vi]

23 June In a reply to various cables from Vice Admiral W. S. Sims, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels clarifies that the Navy Department “is strongly of the opinion—based on recent experiences—that the question of supplying adequate guns and trained gun crews to merchant ships is one which can—in now wise [sic]—be treated as a minor issue. Coupled with a rigid system of inspection, this method is believed to constitute one of the most effective defensive submarine measures.”[vii]

24 June Destroyer Cushing (DD-55) rescues 54 survivors from the sunken British steamer Obuasi.[viii]

24 June In the morning, at the scheduled rendezvous point, destroyers from Queenstown, Ireland, sight elements of the American Expeditionary Force convoy Group 1.[ix]

25 June A German submarine scuttles and sinks the schooner Galena, 70 miles west by south of Ushant Light, Quessant Island, France.[x]

________________

[i] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 9; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 27.

[ii] Memorandum from Commander Destroyer Force to Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet, on attacks on convoy by submarines on the nights of 22 June, 26 June, and 28 June 1917, 12 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL; Gleaves, Transport Service, 42–43, 167; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 73–74.

[iii] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, 22 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 22 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Memorandum from Albert Gleaves to Henry T. Mayo, on report of convoy of first U.S. Expeditionary Force to France, 24 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL; Taussig, Queenstown Patrol, 69–70.

[vi] Scott, Naval Consulting Board, 76, 82–83.

[vii] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, 23 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] DANFS, entry for Cushing II (Destroyer No. 55), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/c/cushing-destroyer-no-55-ii.html.

[ix] Gleaves, Transport Service, 44; Paine, The Corsair, 44.

[x] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 10.

[41]

25 June Captain William V. Pratt succeeds Captain Volney O. Chase as Assistant Chief of Naval Operations, following Chase’s untimely death due to exhaustion.[i]

26 June Group 1 of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) convoy drops anchor in the Loire River off St. Nazaire, France. The troop transports dock at St. Nazaire, and the first elements of the AEF disembark on French soil.[ii]

26 June An enemy submarine shells and damages the schooner A.B. Sherman off the Isles of Scilly, England. The schooner is later towed into port.[iii]

26 June While escorting Group 2 of the American Expeditionary Force, the destroyer Cummings (DD-44) reports spotting a submarine to port and drops a depth charge, which brings considerable oil and some debris to the surface, possibly indicating that the submarine was damaged. Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander in Chief, Queenstown, Ireland, nominated Lieutenant Commander George P. Neal, commander of the Cummings, for the Distinguished Service Order, Lieutenant Frank Loftin for the British Distinguished Service Cross, and Quartermaster 1st Class W. H. Justice and Chief Machinists’ Mate R. G. McNaughton for the Distinguished Service Medal.[iv]

26 June U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain Walter H. Page wires President Woodrow Wilson and Secretary of State Robert Lansing with news that the heavy loss of British tankers has left the Royal Navy with oil stocks sufficient for only six weeks “at the lowest conventional rate of consumption.” Page recommends that all American tankers carrying oil to neutral countries be diverted to Great Britain, that tankers directly aiding the European military situation be acquired for the conflict, and that construction of tankers be accelerated.[v]

27 June Group 2 of the American Expeditionary Force convoy anchors at St. Nazaire, France.[vi]

27 June Destroyer McDougal (DD-54) picks up 24 survivors from the torpedoed British steamer Begona #4.[vii]

28 June Thomas W. Barrett, a member of First Aeronautic Detachment, dies in an air crash during flight training at Tours, France. He is the first U.S. Navy member killed in France in World War I.[viii]

28 June President Woodrow Wilson signs legislation authorizing the expenditure of $2.8 million for the purchase of the property, equipment, and buildings for a naval operating base at Norfolk, Virginia.[ix]

28 June Group 3 of the first American Expeditionary Force convoy arrives at St. Nazaire, France.[x]

28 June Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels requests Vice Admiral W. S. Sims to provide recommendations for basing a 250-bed Navy hospital to support American naval forces in European waters.[xi]

__________________

[i] Beers, “Office of Naval Operations, Part II,” 23.

[ii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 26 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 10.

[iv] Gleaves, Transport Service, 46–47, 167; Still, Crisis at Sea, 358; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 74–75.

[v] Cablegram from Walter H. Page to Robert Lansing, 26 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Memorandum from Albert Gleaves to Henry T. Mayo, on report of convoy of first U.S. Expeditionary Force to France, 24 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL; Wilson, American Navy in France, 23; Paine, The Corsair, 44.

[vii] DANFS, entry for McDougal I (Destroyer No. 54), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/mcdougal-i.html.

[viii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 9.

[ix] Michael D. Besch, “A Navy Second to None: The History of U.S. Naval Training in World War I” (PhD diss., Marquette University, 1999), 117.

[x] Memorandum from Albert Gleaves to Henry T. Mayo, on report of convoy of first U.S. Expeditionary Force to France, 24 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, 28 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[42]

28 June While under escort, the transport Edward Luckenbach (ID-1662) of Group 4 narrowly avoids an enemy torpedo. The commander of the armed yacht Kanawha II (SP-130) on escort duty reports having observed a submarine when the torpedo was fired and watching the wake. The armed yacht began shelling the submarine’s periscope and drove the attacker away.[i]

28 June Group 4 of the American Expeditionary Force convoy rendezvous with destroyers Patterson (DD-36), Warrington (DD-30), Trippe (DD-33), Paulding (DD-22), Drayton (DD-23), and Walke (DD-34).[ii]

29 June Armed yachts Noma (SP-131), Kanawha II (SP-130), Vedette (SP-163), Harvard (SP-209), Christabel (SP-162), and Sultana (SP-134) sail from St. Michaels, Azores for Brest, France.[iii]

30 June The naval training camp at Charleston, South Carolina, is established.[iv]

30 June President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2651, authorizing the U.S. Shipping Board to take possession and title of 87 German ships, seized in American harbors on 6 April, and to place them into service of the United States.[v]

2 July Armed yachts Corsair (SP-159) and Aphrodite (SP-135) arrive in Brest, France.[vi]

2 July The transports Saratoga, Havana, and Lenape (ID-2700) escorted by the scout cruiser Birmingham (CS-2) and destroyers Sampson (DD-63), Jarvis (DD-38), and Allen (DD-66), sail from St. Nazaire, France, bound for the United States. The destroyers are diverted to Queenstown, Ireland, by request of Vice Admiral W. S. Sims the following day.[vii]

2 July The Chief of Naval Operations William S. Benson orders “the twelve most suitable submarines on the Atlantic Coast” to be fitted out for duty in European waters.[viii]

2 July The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations orders the commandants of the First through Ninth, Twelfth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Naval Districts to cease negotiations for the purchase of vessels except those capable of crossing the Atlantic.[ix]

2 July The Navy Department informs Vice Admiral W. S. Sims that he is to “hold for duty in European Waters all the destroyers accompanying the Troop convoy [American Expeditionary Force] ship[s].”[x]

2 July Group 4 of the first American Expeditionary Force convoy arrives in St. Nazaire, France.[xi]

3 July Construction expanding the Great Lakes Naval Training Station near North Chicago, Illinois, begins in order to accommodate the massive influx of new recruits.[xii]

3 July The steamship Orleans is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine UC-61, 165 miles west-southwest from Belle Isle, France, killing four and injuring one.[xiii]

_____________

[i] Memorandum from Commander Destroyer Force to Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet, on attacks on convoy by submarines on the nights of 22 June, 26 June, and 28 June 1917, 12 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL; Gleaves, Transport Service, 45–46, 168.

[ii] Memorandum from Albert Gleaves to Henry T. Mayo, on report of convoy of first U.S. Expeditionary Force to France, 24 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Memorandum from W. B. Furney to W. S. Sims, on movements of squadron, 29 June–4 July 1917, 16 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Besch, “Navy Second to None,” 207.

[v] Executive Order 2651, 30 June 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL; History of the U.S.S. Leviathan, 27–29.

[vi] Wilson, American Navy in France, 23; Paine, The Corsair, 57.

[vii] Memorandum from Albert Gleaves to Henry T. Mayo, on report of convoy of first U.S. Expeditionary Force to France, 24 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Senate Subcommittee on Naval Affairs, Naval Investigation Hearings, vol. I, 66th Cong., 2d sess., 1921: 533.

[ix] Radiogram from the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to Commandants of 1st–9th, 12th, 13th, and 14th Naval Districts, 2 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Cablegram from Washington to W. S. Sims, 2 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Letter from Newton D. Baker to Josephus Daniels, 3 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL; Gleaves, Transport Service, 47; Memorandum from Albert Gleaves to Henry T. Mayo, on report of convoy of first U.S. Expeditionary Force to France, 24 July 1917; letter from William L. Sibert to Albert Gleaves, 2 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Besch, “Navy Second to None,” 136.

[xiii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 10.

[43]

3 July District Training Camp at San Pedro, California, officially opens.[i]

3 July President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2653, authorizing the U.S. Shipping Board to take possession and title of the seized German auxiliary cruiser Prinz Eitel Friedrich at Hoboken, New Jersey, and press her into American service.[ii]

3 July Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels forwards to Secretary of State Robert Lansing a comprehensive statement of American naval policy as it relates to the Allies. Daniels lists six basic principles:

  • hearty cooperation with the Allies against the submarine situation,
  • hearty cooperation with the Allies to meet any future situation arising during the war,
  • realization that although successful termination of the war must always be the first Allied aim, the future U.S. position must in no way be jeopardized by any disintegration of the nation’s main fighting fleets,
  • recognition that the main wartime mission of the Navy is to safeguard lines of communication to the Entente powers,
  • departmental endorsement of offensive policy within the limits imposed by a general commitment to support joint actions proposed by the Allies,
  • a willingness to take certain specific actions, including (a) dispatch of all antisubmarine craft not needed at home; (b) readiness to send the entire fleet if necessary; and (c) receptivity to discussions of joint plans of operations with the Allies.[iii]

3 July Three pilots under command of Lieutenant J. L. Callan open the Moutchic French-American flight training school.[iv]

4 July The armed yachts Noma (SP-131), Sultana (SP-134), Vedette (SP-163), Harvard (SP-209), Christabel (SP-162), and Kanawha II (SP-130), along with Rear Admiral William B. Fletcher arrive in Brest, France. Fletcher assumes the position of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in France.[v]

4 July Armed yacht Sultana (SP-134) rescues 45 survivors of the steamer Orleans, torpedoed 3 July, and lands them at Brest, France.[vi]

4 July The destroyer Davis (DD-65) rescues sailors from the British steamer Thirlby sunk two days earlier. After disembarking the survivors, she locates more Allied sailors adrift from the British steamer Matador.[vii]

4 July The destroyers Wilkes (DD-67), Shaw (DD-68), Fanning (DD-37), Burrows (DD-29), Ammen (DD-35), and Parker (DD-48) sail from St. Nazaire, France, with Wilkes bound for Portsmouth, England, and the remainder destined for Queenstown, Ireland. All arrive safely at their destinations the following day.[viii]

4 July The first regular four-day convoy leaves Hampton Roads, Virginia, bound for England.[ix]

4 July The collier Orion (AC-11) drives off a German submarine which later shells Ponta Delgada in the Azores.[x]

________________

[i] Besch, “Navy Second to None,” 212.

[ii] Executive Order 2653, 3 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, (FRUS) 1917, Supplement 2, The World War (Washington, DC: GPO, 1932, 116–17.

[iv] Besch, “Navy Second to None,” 291.

[v] Henry B. Wilson, An Account of the Operations of the American Navy in France during the War With Germany (n.p.: USS Pennsylvania, 1919), 22, 24; Still, Crisis at Sea, 52; Husband, Coast of France, 8; telegram from William B. Fletcher to W. S. Sims, 4 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] DANFS, entry for Sultana (S.P. 134), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/sultana.html.

[vii] DANFS, entry for Davis II (Destroyer No. 65), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/d/davis-ii.html.

[viii] Letter from F. M. Perkins to Captain Gilly, Commandant de la Marine, St. Nazaire, 4 July 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 5 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Still, Crisis at Sea, 348.

[x] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 275–76; cablegram from Ponta Delgada to OPNAV, 5 July 1917; letter from Antonio Rodriguez Salvado, Civil Governor of Ponta Delgada, to Consul of the United States, 5 July 1917; memorandum from William V. Pratt to Commanding Officer, USS Orion, on enemy attack, submarine, at Ponta Delgada, 8 August 1917; memorandum from J. H. Boesch, Commanding Officer, USS Orion, to OPNAV, on enemy attack, submarine, at Pont a Delgada, 4 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[44]

4 July Construction commences on the new Naval Operating Base, Hampton Roads, Virginia, on land comprising the old Jamestown Exposition site and the Pine Beach Hotel property.[i]

5 July The Navy Department orders destroyers Reid (DD-21), Flusser (DD-20), Lamson (DD-18), Preston (DD-19), and Smith (DD-17) to proceed to their home navy yards immediately to fit out for foreign service.[ii]

5 July The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations informs Vice Admiral W. S. Sims that a large group of vessels are on their way to European waters, including eight patrol boats on 5 July, ten more converted yachts to sail on 15 July, five Preston (DD-19)–class destroyers bound for the Azores, seven Denver-class protected cruisers, 12 trawlers and one yacht to sail around 10 August, with a further ten cruisers able to send overseas if needed.[iii]

5 July The store ship Pastores (ID-4540/AF-16), troopship Tenadores, and transports Henry R. Mallory (ID-1280), DeKalb (ID-3010), and Henderson (AP-1), sail from St. Nazaire, France, for New York.[iv]

5 July The Bureau of Yards and Docks breaks ground for construction at City Park, Brooklyn, New York, of a naval clearing station for 3,000 Naval Armed Guards. The first men moved into the camp on 10 August.[v]

5 July The steamship Navajo encounters an enemy submarine 110 miles off Portsmouth, England, while sailing to Havre, France. Observing the submarine shelling a British sailing vessel, the Navajo attempts to escape but becomes engaged in a running gun duel with the submarine. Careful maneuvering avoids serious damage to the ship, which receives only one hit while in turn managing to hit the submarine just forward of the deck gun. The submarine is seen sinking with the stern high out of the water and its propellers still turning.[vi]

5 July The Navy Department decides to establish a naval base at Gibraltar.[vii]

5 July Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels issues General Order No. 307, whereby all officers and enlisted men of the Navy and Marine Corps, and all other persons operating under the Navy Department, who should happen to be captured by German forces, are directed to communicate with the American Prisoners Central Committee in Berne, Switzerland.[viii]

6 July First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Jellicoe with Vice Admiral W. S. Sims’ concurrence, requests the British naval attaché in Washington, Commodore Guy R. A. Gaunt, to ask the Navy Department if the gunboats Sacramento (PG-19), Nashville (PG-7), Marietta (PG-15), Machias (PG-5), Castine (PG-6), Wheeling (PG-14), Paducah (PG-18), and the armed yacht Yankton be sent to Gibraltar for convoy escort duty. Jellicoe also asks if the Navy Department could send over the minelayers Baltimore (CM-1) and San Francisco (CM-2) to help with British minelaying work. While Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson thought the matter a “waste of ships,” Admiral Henry T. Mayo supported sending the scout cruisers Birmingham (CS-2), Chester (CS-1), and Salem (CS-3), armed yacht Yankton, gunboats Nashville, Sacramento, Marietta, Machias, Castine, Wheeling, and Paducah overseas. Benson, however, could not spare San Francisco and Baltimore.[ix]

________________

[i] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 132, 136.

[ii] Radiogram from Navy Department to USS Reid, USS Flusser, USS Preston, USS Lamson, and USS Smith, 5 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Cablegram from OPNAV to W. S. Sims, 5 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Memorandum from Albert Gleaves to Henry T. Mayo, on report of convoy of first U.S. Expeditionary Force to France, 24 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 58; Besch, “Navy Second to None,” 241.

[vi] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 50.

[vii] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 116.

[viii] Josephus Daniels, General Order No. 307, “Communication in Case of Capture by German Forces,” 5 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Cablegram from John R. Jellicoe to Guy R.A. Gaunt, 6 July 1917; cablegram from John R. Jellicoe to Guy R.A. Gaunt, 6 July 1917; cablegram from Guy R. A. Gaunt to John R. Jellicoe, 6 July 1917; cablegram from Guy R.A. Gaunt to John R. Jellicoe, 6 July 1917; radiogram from OPNAV to Commander, Patrol Force Atlantic and Commander-in-Chief Atlantic Fleet, 6 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[45]

6 July Vice Admiral W. S. Sims writes Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson a long letter of recommendations for escort procedures to protect future troop convoys in trans-Atlantic passage. Sims bases his recommendations on the lessons learned from the first convoy of American Expeditionary Force elements to France. On 22 July, the Navy Department cables Sims its acceptance of his recommendations to govern future convoy operations.[i]

7 July The motor boat Saxis (SP-615) is stranded at West Point, Virginia.[ii]

7 July The cargo ship Massapequa is sunk by gunfire from an enemy submarine in the Bay of Biscay, 200 miles west of Belle Isle, France.[iii]

7 July The Navy Department cables Vice Admiral W. S. Sims that Captain Nathan C. Twining has been appointed as his chief of staff with orders to report to Sims in London. This came in response to requests from Sims of 3 and 4 July for Twining’s services.[iv]

7 July The schooner Mary W. Bowen is scuttled and sunk by an enemy submarine in the Bay of Biscay.[v]

7 July The destroyer Porter (DD-59) recovers the captain and 12 survivors of the Norwegian steamer Snetoppen, sunk three days earlier. The same day, the destroyer O’Brien (DD-51) rescues the captain and 11 survivors of the Norwegian steamer Victoria II, sunk by a U-boat on 6 July. Destroyers Cushing (DD-55) and Perkins (DD-26) report to the scene of an SOS from the British steamer Tarquah torpedoed off Ireland. Both destroyers recover 5 lifeboats with 155 survivors from the doomed steamer.[vi]

7 July Vice Admiral W. S. Sims cables the Bureau of Steam Engineering in Washington, D.C., that the destroyer Wilkes (DD-67) exercised with a submerged British submarine to test special equipment to listen for and locate the submarine. The tests brought poor results and Sims advises against further installation of present equipment, “but strongly recommend continued and energetic experiment and development” of such equipment at New London, Connecticut.[vii]

7 July Vice Admiral W. S. Sims cables Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels noting the efforts of the Grand Fleet’s destroyers and submarines to intercept enemy submarines north of Scotland. Sims recommends “that all coal-burning Dreadnoughts be kept in readiness for distant service in case future developments should render their juncture with Grand Fleet advisable.” The admiral also recommends the scout cruisers Birmingham (CS-2), Chester (CS-1), and Salem (CS-3) join the Grand Fleet Light Cruiser Squadron and that the coal burning Preston (DD-19)-class destroyers be based at Queenstown, Ireland, rather than at the Azores.[viii]

8 July Destroyers Porter (DD-59), Ericsson (DD-56), O’Brien (DD-51), Nicholson (DD-52), and Cassin (DD-43) arrive at St. Nazaire, France, and report for escort duty.[ix]

_______________

[i] Senate Subcommittee on Naval Affairs, Naval Investigation Hearings, vol. I, 66th Cong., 2d sess., 1921: 157–60; memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, “Procedure Concerning Protection of Army Convoys in Transatlantic passage,” 6 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 2.

[iii] Ibid., 10.

[iv] Senate Subcommittee on Naval Affairs, Naval Investigation Hearings, vol. I, 66th Cong., 2d sess., 1921: 213–14.

[v] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 10.

[vi] DANFS, entry for Porter II (Destroyer No. 59), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/p/porter-ii.html; war diary extract for USS Porter, 7 July 1917; war diary extract for USS O’Brien, 7 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Bureau of Steam Engineering, Washington, DC, 7 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 7 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Memorandum from Albert Gleaves to Henry T. Mayo, on report of convoy of first U.S. Expeditionary Force to France, 24 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[46]

8 July The destroyers Perkins (DD-26) and Jacob Jones (DD-61) respond to an SOS from the British steamer Valletta. Perkins searches for the assailant while Jacob Jones rescues 44 crewmembers. The steamer, however, sinks.[i]

8 July The destroyer Cushing (DD-55), responding to an SOS call from the British steamer Onitsha, is directed to the site of the British steamer Obuashi, torpedoed previously in the day. Cushing rescues 54 survivors and takes them to Queenstown, Ireland.[ii]

8 July The German commerce raider SMS Seeadler captures the schooner Manila in the Pacific Ocean and destroys it.[iii]

9 July The German commerce raider SMS Wolf captures the bark Beluga in the Pacific Ocean. Wolf sinks the American ship with gunfire on 11 July.[iv]

9 July Army-chartered troopships Hancock (AP-3), Antilles, and Finland (ID-4543), and the cargo ship San Jacinto (ID-1531), escorted by the protected cruisers St. Louis (C-20), Charleston (CA-19), and the destroyers, which arrived 8 July, sail from St. Nazaire, France, for New York.[v]

9 July A group of 24 potential naval aviators under Ensign Frederick S. Allen as officer-in-charge report at the University of Toronto for the start of flight training under the Canadian Royal Flying Corps. Training was arranged by an agreement with the Army and the Royal Flying Corps that 25 men from the Navy would be included in the contingent of 100 Americans for which the Government of Canada had agreed to provide flight training.[vi]

9 July Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels cables Vice Admiral W. S. Sims the Navy Department’s policy statement in relation to cooperation of its naval forces with those of the Allies. The policy includes:

  • cooperation with the Allies to meet the present submarine situation,
  • cooperation with them to meet any future situation arising during the war,
  • the successful termination of the present war must remain the first Allied war aim,
  • “that the present main military role of the U.S. naval force lies in its safeguarding the line of communications of the Allies,” and
  • that the offensive must always be dominant in any general plans or prepared strategies but that the department “is willing to accept any joint plan of action of the Allies deemed necessary to meet immediate need.”

Pursuant to the general policy outlined, Daniels states the department is willing to send its minor fighting forces to any field of action deemed expedient by joint Allied admiralties, which would not involve a violation of the nation’s present gunboat policy. The Navy Department would not, however, separate any division from the main fleet for service abroad although it is willing to send the entire battleship fleet abroad “to act as a united but co-operating unit when after joint consultations of all Admiralties concerned” and resources can support it.[vii]

10 July An enemy submarine scuttles and sinks the steamship Hildegard ten miles southeast of Start Point, England.[viii]

_______________

[i] DANFS, entry for Perkins I (Destroyer No. 26), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/p/perkins-i.html; DANFS, entry for Jacob Jones I (DD-61), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/j/jacob-jones-i.html.

[ii] Memorandum from D. C. Hanrahan, Commanding Officer, USS Cushing, to W. S. Sims, on report of operations on patrol, 9 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 7.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Memorandum from Albert Gleaves to Henry T. Mayo, on report of convoy of first U.S. Expeditionary Force to France, 24 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 32; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 27.

[vii] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, 9 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 10.

[47]

10 July The cargo ship Kansan is torpedoed and sunk without warning by an enemy submarine or mine, approximately three miles east of Kerdonis Point, France, killing four.[i] 

11 July Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels orders the commissioning of 16 ex-German vessels which had been seized by the federal government on 6 April and prepared for service as troop transports as soon as possible. The Bureau of Engineering effects repairs on the ships’ engines which had been sabatoged by the German crews.[ii] 

12 July Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels requests Congress appropriate an additional $100 million for construction of destroyers in a second naval emergency fund.[iii] 

12 July Rear Admiral William B. Fletcher issues Operation Order No. 1 for the U.S. Patrol Squadron Operating in French Waters for the eight armed yachts under his command.[iv] 

12 July President Woodrow Wilson approves a recommendation from Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels and Secretary of War Newton D. Baker to commission the 16 ex-German vessels into troop transports.[v] 

12 July First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Jellicoe meets with U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain Walter Hines Page as representative of the British government and states that the Admiralty welcomed closer cooperation with the Navy Board. Jellicoe considers it essential that U.S. naval officers work in the Admiralty, notably in the operations, convoy section, anti-submarine division, and material sections of the War Staff.[vi] 

12 July The German submarine U-23 torpedoes and sinks the steamship Grace (ID-1749) in the Mediterranean Sea, 5.5 miles north of Cape Phesso, Andres Island, Greece, killing three and injuring six.[vii] 

13 July The destroyer Fanning (DD-37) rescues 23 survivors of the Greek steamer Charilaos Tricoupis, torpedoed and sunk that same morning.[viii]

13 July The destroyer Warrington (DD-30) sights an enemy submarine about four miles distant while patrolling south of Ireland. The submarine submerges and Warrington drops a depth charge over a large oil slick and later strikes a submerged object, which lifted the stern of the ship. Warrington dropped two additional depth charges. The contact is later classified as “possibly slightly damaging” the submarine.[ix]

13 July The destroyers Porter (DD-59), Nicholson (DD-52), Cassin (DD-43), O’Brien (DD-51), and Ericsson (DD-56) arrive at St. Nazaire, France.[x] 

14 July Captain William B. Fletcher, commander, U.S. Patrol Squadron Operating in European Waters, along with his staff, secures quarters on French soil, and begins first active cooperation with the French Navy against German submarines.[xi] 

14 July The Navy Department directs 11 vessels under command of Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson to prepare for distant service and sail for Gibraltar at the earliest possible date.[xii]

________________

[i] Ibid.

[ii] Memorandum from Josephus Daniels to Bureaus of Navigation, Construction and Repair, Steam Engineering, Ordnance, Supplies and Accounts, Medicine and Surgery, Yards and Docks, and Commandants of the New York, Boston, and Norfolk Navy Yards, 11 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL; Navy Department, Engineering, 80–85; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 91–92.

[iii] William J. Williams, “Josephus Daniels and the U.S. Navy’s Shipbuilding Program during World War I” Journal of Military History 60, no. 1 (January 1996): 25.

[iv] U.S. Patrol Squadron Operating in French Waters, Operation Order No 1, 12 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Joint letter from War and Navy Departments to Woodrow Wilson, about transports to be commissioned in the navy, 12 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Telegram from Walter H. Page to Robert Lansing, 13 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 10.

[viii] Memorandum from A.S. Carpender, Commanding Officer, USS Fanning, to W. S. Sims, on survivors—S.S. Charilaos Tricoupis, 15 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Memorandum from Commanding Officer, USS Warrington, to Commander-in-Chief, Coast of Ireland Station, on report of operations, 13 July 1917, 17 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 102.

[x] Cablegram from Ministry of Marine, Paris to W. S. Sims, 14 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Memorandum from William B. Fletcher to W. S. Sims, on report of operations and general survey of situation, 13 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL; Husband, Coast of France, 8.

[xii] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 116.

[48]

14 July The armored cruiser Seattle (CA-11), destroyers Porter (DD-59), Nicholson (DD-52), Ericsson (DD-56), Cassin (DD-43), and O’Brien (DD-51), collier Cyclops (AC-4), oiler Kanawha (AO-1), and transports El Occidente (ID-3307), Edward Luckenbach (ID-1662), and Dakotan (ID-3882), Army-chartered troopship Momus, and cargo ship Montanan, sail from St. Nazaire, France, for New York. The destroyers and Kanawha head to Queenstown, Ireland, after escorting the convoy to longitude 17°20"W.[i] 

15 July The German raider SMS Wolf captures, burns, and sinks the schooner Encore in the Pacific Ocean.[ii] 

15 July The schooner Florence Creadick is torpedoed by an enemy submarine in the Bay of Biscay, 20 miles north of Isle de Bas, France. She is later salvaged.[iii] 

16 July Destroyers Shaw (DD-68) and Parker (DD-48), and store ship Celtic (AF-2), arrive at Queenstown, Ireland. Destroyers Smith (DD-17) and Lamson (DD-18) sail from Charleston, South Carolina, for Bermuda.[iv] 

16 July Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels orders Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves to assume duty as Commander, Cruiser Force, Atlantic Fleet.[v] 

17 July France turns over its aviation training school at Moutchie to the U.S. Navy. Lieutenant John L. Callum arrives with three enlisted men to set up facilities for pilot training.[vi] 

18 July The Bureau of Naval Ordnance chief, Rear Admiral Ralph Earle, informs Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson of the development of the new MK VI, Type X naval mine, “which it is confidently believed will facilitate the establishment of submarine barriers.” Earle offers how theoretically, only 72,000 mines would be required for 300 miles of barrier protection and that they have an estimated cost of $320 each.[vii] 

18 July Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, Rear Admiral Leigh C. Palmer issues instructions to the officers in charge of Naval Armed Guards aboard merchant ships that “so long as a ship floats on which men of the Navy are performing duty as Armed Guards that they should remain thereon and take every opportunity that may present itself to destroy the submarines.” This came in response to reports that Armed Guards abandoned vessels after being struck by torpedoes while the ship remained afloat for a considerable time thereafter.[viii] 

18 July A detachment of the Aviation Section of the Signal Reserve Corps numbering one officer and 200 men sails from New York aboard the cargo ship St. Paul (ID-1643).[ix] 

18 July The destroyers Smith (DD-17) and Lamson (DD-18) arrive at Bermuda.[x] 

19 July Vice Admiral W. S. Sims visits the British Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow, Scotland, with First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, where the request was made by the Admiralty for “the four strongest coal burning battleships with six destroyers [to] be sent [to] join [the] Grand Fleet.”[xi]

______________

[i] Cablegram from Albert Gleaves to OPNAV, 14 July 1917; memorandum from Albert Gleaves to Henry T. Mayo, on report of convoy of first U.S. Expeditionary Force to France, 24 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL; Gleaves, Transport Service, 54.

[ii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 7.

[iii] Ibid., 10.

[iv] Cablegram from William B. Fletcher to W. S. Sims, 16 July 1917; memorandum from J. P. Klein Jr., Commanding Officer, USS Smith, to A. M. Proctor, Commanding Officer, USS Panther, on operation of USS Smith and USS Lamson, 16–26 July 1917, 27 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Radiogram from Josephus Daniels to USS Seattle, 17 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Still, Crisis at Sea, 121.

[vii] Memorandum from Ralph Earle to William S. Benson, about submarine mine barriers: material for, 18 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL; Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 19–20; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 110, 270.

[viii] Memorandum from Leigh C. Palmer to Commandants of New York, Philadelphia, and Norfolk Navy Yards about Armed Guard on merchant ships to remain on board ships until last possible moment, 18 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Cablegram from Guy A.R. Gaunt to Admiralty, 18 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Memorandum from J. P. Klein Jr., Commanding Officer, USS Smith, to A. M. Proctor, Commanding Officer, USS Panther, on operation of USS Smith and USS Lamson, 16–26 July 1917, 27 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 21 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL; Jones, Battleship Operations, 9–10.

[49]

19 July Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson wires Vice Admiral W. S. Sims requesting his opinion on a request by Captain Walter S. Crosley, U.S. Naval Attaché in Petrograd, Russia, for the Navy Department to send patrol vessels to Archangel “as many and as fast as possible.”[i] 

20 July Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels orders 21 more destroyers to be constructed based on existing designs.[ii] 

20 July Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson assigns Squadron Two, Cruiser Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, composed of protected cruiser Tacoma (C-18), and light cruisers Chattanooga (CL-16) and Denver (CL-14), to convoy duty from New York.[iii] 

20 July The armed yacht Noma (SP-131) sights and attacks a U-boat running on surface while patrolling off Cape Finisterre, Spain.[iv] 

20 July Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt wires Vice Admiral W. S. Sims, asking for the admiral’s opinion “on the advisability of building a few hundred additional submarine chasers to be finished by next spring, and sent to European waters.”[v] 

20 July The oiler Kanawha (AO-1) arrives at Queenstown, Ireland, with a cargo of fuel oil.[vi] 

20 July The destroyer Jacob Jones (DD-61) escorts British steamship Dafilia when the steamer takes a torpedo hit on its starboard side. Jacob Jones hunts the attacker and barely escapes a torpedo that passes 25 yards under her stern. After Jacob Jones slows to rescue 25 survivors of the sinking steamship, it again sights the submarine and reports another near torpedo miss astern. Jacob Jones continues to search the area until a nearby American merchantman cleared the area.[vii] 

21 July Vice Admiral W. S. Sims met with First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Jellicoe and Admiral Sir David Beatty and both British officers recommend that four American coal-burning battleships be dispatched at once to join the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow, Scotland.[viii] 

21 July Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels signs an order to construct 266 new destroyers and concurrently cease production of new battleships.[ix] 

21 July Schooner John Twohy is scuttled and sunk by German submarine U-155 off the Azores, 120 miles south of Ponta Delgada.[x] 

21 July Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson cables Vice Admiral W. S. Sims requesting recommendations in regard to desired modifications, general design changes, and reduced characteristics in order to expedite construction of additional destroyers.[xi] 

21 July The American schooner Augustus Welt is shelled, burned, and sunk by an enemy submarine in the Bay of Biscay.[xii]

________________

[i] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 19 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] William J. Williams, “Josephus Daniels and the U.S. Navy’s Shipbuilding Program During World War I” Journal of Military History 60, no. 1 (January 1996): 27.

[iii] Radiogram from OPNAV to USS Tacoma, USS Chattanooga, USS Denver, Commander, Squadron Two Cruiser Force, Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet, 20 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Feuer, Navy in World War I, 25–26.

[v] Cablegram from Franklin D. Roosevelt via Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, 20 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 20 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Extract from war diary for USS Jacob Jones, 29 July–5 August 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL; DANFS, entry for Jacob Jones I (DD-61), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/j/jacob-jones-i.html.

[viii] Senate Subcommittee on Naval Affairs, Naval Investigation Hearings, vol. I, 66th Cong., 2d sess., 1921: 2.

[ix] Still, Crisis at Sea, 384.

[x] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 10.

[xi] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 21 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 10.

[50]

22 July Gunboat Sacramento (PG-19) sails for European waters.[i] 

22 July Protected cruiser St. Louis (C-20) sails from Boston, Massachusetts for European waters carrying approximately 400 personnel of all ranks.[ii] 

22 July The convoy system is inaugurated in Mediterranean Sea by order of the British Admiralty.[iii] 

23 July A naval aviation ground school for prospective pilots and aviation ground officers opens at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a class of 43 students comprising the Naval Air Detachment under command of Lieutenant Edward H. McKitterick.[iv] 

23 July Aboard the armored cruiser Pittsburgh (CA-4), several saluting cartridges accidentally explode, killing two men and wounding several others. The explosion knocks Lieutenant Willis W. Bradley unconscious and Seaman Ora Graves hard to the deck. Regaining their bearings, Bradley crawls into the after casemate and extinguishes multiple fires in dangerous proximity to gunpowder, preventing even greater explosions, Graves, bleeding and stunned, crawls toward burning waste near the casemate and extinguishes it with his hands. For their heroism, Bradley and Graves each receive the Medal of Honor.[v] 

24–27 July Vice Admiral W. S. Sims attends naval and military conferences in Paris, which include discussion of naval forces in the Mediterranean, notably the strengthening of an Otranto Material Barrage. In his report to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson, Sims suggests that American destroyers or other warships could be sent to the Azores to prevent the islands from being used by the enemy as a staging area for U-boat operations, issues of mine barrages, and noted how “it was also made very apparent that closer coordination of effort should be immediately established between the United States and the Allies. All military future plans are certainly largely dependent upon America’s action.”[vi] 

25 July The German Hamburg-American passenger liner Vaterland is commissioned in the U.S. Navy as the troopship Leviathan (ID-1326) in New York harbor. During the war, Leviathan operates as a troop transport, carrying 110,591 American troops to France and England, 1/20th of the entire American Expeditionary Force.[vii] 

25 July The destroyers Ammen (DD-35), Jarvis (DD-38), Paulding (DD-22), Perkins (DD-26) and Wilkes (DD-67) spot and rescue survivors from the British cargo ship Huelva sunk two days earlier.[viii] 

25 July The destroyers Jarvis (DD-38) and Wilkes (DD-67) rescue 45 survivors of the British steamer Purley, sunk by a German submarine earlier in the day.[ix] 

25 July The destroyers Smith (DD-17) and Lamson (DD-18) arrive at Ponta Delgada, Azores. The following day, Smith rescues 100 castaways at Santa Maria Islands, survivors of five ships sunk by enemy submarines, and delivers them to Ponta Delgada. Smith’s commanding officer meets with the commanding officer of the collier Orion (AC-11) to deliver coded instructions for Orion to sail for Hampton Roads, Virginia, accompanied by the destroyers. He also meets with the American Consul at Ponta Delgada to register the cable address “Senafloat, Ponta Delgada.”[x]  

_____________

[i] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 28 July 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Cablegram from Washington to W. S. Sims, 25 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 116.

[iv] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 32; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 28; Besch, “Navy Second to None,” 271.

[v] “Bradley, Willis W., Lieutenant, USN (Retired) (1884–1954), NHHC, http://www.history.navy.mil/our-collections/photography/us-people/b/bradley-willis-w.html; William A. DuPuy and John W. Jenkins, The World War and Historic Deeds of Valor from Official Records and Illustrations of the United States and Allied Governments, vol. VI (Chicago: National Historic Pub. Association, 1919), 486–87; Navy Department, Record of Medals of Honor Issued to the Officers and Enlisted Men of the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard (Washington, DC: GPO, 1924), 43.

[vi] Letter from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, 30 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] History of the U.S.S. Leviathan: Cruiser and Transport Forces United States Atlantic Fleet (Brooklyn: Eagle Press, 1919), 7, 45–46. Daniels claimed 119,215 persons in total, including crew. See Daniels, Our Navy at War, 97.

[viii] DANFS, entry for Ammen I (Destroyer No. 35), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/a/ammen-i.html.

[ix] Extract from war diary of USS Jarvis, 25 July 1917; extract from war diary of USS Wilkes, 25 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Memorandum from J. P. Klein Jr., Commanding Officer, USS Smith, to A. M. Proctor, Commanding Officer, USS Panther, on operation of USS Smith and USS Lamson, 16–26 July 1917, 27 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[51]

26 July The oiler Kanawha (AO-1) sails from Queenstown, Ireland, for Norfolk, Virginia.[i] 

27 July Construction of Naval Aircraft Factory at Philadelphia Navy Yard is authorized for purposes of building aircraft, undertaking aeronautical developments, and providing aircraft construction cost data.[ii] 

27 July The steamer Carmelia is captured and sunk by an enemy submarine in the English Channel, 25 miles southwest of Lizard, England.[iii] 

27 July The German submarine U-44 captures and sinks the schooner John Hays Hammond with gunfire, 350 miles northwest of Ireland.[iv] 

27 July An Act of Congress authorizes the president to take possession of North Island, San Diego, California, for use by the Army and Navy in establishing permanent aviation stations and aviation schools.[v] 

27 July The destroyer McDougal (DD-54) rescues 24 survivors from the British steamer Begona #4, torpedoed and sunk that morning.[vi] 

27 July Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels cables Vice Admiral W. S. Sims about the Navy Department’s policy regarding troop transports, writing: “The paramount duty of the destroyers in European waters is principally the proper protection of transports with American troops. Be certain to detail an adequate convoy of destroyers and in making the detail bear in mind that everything is secondary to having a sufficient number to insure protection to American troops.”[vii] 

28 July The armed yacht Alcedo (SP-166), donated by George Drexel, is commissioned as a submarine chaser under command of Lieutenant Commander William T. Conn Jr.[viii] 

28 July Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson informs Vice Admiral W. S. Sims that six U.S. Coast Guard vessels will be augmenting the Gibraltar-based patrol force.[ix] 

28 July Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson authorizes Vice Admiral W. S. Sims to accept the British government’s offer to furnish coal to U.S. Navy patrol forces based at French ports.[x] 

28 July The destroyer Fanning (DD-37), while on patrol in the Irish Sea, sights several small boats in the morning hours and picks up a total of 57 survivors from the British steamer Belle of England, torpedoed on the afternoon of 27 July.[xi] 

28 July In a cablegram to Vice Admiral W. S. Sims, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels clarifies Navy Department policy regarding escorts for troopships, writing “The paramount duty of the destroyers in European waters is principally the proper protection of transports with American troops.”[xii]

_______________

[i] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 25 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 226; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 28; Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 64; Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 32.

[iii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 10.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 32; Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 226; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 28.

[vi] Extract from war diary for USS McDougal, 27 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Cablegram Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, 27 July 1917, Reel 1, ME-11, NDL; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 76; Daniels, Years of War and After, 95.

[viii] Feuer, Navy in World War I, 28; DANFS, entry for Alcedo, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/a/alcedo.html.

[ix] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 28 July 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Ibid.

[xi] Extract from war diary of USS Fanning, 28 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 76.

[52]

28 July Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels requests Secretary of State Robert Lansing to relay a message to U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain Walter Hines Page that the Navy Department desires a conference between the commanders in chief of the Allied governments to “secure the fullest cooperation of the American and Allied fleets and to discuss the best plans of operation to insure victory.” The Navy intends to send Admiral Henry T. Mayo and Vice Admiral W. S. Sims as its representatives at such a conference.[i] 

28 July President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2673-A, authorizing the discharge of specific persons at local Selective Service boards if they are employed by the federal government in the transmission of mails and artificers, or workmen employed in the federal armories, arsenals, and navy yards, or employed in the service of the federal government designated as exempted by the president.[ii] 

30 July The Bureau of Ordnance chief writes the Chief of Naval Operations with details about the MK VI mine and proposes a formal plan for a joint American-British northern mine barrage in the North Sea.[iii] 

30 July Work commences on extensions to Bancroft Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy. The extensions, once completed, provide 574 additional rooms for midshipmen, 52 new rooms for classes, offices, and additional purposes as well as enlarged spaces for the laundry and tailor shop.[iv] 

30 July The destroyer Benham (DD-49), while in the approaches to the English Channel, sighted a periscope wake, opens fire with its bow gun, and drops several depth charges. Crewmembers below decks also claim that the destroyer struck a submerged object. Bubbles and a large oil slick over the area result in Benham’s contact being classified as “probably seriously damaged.”[v] 

30 July The destroyer Winslow (DD-53) picks up 27 survivors of the British steamer Whitehall, torpedoed on the night of 28 July.[vi] 

31 July Vice Admiral W. S. Sims wires Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to report the Admiralty cordially welcomes the suggestion of a naval conference in London with Admiral Henry T. Mayo as the U.S. representative.[vii] 

31 July A contingent of 410 men arrive at the William Hood Dunwoody Industrial Institute of

Minneapolis, Minnesota, from the Great Lakes Naval Training Station for technical training in a variety of specialties. These are the first of 3,836 sailors to train at Dunwoody.[viii] 

31 July The tanker Motano is torpedoed and sunk by an enemy submarine, about 20 miles southeast of Start Point, England, killing 24.[ix]

_______________

[i] Letter from Josephus Daniels to Robert Lansing, 28 July 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Executive Order 2673-A, 28 July 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 20–23; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 110, 270.

[iv] Navy Department, Annual Report 1919, 86.

[v] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 102–103; war diary extract for USS Wilkes, 30 July 1917; letter from O. A. R. Murray to W. S. Sims, 21 August 1917; memorandum from D. Lyons, Commanding Officer, USS Benham, to W. S. Sims, on submarine engagement, 29 August 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Memorandum from Commanding Officer, USS Winslow, to W. S. Sims, on report of picking up survivors from SS Whitehall, 31 July 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 31 July 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Besch, “Navy Second to None,” 316.

[ix] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 10.

[53]

1 August Vice Admiral W. S. Sims issues Campaign Order No. 1 from Headquarters, U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters—destroyer flotillas based at Queenstown, Ireland; patrol squadrons operating on the French coast at Brest and Bordeaux; and the patrol squadron based on Gibraltar—which emphasizes local command and control and keeping the force commander informed of military operations performed or contemplated and of supply and financial needs.[i] 

1 August President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2676-A, enabling the United States to take possession of the whole of North Island, San Diego, California, for use by the Army and Navy for aviation school purposes.[ii] 

1 August The Bureau of Yards and Docks commences construction of Naval Training Camp Pelham Bay, New York, intended to house 5,000 men.[iii] 

1 August In a cablegram to Vice Admiral W. S. Sims, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson notes that the Navy Department does not wish to limit Sims’s initiative in any way regarding all matters directly connected with naval policy, but reminds the vice admiral that “questions which involve national policy should not be initiated by you.”[iv] 

1 August The destroyer Conyngham (DD-58) searches for survivors of the sunken British steamer Karina. She locates and recovers 39 survivors and three bodies.[v] 

1 August The French transport Rochambeau sails from New York for Bordeaux, France, with a detachment of 60 Army clerks and six draftsmen for duty with engineer regiments in France, together with several Army Medical Corps personnel.[vi] 

2 August Vice Admiral W. S. Sims reports to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations that there is ample room for three battleships of any size in Berehaven, Ireland.[vii] 

2 August Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels requests that every officer in the Navy submit their views and plans to the Chief of Naval Operations “in order that nothing may be left undone by the American Navy to win the war.” Those officers submitting plans “that give promise of helping to secure victory” will be ordered to Washington for consultation.[viii] 

3 August While on patrol, the destroyer Parker (DD-48) acquires a report of a submarine 30 miles away. Reaching the scene, she finds the cargo ship Newby Hall had been attacked and escorts the merchantman to port. Returning to locate the submarine, Parker sights her and drops two depth charges over an oil slick left after she submerged. This brings up more oil, bubbles, and bits of debris. The Admiralty later credits Parker’s contact as “probably seriously damaged” by the destroyer.[ix] 

3 August Troop transports Tenadores, transport Henry R. Mallory (ID-1280), and store ship Pastores (ID-4540/AF-16) sail for St. Nazaire, France, carrying 139 officers and 3,668 troops of the Fifth Field Artillery less Batteries E and F, Sixth Field Artillery, Seventh Field Artillery less Battery F, and Second Field Battalion Signal Corps.[x]

______________

[i] Campaign Order No. 1, U.S. Naval Forces operating in European Waters, 1 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Executive Order 2676-A, 1 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 55.

[iv] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 1 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[v] War extract from USS Tucker, 1 August 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL; DANFS, entry for Conyngham I (Destroyer No. 58), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/c/conyngham-i.html.

[vi] Cablegram from William S. Benson to John J. Pershing, 4 August 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 2 August 1918, Reel 5, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Radiogram from Josephus Daniels to ALNAV, 2 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Memorandum from Halsey Powell, Commanding Officer, USS Parker, to W. S. Sims, on report of action with enemy submarine, 5 August 1917; letter from W. S. Sims to Halsey Powell, 13 December 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 60–61.

[x] Cablegram from William S. Benson to John J. Pershing via W. S. Sims, 3 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[54]

3 August President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2677, transferring the ex-German cargo ships Andromeda and Staatssekretar Solf from the U.S. Shipping Board to the Navy Department.[i] 

3 August Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves is designated as Commander of the Transport Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.[ii] 

4 August In response to apparent submarine attacks on the passenger liners-turned-troop transports St. Louis and Philadelphia, Vice Admiral W. S. Sims cables Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels and requests to be informed of the sailings and to direct the troop transports to travel in British liner convoys to ensure safe passage.[iii] 

4 August Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson issues a memorandum clarifying the general policy of convoying troop transports to Vice Admiral W. S. Sims and the commander of the Cruiser Force, notably in regard to the responsibility to provide naval escorts at the points of embarkation and debarkation.[iv] 

5 August The armed yacht Alcedo (SP-166) departs Newport, Rhode Island, via Newfoundland and the Azores for Brest, France.[v] 

5 August Vice Admiral W. S. Sims writes to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson regarding U.S. shipping in European water to clarify the plans and instructions currently in use to govern the handling of American troop transports, shipping of supplies to the American Expeditionary Force, and mercantile shipping.[vi] 

6 August The armed steamer Campana encounters German submarine U-61 in the Mediterranean Sea and engages in a running gun duel for several hours before finally running out of ammunition and being forced to abandon ship. The Germans capture the ship, remove valuables and instrumentation, and then sink her with scuttling charges. Before departing, the Germans take the Campana’s captain, Alfred Oliver, and five members of the Naval Armed Guard—Chief Gunners Mate James Delaney, Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class R. Roop, Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class C. Q. Kline, Seaman 2nd Class W. A. Mill, and Seaman 2nd Class F. S. Jacob—as prisoners. These are the first Americans taken prisoner in World War I.[vii] 

7 August Submarine O-6 (SS-67) is mistakenly attacked by both a British merchant ship and the destroyer Paul Jones (DD-10). While under fire, O-6 commander Lieutenant A. S. Glann signals the submarine’s identity to the attacking vessels. Glann later receives the Navy Cross for his heroism.[viii] 

7 August Vice Admiral W. S. Sims wires the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to report that facilities at Brest, France, are “overtaxed and unable to meet U.S. requirements for repairs to patrol vessels based there.” Sims recommends building a small facility at Pauillac on a site selected by the French as a storage depot and to base a repair vessel there.[ix] 

7 August The German submarine U-155 scuttles and sinks the bark Christiane, about 200 miles east of St. Michaels, Azores.[x]

______________

[i] Executive Order 2677, 3 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Beers, “Office of Naval Operations, Part II,” 35.

[iii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 2 August 1917, RG45, NARA, Reel 2A.

[iv] Memorandum from William S. Benson to Commanding Officer, U.S. Naval Forces in European Waters and Commander of Cruiser Force, 4 August 1917, RG45, NARA, Reel 2A.

[v] DANFS, entry for Alcedo, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/a/alcedo.html.

[vi] W. S. Sims to William S. Benson on “U.S. Shipping in European Waters,” 5 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 10; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 49–50; cablegram from William R. Sayles to W. S. Sims, 8 August 1917; cablegram from William R. Sayles to W. S. Sims, 10 August 1917; letter from Andrew L. Mellgard to D. T. Warden, 9 August 1917; Office of Naval Intelligence, report of commanding officer of armed guard on board the S.S. Campana, 29 August 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 178.

[viii] Feuer, Navy in World War I, 42; Stringer, Distinguished Service, 73–74.

[ix] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 7 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 10.

[55]

7 August Through an oral agreement between Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels and Rear Admiral Washington L. Camps, General Manager of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, the parties state “that in the present emergency merchant vessels suitable for the purpose of the Emergency Fleet Corporation and now under construction at private shipbuilding yards will be given precedence over battle cruisers and scout cruisers, and also of battle ships where battle ships are not actually laid down on the building slips.” The parties also agree that “It is fully understood of course that the destroyer program takes precedence over everything.”[i] 

7 August Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels approves plans to establish one training station and three coastal patrol air stations in France.[ii] 

8 August The armed yacht Noma (SP-131) attacks German submarine UC-71, which had shelled and torpedoed the British Q-ship HMS Dunraven. Noma’s depth charge attack forces the submarine to withdraw, saving the damaged Dunraven until British destroyers arrive to take the wounded and tow the Q-ship to port.[iii] 

8 August Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson writes Vice Admiral W. S. Sims to report that U.S. Army authorities have been requested to insist to owners that American liners carrying more than 100 troops be required to join British liner convoys sailing out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Benson, in a second cable, reports to Sims that every effort will also be made to place the bulk of supply ships into convoys departing from Hampton Roads, Virginia.[iv] 

8 August The scout cruiser Birmingham (CS-2) with Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson aboard, together with a patrol force of four other ships, sails for Gibraltar.[v] 

9 August The Bureau of Ordnance places a contract for 10,000 mine-firing mechanisms (K-1 devices) destined for use in the MK VI mines of the North Sea Mine Barrage.[vi] 

9 August USCGC Seneca departs New York for the Azores.[vii] 

9 August Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson issues instructions to the commandants of all domestic navy yards and the Bureaus of Navigation, Construction and Repair, Ordnance, and Steam Engineering regarding the installation of guns on merchant vessels slated to receive Naval Armed Guards.[viii] 

10 August Ground is broken for the Naval Aircraft Factory at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania.[ix] 

11 August The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations cables Vice Admiral W. S. Sims, informing him that the C-Tube listening device is being shipped to the Admiralty for submarine detection work and that 12 trawlers and 12 submarine chasers destined for France are equipped with the devices.[x] 

11 August President Woodrow Wilson delivers an address aboard the battleship Pennsylvania (BB-38) at Yorktown, Virginia, to Admiral Henry T. Mayo and officers of the Atlantic Fleet, where the president notes how “We are hunting hornets all over the farm and letting the nest alone. None of us knows how to go to the nest and crush it, yet I despair of hunting for hornets all over the sea when I know where the nest is and know that the nest is breeding hornets as fast as I can find them. I am willing for my part, and I know you are willing because I know the stuff you are made of, I am willing to sacrifice half the navy Great Britain and we together have to crush that nest, because if we crush it, the war is won.”[xi]

____________

[i] Letter from Josephus Daniels to General Manager of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, 7 August 1917; letter from Washington L. Camps to Josephus Daniels, 7 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, 7 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 33; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 28.

[iii] Still, Crisis at Sea, 400; Husband, Coast of France, 11; Feuer, Navy in World War I, 26; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 102–103.

[iv] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 8 August 1917; cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 8 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 8 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 50.

[vii] Larzelere, Coast Guard, 41.

[viii] Circular letter from William S. Benson to Commandants, Navy Yards at Boston, New York, Portsmouth, Washington, Norfolk, Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, Charleston, and Puget Sound, and Bureaus of Navigation, Construction and Repair, Ordnance, and Steam Engineering, about details for fitting out Armed Guards for merchant ships, 9 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 33; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 29.

[x] Cablegram from OPNAV to W. S. Sims, 11 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Copy of speech from The President to the Officers of the Atlantic Fleet, 11 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 145–48.

[56]

11 August Headquarters, U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters issues Force Instructions No. 1, clarifying that the U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters constitute a task force of the Atlantic Fleet, whose flag officer is officially styled the force commander with his flag aboard the destroyer tender Melville (AD-2), stationed in Queenstown, Ireland, and outlining the disposition of forces and bases.[i] 

12 August In response to an increase in collisions, Vice Admiral W. S. Sims issues information and guidance to the destroyer force of the U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.[ii] 

12 August A force of six armed yachts sails from St. John’s in Newfoundland for France by way of the Azores.[iii] 

12 August The Norwegian cargo ship Falkland is sunk while under escort by the destroyer Paulding (DD-22) and other vessels.[iv] 

13 August The motor boat Nemes (SP-424) is destroyed by fire near Key West, Florida.[v] 

13 August District One training camp at Hingham, Massachusetts, is established.[vi] 

13 August In a general report to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, Vice Admiral W. S. Sims strongly recommends that the Bureau of Ordnance and Admiralty establish closer cooperation in regard to the design, manufacture, and supply of mines and depth charges in order to mitigate against confusion and miscommunication.[vii] 

14 August Lieutenant Edward O. McDonnell launches the first torpedo from a seaplane in U.S. Navy history at Huntington Bay, New York.[viii] 

14 August China enters World War I by declaring war on Austria-Hungary and Germany. All U.S. Navy gunboats seized in May are released from internment on 16 August and their breech blocks returned from the consul general on 21 August.[ix] 

15 August Admiral Henry T. Mayo, Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, confers with Rear Admiral Ralph Earle and members of the Bureau of Ordnance’s mine section about the MK VI mine and its value for the proposed North Sea Mine Barrage. The bureau personnel provide Mayo, on his way to England, with assorted information about the mine and the proposed barrage.[x] 

15 August The armed yacht Noma (SP-131) engages a surfaced U-boat in a gun duel which continues until the submarine submerges.[xi]

______________

[i] Force Instructions No. 1, U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, about organization and communications, 11 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii]Memorandum from W. S. Sims to U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, about averting of collisions, 12 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 14 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] DANFS, entry for Paulding, (Destroyer No. 22), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/p/paulding.html.

[v] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 4.

[vi] Besch, “Navy Second to None,” 230.

[vii] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, about general report, period 31 July to 8 August 1917, 13 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 33; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 29.

[ix] Radiogram from Josephus Daniels to ALNAV, 15 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; Feuer, Navy in World War I, 115; William R. Braisted, The United States Navy in the Pacific, 1909–1922 (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1971), 315; Tolley, Yangtze Patrol, 80.

[x] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 23–27.

[xi] Husband, Coast of France, 10–11.

[57]

15 August Vice Admiral W. S. Sims wires the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to request that “only regularly commissioned and experienced officers be sent for duty with destroyers,” due to the highly specialized elements of the vessels and the “nature of their present service.”[i] 

16 August The gunboat Sacramento (PG-19) enters the harbor at Gibraltar, the first American warship to arrive for a force assigned to operate out of the British fortress.[ii] 

16 August Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels cables Vice Admiral W. S. Sims, directing him to oversee the procurement of the “best obtainable satisfactory type seaplane complete with engines and necessary spares in sufficient numbers to provide until April 1918 for needs of air stations now authorized.”[iii] 

17 August At dawn, the armed yacht Noma (SP-131) sights a large U-boat watching convoys close to the French coast and straddles it with salvos until it submerges.[iv] 

17 August The scout cruiser Birmingham (CS-2) arrives at the harbor at Gibraltar with Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson aboard to commence establishment of U.S. Navy base in the Mediterranean Sea.[v] 

17 August The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations details officers to command the Naval Armed Guards aboard U.S. Army transport and cargo vessels.[vi] 

17 August The Navy Department transfers Captain William H. G. Bullard from command of the battleship Arkansas (BB-33) to Malta with the rank of temporary rear admiral. Bullard will arrive in Malta on 23 August.[vii] 

17 August Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson wires Vice Admiral W. S. Sims to report that the Bureau of Ordnance has “developed [a] mine which it is hoped may have decisive influence upon operations against submarine[s]. Utmost secrecy [is] considered necessary. Request that [the] officer representing [the] Admiralty clothed with power to decide be sent here and inspect and thoroughly test mine if found satisfactory arrange for co-operation in mine operation.”[viii] 

17 August Vice Admiral W. S. Sims cables the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, reporting an urgent need for four coal burning dreadnoughts and six destroyer escorts. The American dreadnoughts are requested to fill a gap in the Grand Fleet caused by the decommissioning of one King Edward-class dreadnought due to personnel shortages, and five more decommissionings scheduled by end of the year.[ix]

______________

[i] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 15 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Still, Crisis at Sea, 478; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 117.

[iii] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims via U.S. Naval Attaché in London, 16 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] DANFS, entry for Noma (S.P. 131), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/n/noma.html.

[v] Memorandum from Henry B. Wilson to W. S. Sims, on report of operations patrol squadron based on Gibraltar, 17–25 August, 25 August 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL; Still, Crisis at Sea, 478; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 117.

[vi] Radiogram from OPNAV to Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, 17 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Still, Crisis at Sea, 480.

[viii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 17 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 17 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[58]

18 August Admiral Henry T. Mayo, Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, sails from New York aboard the troop transport St. Louis for Liverpool together with his staff composed of Captain O. P. Jackson, Commander Ernest J. King, Commander D. C. Bingham, Lieutenant Commander A. B. Cook, Lieutenant Commander Leigh Noyes, Lieutenant H. W. McCormack, Naval Constructor W. G. DuBose, Paymaster J. H. Hatch, and six enlisted men.[i] 

18 August The Bureau of Ordnance commences shipping the latest type 14-inch, 45-caliber guns to the Admiralty for use on shallow draft monitors bombarding the Belgian coast.[ii] 

18 August The gunboat Nashville (PG 7) arrives at Gibraltar.[iii] 

19 August Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson replies to Vice Admiral W. S. Sims’s request of 17 August for dreadnoughts, stating that “the strategic situation necessitates keeping battleship force concentrated and cannot therefore consider the suggestion of sending a part of it across. The logistics of the situation would prevent the entire force going over except in case of extreme necessity.”[iv] 

19 August The British steamer Spectator is struck by a torpedo on its port side while under American destroyer escort. The destroyer Paulding (DD-22) recovers 46 survivors accounting for the entire crew, but Spectator sinks.[v] 

19–20 August German U-boats attack an American convoy of troop transports while approaching the French coast. Although no ships are lost, the attacks badly disorganized control of the convoy, calling into question the policies of escort protection as Naval Armed Guards aboard the transports almost hit the escorting destroyers with gunfire.[vi] 

20 August The British sloop Zinnia collides with the destroyer Benham (DD-49), nearly sinking the latter. Zinnia later tows Benham to Queenstown, Ireland.[vii] 

20 August The destroyers Conyngham (DD-58), Cummings (DD-44), and McDougal (DD-54) arrive at Chatham, England.[viii] 

20 August Relaying orders from Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, Admiral Henry T. Mayo, Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, orders Rear Admiral Albert W. Grant to assume command of Battleship Division One with his flag aboard Minnesota (BB-22), Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman assumes command of Battleship Division Two with his flag aboard Missouri (BB-11), Captain Frank M. Bennett takes command of Battleship Division Three with his flag aboard Rhode Island (BB-17), and Captain Samuel S. Robinson assumes command of Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet, with his flag on the submarine tender Chicago (CA-14).[ix] 

21 August The C-Tube listening device, later evolved into the K-Tube, is demonstrated in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts. The C-Tube is a primitive hydrophone for detecting submerged submarines.[x] 

21 August A U.S. Naval Port Office opened in St. Nazaire, France.[xi]

______________

[i] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 15 August 1917; memorandum from Henry T. Mayo to Josephus Daniels, on progress of naval mission, 30 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 62.

[iii] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 117.

[iv] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 19 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[v] DANFS, entry for Paulding, (Destroyer No. 22), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/p/paulding.html.

[vi] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, on Conduct of Group 6 troop transports, 30 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Memorandum from D. Lyons, Commanding Officer, USS Benham to W. S. Sims, on report of collision with HMS Zinnia, 24 August 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL; DANFS, entry for Benham I (DD-49), (Destroyer No. 49), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/b/benham-i.html; memorandum from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, on general weekly report—period of 18–30 August 1917, 30 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Telegram from Admiral Chatham to Admiralty, 20 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Radiogram from Henry T. Mayo to Josephus Daniels, 20 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Navy Department, Engineering, 55; Scott, Naval Consulting Board, 76.

[xi] Wilson, American Navy in France, 114.

[59]

21 August President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2687, authorizing the Secretary of the Navy to exercise all power and authority vested in the President and in selected legislation in furtherance of the construction of vessels for use by the Navy and of contracts for the construction and completion of such vessels and all power and authority applicable to and in furtherance of the production, purchase, and requisitioning of materials for construction of vessels for the Navy and of war materials, equipment, and munitions required for use of the Navy.[i] 

22 August Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson approves the establishment of a naval aeronautics headquarters in Paris.[ii] 

22 August The armed yachts Alcedo (SP-166), Remlik (SP-157), Wanderer (SP-132), Carola IV (SP-812), Corona (SP-813), and Guinevere (SP-512), and patrol boat Emeline (SP-175), sail from the Azores for Brest, France.[iii] 

23 August Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson, Commander, Patrol Force Gibraltar, cables Vice Admiral W. S. Sims, recommending that several well-armed yachts be sent to Gibraltar.[iv] 

23 August Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson attaches yachts sailing from St. Johns, Newfoundland, to France to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in France.[v] 

23 August The German submarine U-93 captures and sinks with gunfire the schooner Carl F. Cressy, 180 miles northwest of Cape Finisterre, Spain.[vi] 

24 August Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson approves the establishment of an additional naval aviation station at Brest, France.[vii] 

25 August The cargo ships Houston (AK-1), Carib (ID-1765), Newport News (AK-3), and mine carrier Ozama arrive at Brest carrying 13,000 tons of coal and a large quantity of lubricating oil to supply the patrol force in French waters.[viii] 

25 August The patrol boat Elfrida (SP-988) suffers an explosion while making passage from Norfolk to Yorktown, Virginia, killing one.[ix] 

26 August The converted armed yacht Wakiva II (SP-160), cargo ship Bath (ID-1997/AK-4), six submarine chasers, and ten minesweepers sail from Provincetown, Massachusetts, for Brest, France.[x] 

26 August Admiral Henry T. Mayo and his staff arrive in Liverpool, England, and dock the following day.[xi] 

26 August All American gunboats, previously interned by the Chinese government, return to full commission in advance of those of other nations.[xii]

_______________

[i] Executive Order 2687, 21 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 22 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to William B. Fletcher, 23 August 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Cablegram from Commander, Patrol Force Gibraltar to W. S. Sims, 23 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 23 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 11.

[vii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 24 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, on general weekly report—period of 18–30 August 1917, 30 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 4.

[x] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 26 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; Wilson, American Navy in France, 24, 123–24.

[xi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 27 August 1917; memorandum from Henry T. Mayo to Josephus Daniels, on progress of naval mission, 30 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Braisted, Navy in the Pacific, 315.

[60]

27 August President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2692 establishing defensive sea areas for terminal ports of the Panama Canal and providing regulations for the government of persons and vessels within these areas.[i] 

28 August Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson orders the naval attaché in London to serve as the intelligence officer on the staff of Vice Admiral W. S. Sims. The naval attachés in Paris; Rome; Madrid; Petrograd, Russia; and Copenhagen, Denmark, are likewise to communicate directly with Sims through his new intelligence officer. Benson also reports that naval attachés will be appointed to The Hague, Stockholm, and Copenhagen at the earliest practicable date and instructed to report to Sims’s intelligence officer.[ii] 

28 August Admiral Henry T. Mayo, after consultation with First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, Admiral Sir David Beatty, and Vice Admiral W. S. Sims, cables the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and recommends sending one division of submarines and the monitor tender Tonopah (BM-8) to the Azores, and then sending the tender Panther (AD-6) and Destroyer Division One to operate from Brest, France. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson approves these recommendations on 31 August.[iii] 

29 August Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson, in a circular letter to the commandants of all domestic navy yards, orders that Naval Armed Guards will not be furnished to any merchant vessel not fitted with a radio, and that those guards previously furnished will be removed unless the ship owners indicate intent to equip the vessel with radio.[iv] 

29 August The schooner Laura C. Anderson is captured and sunk by an enemy submarine in the English Channel, 15 miles east of Barfleur, France.[v] 

29 August USCGC Manning and gunboat Wheeling (PG-14) sail from Charleston, South Carolina, for Gibraltar. USCGC Seneca arrives at Ponta Delgada, Azores.[vi] 

30 August The armed yachts Alcedo (SP-166), Remlik (SP-157), Wanderer (SP-132), Guinevere (SP-512), Corona (SP-813), Carola IV (SP-812), and patrol boat Emeline (SP-175) arrive in Brest, France, as the Second U.S. Patrol Squadron Operating in European Waters.[vii] 

30 August USCGC Ossipee arrives at Gibraltar for convoy escort duty, assigned to Squadron Two of the Patrol Forces of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.[viii] 

30 August Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson inquires with the Bureau of Navigation as to “how many recruit seamen, firemen, [and] machinists mates can be received on destroyers and tenders [and] put into training. . . in addition can more be put in barracks on shore” to accelerate training for new destroyers under construction.[ix] 

30 August The Lighthouse Service’s biological station at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, is turned over to the Navy as a base for the patrol fleet.[x] 

30 August Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson wires Vice Admiral W. S. Sims to report that the tender Panther (AD-6) will serve as a repair ship at Brest, France.  The passenger liner Bridgeport is being converted to a destroyer tender for Pauillac, France, while Savannah (ID-3015/AS-8) is being converted to assist Bushnell (AS-2) as submarine tenders, and Prairie (AD-5) is being fitted as a destroyer tender for home waters.[xi]

______________

[i] Executive Order 2692, 27 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 28 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Cablegram from Henry T. Mayo to OPNAV, 29 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Circular letter from William S. Benson to Commandants, Boston, Portsmouth, Charleston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, New Orleans, Puget Sound, Mare Island, and Norfolk Navy Yards, on armed guards not to be assigned to ships not fitted with radio installation, 29 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 11.

[vi] Larzelere, Coast Guard, 41–42.

[vii] Cablegram from William B. Fletcher to W. S. Sims, 30 August 1917; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 31 August 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL; Still, Crisis at Sea, 389; Husband, Coast of France, 9.

[viii] Larzelere, Coast Guard, 41, 50.

[ix] Cablegram from William S. Benson to Bureau of Navigation, 30 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 128.

[xi] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 30 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[61]

30 August Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels orders Captain William D. MacDougall, U.S. Naval Attaché in London, to assume duties as intelligence officer on the staff of Vice Admiral W. S. Sims “in addition to present duties.”[i] 

30 August Vice Admiral W. S. Sims reports to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations that the Admiralty has offered the passenger liner RMS Olympic—sister ship of the ill-fated RMS Titanic—for use as a troop transport, if desired.[ii] 

30 August The U.S. Naval Communication and Telegraph Office opens at headquarters of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, 30 Grosvenor Gardens, London, England.[iii] 

31 August Naval Air Station Moutchic, a flight and ground training station, is established in France.[iv] 

31 August Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson asks Admiral Henry T. Mayo to request the British to send a few destroyers to aid the Italians in the Adriatic Sea, “in view of condition and the fact we are sending over so many antisubmarine craft.”[v] 

1 September The gunboat Marietta (PG-15) and USCGCs Yamacraw and Algonquin sail for Gibraltar.[vi] 

1 September Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels cables the naval attaché in London enquiring “what success has there been against submarines with special ships fitted for carrying bomb dropping hydroaeroplanes?” Vice Admiral W. S. Sims replies on 5 September, stating no ships are fitted for seaplanes as no suitable ships are available and the seaplanes are assigned to shore.[vii] 

4 September USCGC Seneca arrives at Gibraltar and is assigned to Squadron Two of the Patrol Forces of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.[viii] 

4 September Vice Admiral W. S. Sims writes Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson that “it is not at all inconceivable that German submarines may operate off the main harbors of America or the Panama Canal,” and recommends that the Navy Department be prepared for the situation by preparing well-defined channels into harbors maintained by constant sweeping and preparing lines of approach for ships into harbors.[ix] 

4 September Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson wires Vice Admiral W. S. Sims to report that by 2 October, the forces at the Azores should consist of one division of submarines, the monitor tender Tonopah (BM-8), yacht Atlantic, and destroyers Whipple (DD-15) and Truxton (DD-14), all of which are placed under Sim’s general instruction, although the yacht is to remain in the general operating area from the Azores to the Canary Islands.[x]

_______________

[i] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to William D. MacDougall, 30 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 30 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to Secretary, British Admiralty, Whitehall, about communications, 30 August 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 33.

[v] Cablegram from William S. Benson to Henry T. Mayo, 31 August 1917, RG45, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Larzelere, Coast Guard, 42.

[vii] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to William D. MacDougall, 1 September 1917; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 5 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Larzelere, Coast Guard, 50; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 122.

[ix] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on approach routes to Atlantic Coast ports, 4 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 6 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[62]

4–5 September An Allied naval conference is held in London between British and American naval officials. The United States is represented by Admiral Henry T. Mayo and Vice Admiral W. S. Sims. The parties discuss the North Sea Mine Barrage and agree that it should not be undertaken until sufficient supplies of mines were obtained.[i] 

5 September Destroyer Jacob Jones (DD-61) sights a surfaced submarine in the evening hours. The submarine submerges before the destroyer can fire a shot, but after a depth charge is dropped, a large pool of oil appears. Three crewmen on the Jacob Jones report seeing a body of a man close to the oil, but repeated searches prove futile. Commander-in-Chief Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly concludes that submarine was probably damaged in the attack.[ii] 

5 September Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels authorizes the establishment of two dirigible stations in France in response to a French offer to supply armaments and five dirigibles.[iii] 

7 September Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson requests that Admiral Henry T. Mayo and Vice Admiral W. S. Sims express their views in regard to a request to send battleships or other warships to Norway in the event that country enters the war.[iv] 

7 September A winged, foul anchor is adopted as the official device to be worn on left breast by all qualified naval aviators.[v] 

7 September The U.S. Shipping Board provides Secretary of State Robert Lansing with a statement for the British in regard to the official views of the U.S. government. Mainly, that it is the first duty of the United States to safeguard its sea lines of communication to France for the safe passage of troop and supply ships. Subsequently, the United States will not turn over any existing merchant tonnage or that under construction to foreign nations without first attending to the needs of the American Expeditionary Force and then the Allied nations.[vi] 

7 September Radio signals sent from a Curtiss R-6 seaplane flying from Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, are received by Naval Radio Station New Orleans, Louisiana, 140 miles away. Later tests lead to additional orders for 300 Simon radio transmitters.[vii] 

8 September A site at Naval Operating Base Hampton Roads, Virginia, is established as an air training station and patrol base to conduct experimental work in seaplane operations.[viii] 

8 September The schooner William H. Clifford is scuttled and sunk by the German submarine U-88, west of the Cotentin Peninsula, France.[ix] 

8 September Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly convenes a conference in Queenstown, Ireland, of British and American commanding officers of all sloops, destroyers, and service ships to compile suggestions for the best means of sinking submarines and protecting shipping. Vice Admiral W. S. Sims passes the conference conclusions, an array of technical and tactical operational and formational suggestions, to the Admiralty for consideration.[x]

________________

[i] Telegram from British Foreign Office to French and Italian government, 17 August 1917; cablegram from Henry T. Mayo to OPNAV, 5 September 1917; cablegram from Henry T. Mayo to OPNAV, 6 September 1917; memorandum from Henry T. Mayo to Josephus Daniels, on report of international naval conference held in London, 4–5 September 1917 and kindred matters, 8 September 1917; cablegram from Henry T. Mayo to William S. Benson, 5 September 1917; cablegram from Henry T. Mayo to William S. Benson, 6 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; Jones, Battleship Operations, 11; Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 29–30; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 132–33.

[ii] Letter from Lewis Bayly to Admiralty, 15 September 1917; memorandum from commanding officer, USS Jacob Jones to W. S. Sims, on reports action with submarine September 5, 1917, 9 September 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 30 August 1917; cablegram from Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, 5 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Cablegram from William S. Benson to Henry T. Mayo and W. S. Sims, 7 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 33; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 29.

[vi] Cablegram from Robert Lansing to Walter H. Page, 7 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 11.

[x] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to Commander, Patrol Squadrons based on Gibraltar, 12 September 1917; memorandum from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, on monthly meeting of commanding officers on vessels engaged in anti-submarine operations, 15 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[63]

9 September The Bureau of Navigation authorizes a hydrophone school for training officers to supervise the installation, care, maintenance, and repair of the devices.[i] 

10 September Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson reports to Vice Admiral W. S. Sims that hydroaeroplane engines to meet established requirements cannot be constructed in the United States.[ii] 

10 September The scout cruiser Chester (CS-1) and armed yacht Yankton arrive at Gibraltar, and the cargo ship Houston (AK-1) arrives at Queenstown, Ireland, while the oiler Cuyama (AO-3), cargo ship Newport News (AK-3), and mine carrier Ozama sail for Hampton Roads, Virginia.[iii] 

10 September Vice Admiral W. S. Sims breaks his flag on the destroyer tender Melville (AD-2).[iv] 

10 September Vice Admiral W. S. Sims replies to an Office of the Chief of Naval Operations inquiry that he can accommodate 35 quartermasters or seamen for quarters training, 35 radio electricians, 70 machinists mates, 180 seamen, and 180 firemen for training on destroyers.[v] 

10 September Columbia University’s Mechanical Engineering Department convenes its first submarine chaser engine school to train engineers on gasoline engine maintenance.[vi] 

11 September Vice Admiral W. S. Sims reports to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels that nine regularly organized mercantile convoys arrive in British waters every eight days, originating from Sydney, Australia; Cape Breton, Nova Scotia; Hampton Roads, Virginia; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Dakar, French West Africa; Freetown, Sierra Leone; and two convoys from New York and Gibraltar.[vii] 

12 September Vice Admiral W. S. Sims provides Rear Admiral William B. Fletcher, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in French Waters, with clarification on his primary and secondary missions. The primary duty is the protection of inbound and outbound troop and supply transports, with a secondary duty to coordinate to the fullest extent with French forces.[viii] 

12 September The German submarine U-64 torpedoes and sinks the cargo ship Wilmore in the Mediterranean Sea, about four miles east of Hormigas Light, Cape Palos, Spain.[ix] 

13 September A total of 15 armed yachts are based at Brest, France, engaged in escort duty for inbound and outbound convoys.[x] 

14 September The first class of the Annapolis Reserve Officer Program graduates and is commissioned from the U.S. Naval Academy after receiving ten weeks of education and training to serve in the line corps.[xi] 

14 September The cargo ship Carib (ID-1765) spots and picks up one officer and seven men from the British merchant steamship Vienna, torpedoed and sunk on 11 September.[xii]

______________

[i] Navy Department, Engineering, 59–60.

[ii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 10 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 10 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Memorandum from J. R. Poinsett Pringle to U.S. Destroyer Flotillas Operating in European waters, on hoisting flag of Vice Admiral Sims on U.S.S. Melville and visit of Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet to Queenstown, 5 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 10 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Besch, “Navy Second to None,” 311.

[vii] Letter from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, 11 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William B. Fletcher, on employment of U.S. naval vessels in French waters, 12 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 11.

[x] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, on operations of forces based on French coast, 13 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Besch, “Navy Second to None,” 190–95.

[xii] Memorandum from Commanding Officer, USS Aphrodite, to Commander, U.S. Patrol Squadron, on rescue at sea, boat party, British ship Vienna, 14 September 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[64]

15 September USCGC Tampa sails for Gibraltar.[i] 

15 September Margaret La Mothe joins the Bureau of Ordnance as its first female civil service employee.[ii] 

15 September The Admiralty accepts the U.S. Navy’s offer of MK VI mines and of combined joint operations for installing a mine barrage in the North Sea.[iii] 

15 September The German submarine U-63 torpedoes and sinks the tanker Platuria, west from Gibraltar off Tangier, killing ten.[iv] 

15 September The Navy Department authorizes the establishment of 15 naval air stations overseas to be in operation by 1 July 1918, each equipped for seaplane operations; five would also have facilities for operation of airships and supporting kite balloon operations.[v] 

16 September USCGCs Manning and Yamacraw arrive at Gibraltar for convoy escort duty.[vi] 

16 September An enemy submarine captures and sinks the American schooner Ann J. Trainer 30 miles off Ushant, France.[vii] 

17 September A kite balloon from the armored cruiser Huntington (CA-5) is hit by squall. While being retrieved by the ship, the balloon struck the water hard enough to knock the observer, Lieutenant (j.g.) Henry W. Hoyt out of the basket where he became entangled in the lines. Shipfitter 2nd Class Patrick McGunigal went over side, cleared the lines, and secured a line on Hoyt to haul him aboard. McGunigal was later awarded the Medal of Honor.[viii] 

18 September A production program for 1,700 operational aircraft is established on the basis of a report issued by the Joint Technical Board of Aircraft.[ix] 

18 September The destroyers Whipple (DD-15) and Truxtun (DD-14) along with the gunboat Wheeling (PG-14) arrive in the Azores.[x] 

18 September The armed yacht Wakiva II (SP-160), minesweepers Anderton (SP-530), Cahill (SP-493), Rehoboth (SP-384), Lewes (SP-383), Otis W. Douglas (SP-313), P. K. Bauman (SP-377), Courtney, and Hinton (SP-485), together with cargo ship Bath (ID-1997/AK-4) and five French submarine chasers arrive in Brest, France.[xi] 

20 September At an urgent request from General John J. Pershing for coal for the American Expeditionary Force, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson orders Vice Admiral W. S. Sims to place the cargo ship Bath (ID-1997/AK-4) into service ferrying coal between England and France and advises of the possible use of the collier Nero (AC-17) for similar duty. In his reply of 22 September, Sims reports the situation is “being taken up vigorously.”[xii] 

21 September The Navy Department detaches Destroyer Division C from the Asiatic Fleet and assigns it for duty with Commander, Patrol Force Gibraltar.[xiii]

______________

[i] Larzelere, Coast Guard, 41.

[ii] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 24.

[iii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 15 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 11.

[v] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 15 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 33; Feuer, Navy in World War I, 124–26.

[vi] Larzelere, Coast Guard, 50–51.

[vii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 11.

[viii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 33; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 29; Feuer, Navy in World War I, 93–94; William A. DuPuy and John W. Jenkins, The World War and Historic Deeds of Valor from Official Records and Illustrations of the United States and Allied Governments, vol. VI (Chicago: National Historic Pub. Association, 1919), 486; Navy Department, Record of Medals of Honor Issued, 80.

[ix] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 33; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 29.

[x] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 18 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Telephone message from William R. Sayles to C. E. Gilpin, 19 September 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL; Wilson, American Navy in France, 24; Husband, Coast of France, 11–12.

[xii] Telegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 20 September 1917; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 22 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[xiii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Comrolfor, Gibraltar, 21 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[65]

22 September First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Jellicoe hands a memorandum to Admiral Henry T. Mayo detailing specific requests by Great Britain to the U.S. Navy Department. These include four coal-burning battleships to replace Grand Fleet dreadnoughts, an increase in the number of destroyers for enhanced convoy protection, an increase in the number of cruisers for better convoy protection, an increase in the number of patrol craft, tugs, and other small craft for antisubmarine work, a rapid building of merchant ships, and a large supply of mines for the proposed mine barrage between Scotland and Norway and assistance in laying them by provision of American minelayers.[i] 

22 September Vice Admiral W. S. Sims issues Force Instructions No. 2 for U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, providing policies of the force commander, disseminating information on successful operational practices, and facilitating administration of operations.[ii] 

22 September Vice Admiral W. S. Sims clarifies for Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson that his intention for the patrol squadron based on Gibraltar is to operate only under the command of Wilson, with all other forces operating on the French coast to be under the control of Rear Admiral William B. Fletcher. The matter came to a head over confusion between Wilson and Fletcher regarding the division of command.[iii] 

23 September The German submarine U-60 torpedoes and sinks the schooner Henry Lippitt near Brest, France.[iv] 

24 September President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2702 transferring the survey ships Surveyor, Isis, and Bache and selected personnel of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey to the Navy.[v] 

25 September President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2708, establishing under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Public Information the divisions of pictures, films, and publications “for the purpose of stimulating recruiting and patriotic interest in the war; to the end that the utmost cooperation of all citizens in the successful prosecution of the war be secured.” The order authorizes the Secretaries of State, War, and the Navy to detail an officer or officers to the committee to assist in this work.[vi] 

25 September The bark Paolina is shelled and sunk by the German submarine U-43 off Ushant, France.[vii] 

26 September Lieutenant Louis H. Maxfield, commander, Naval Air Detachment at Akron, Ohio, reports the qualification of 11 students including himself as lighter-than-air pilots and requests designation as Naval Aviator (Dirigible). These are the Navy’s first men trained specifically as dirigible pilots.[viii] 

26 September Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson addresses the issue of relative rank between officers of the Navy and Marine Corps, and those of the Coast Guard. A Coast Guard third lieutenant equates with a Navy ensign, a second lieutenant with lieutenant (j.g.), first lieutenant with lieutenant, captain with lieutenant commander, senior captain with commander, and captain commandant with captain.[ix]

_____________

[i] Memorandum from Henry T. Mayo to Josephus Daniels, on specific requests for assistance from the several allied powers, enclosure B, 11 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 36. 

[ii] U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, “Force Instructions No. 2,” 22 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to Henry B. Wilson, on duties of squadron commander, 22 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 11.

[v] Executive Order 2707, 24 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 127.

[vi] Executive Order 2708, 25 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 11.

[viii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 33; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 29–30.

[ix] Memorandum from William S. Benson to Commandants, Naval Districts, Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, Commanders of Forces, Commander Division Two, Pacific Fleet, and Bureaus and Offices of the Department, on rank of officers of the Navy and Coast Guard, 26 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[66]

27 September Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson assigns the collier Nero (AC-17) to carry coal between England and France, escorted by the tender Panther (AD-6) and Division One destroyer force.[i] 

27 September Ensign Robert A. Lovett makes the first flight at Naval Air Station Moutchic, France, in an F.B.A. seaplane. Lovett will later serve as the fourth Secretary of Defense.[ii] 

27 September The Navy requisitions oil tankers Gold Shell (ID-3021), Los Angeles (ID-1470), William D. Rockefeller (ID-1581), Standard Arrow (ID-1532), and Topila (ID-3001) from private ownership on a bare ship basis and commissions them as auxiliaries, with their officers and crews enlisted or enrolled in naval service or reserve.[iii] 

27 September President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2709 authorizing the Secretary of the Navy to take immediate possession and title to the German yacht Hermes at Honolulu, Hawaii, and operate the ship in the service of the U.S. Navy.[iv] 

28 September The first radio messages exchanged between Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and the Atlantic Coast occurs.[v] 

28 September Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson cables Vice Admiral W. S. Sims that the Navy Department does not consider it advisable to provide a seaplane carrier at the present time.[vi] 

28 September Admiral Henry T. Mayo and his staff arrive in Queenstown, Ireland, to inspect the destroyer patrol force and meet with personnel stationed there.[vii] 

29 September The store ship Pastores (ID-4540/AF-16) and troopships Tenadores, DeKalb (ID-3010), Huron (ID-1408), and Pocahantas (ID-3044) sail from St. Nazaire, France, for the United States.[viii] 

1 October USCGC Mohawk sinks while on patrol duty in vicinity of Ambrose Channel lightship off New York.[ix] 

1 October President Woodrow Wilson signs into law an act creating the Aircraft Board for expanding and coordinating industrial activities relating to aircraft and developing air service.[x] 

1 October Minesweepers assigned to U.S. Naval Forces in France stationed at Brest are reassigned to convoy duty and begin their first operations.[xi] 

1 October The first class of cadets enters the Officers’ Material School of the Naval Auxiliary Reserve Force at the Pelham Bay Naval Training Camp, New York.[xii]

______________

[i] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 27 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 33–34; Still, Crisis at Sea, 462.

[iii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 27 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Executive Order 2709, 27 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Daniels, Years of War and After, 105.

[vi] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 28 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Memorandum from J. R. Poinsett Pringle to U.S. Destroyer Flotillas Operating in European waters, on hoisting flag of Vice Admiral Sims on U.S.S. Melville and visit of Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet to Queenstown, 5 September 1917; cablegram from W. S. Sims to Lewis Bayly, 26 September 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Cablegram from Richard H. Jackson to W. S. Sims, 29 September 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 5.

[x] Navy Department, Digest Catalogue, 10; Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 44.

[xi] Wilson, American Navy in France, 124.

[xii] Besch, “Navy Second to None,” 203; William J. Byrne, ed., The Deck School Log of the Naval Auxiliary Reserve (New York: Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., 1920), 15.

[67]

1 October Captain John R. Y. Blakely recommends to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson that the commandants of Naval Districts on the Atlantic Coast be prepared to plant naval mines in U.S. coastal waters and take immediate steps to provide equipment and train personnel.[i] 

1 October Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson authorizes Vice Admiral W. S. Sims to “redistribute the naval forces under your command to meet such changes as may arise in European waters. Every re-distribution of your command shall be made with a view not only to meeting the military situation but also, with a view to foster feeling and harmony among the Allies concerned.”[ii] 

2 October The Navy Department states that Ponta Delgada will be the site of the permanent base for U.S. Naval Forces based on the Azores.[iii] 

3 October The Navy Department informs French Naval Minister Charles Chaumet that investigations and arrangements are in progress for selecting ports in France and England that can best be used for debarkation of American troops and equipment. This was provided among other replies to French inquiries presented to the American representatives at the naval conference of 4–5 September.[iv] 

3 October The German submarine UC-65 scuttles and sinks the American schooner Annie F. Conlon 15 miles southeast of St. Mary’s, off the Isles of Scilly, England. The schooner is later salvaged.[v] 

3 October The Bureau of Ordnance places a contract for an additional 90,000 K-1 mine-firing mechanisms a month before the adoption of the North Sea Mine Barrage.[vi] 

4 October The minesweeper Rehoboth (SP-384), while on convoy duty, springs a leak, founders, and is later sunk by gunfire from the British light cruiser HMS Castor.[vii] 

4 October Commander, U.S. Naval Forces operating in European Waters issues sailing orders to the cargo ship Bath (ID-1997/AK-4), placing it temporarily at the disposal of the U.S. Army to carry coal between Cardiff, England, and French ports as requested.[viii] 

4 October The Bureau of Ordnance issues orders for the removal of 28 3-inch, 50-caliber; 26 5-inch, 51-caliber; and two 4-inch, 40-caliber guns from cruisers and battleships for installation on merchant ships.[ix] 

4 October Captain Nathan C. Twining, acting for Vice Admiral W. S. Sims, informs Rear Admiral William B. Fletcher that a number of vessels will be placed into service in the coal trade for the western French ports carrying coal for the U.S. Army.[x] 

4 October Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson notifies the commandants of the 1st through 8th Naval Districts that with forces sufficiently strong at the districts, protection against possible submarine activities near the nation’s ports will commence. This antisubmarine protection will accompany efforts to defend against enemy raiders, principally by using district vessels to escort merchant vessels designated for convoy duty from the harbor entrance off shore.[xi]

______________

[i] Memorandum from John R. Y. Blakely to William S. Benson, on preparation for mine planting on Atlantic Coast, 1 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 1 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, about U.S. Naval Forces based on Azores, 15 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Letter from W. S. Sims to Minister of Marine, Ministry of Marine, Paris, 3 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 11.

[vi] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 50; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 116.

[vii] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 9 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 6 October 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL; Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 2; Wilson, American Navy in France, 125.

[viii] Memorandum from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces operating in European Waters to Commanding Officer, U.S.S. Bath, on sailing orders for U.S.S. Bath, 4 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 43–44.

[x] Memorandum from Nathan C. Twining for W. S. Sims to William B. Fletcher, on coal for the U.S. Army in France, 4 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Memorandum from William S. Benson to Commandants, 1st–8th Naval Districts, on anti-submarine convoy for shipping, 4 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[68]

5 October U.S. Navy Base Hospital No. 5 arrives in St. Nazaire.[i] 

5 October The converted armed yacht Nahma (SP-771) accidentally attacks two Italian submarines off Gibraltar, killing two sailors.[ii] 

6 October President Woodrow Wilson signs the Urgent Deficiencies Act to provide the Navy with $225 million to start a standardized destroyer program and $100 million for the second naval emergency fund.[iii] 

6 October President Woodrow Wilson assigns Naval Hospital Unit No. 1 to duty with the Army.[iv] 

6 October The Secretary of War Newton D. Baker authorizes the Navy to use part of the Army landing field at Anacostia, D.C., for the erection and maintenance of a seaplane hangar. In January 1918, Naval Air Station Anacostia, D.C., is established to provide a base for short test flights, provide housing and repair services for seaplanes on test flights from Naval Air Station Hampton Roads, Virginia, and the Army station at Langley Field, Virginia, and set up new seaplane types for study by those responsible for their construction and improvement.[v] 

7 October The destroyers Dale (DD-4), Bainbridge (DD-1), Barry (DD-2), Chauncey (DD-3), and Decatur (DD-5) of the Asiatic Fleet arrive at Malta together with the ex-German steamer Camilla Rickmers. The steamer sails the same day for Naples, Italy, and the destroyers to Gibraltar.[vi] 

8 October American and British naval officials agree to establish four seaplane stations and a kite balloon station in Ireland.[vii] 

8 October The tender Panther (AD-6), destroyers Smith (DD-17), Lamson (DD-18), and Preston (DD-19) all sail from the Azores.[viii] 

8 October The destroyer Tucker (DD-57) saved 13 sailors from the torpeded British steamship Richard de Larrinaga.[ix] 

9 October Vice Admiral W. S. Sims reports to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson that depth charges and dropping gear have been supplied by the Admiralty to all U.S. Naval Forces in European Waters except for the armed yacht Wakiva II (SP-160), cargo ship Bath (ID-1997/AK-4), and ten recently-arrived minesweepers.[x] 

11 October Naval Hospital Unit No. 1 is temporarily established at Angers, France.[xi] 

11 October Cargo ship Lewis Luckenbach is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-53, 10 miles west of La Vierge Lighthouse on the northwest coast of France, killing ten crewmen.[xii]

_____________

[i] Wilson, American Navy in France, 98.

[ii] Still, Crisis at Sea, 396; telegram from Charles R. Train to Office of Naval Intelligence, Washington, 7 December 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Navy Department, Digest Catalogue, 16; Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 34.

[iv] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 17 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 44; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 30.

[vi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 8 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Still, Crisis at Sea, 105–106.

[viii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to the Office of Chief of Naval Operations, 8 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] DANFS, entry for Tucker I (Destroyer No. 57), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/t/tucker-i.html.

[x] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 9 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 11 October 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 11; memorandum from William B. Fletcher to Josephus Daniels, on report of sinking of American steamer Lewis Luckenbach by submarine at 8 p.m. 11 October 1917, 13 October 1917; cablegram from W. S. Sims to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 14 October 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL. 

[69]

12 October The submarine tenders Chicago (CA-14) and Bushnell (AS-2), along with submarines K-1 (SS-32), K-2 (SS-33), K-5 (SS-36), and K-6 (SS-37) sail from New London, Connecticut, for Halifax, Nova Scotia, before heading on to the Azores.[i] 

12 October Construction on Naval Training Station Hampton Roads, Virginia, is finished as the first regiment arrives from training camp at St. Helena, Virginia.[ii] 

12 October Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson informs the commandants of the 1st through 8th Naval Districts of the Navy Department’s desire to prepare additional seagoing tugs-turned-minesweepers for service at short notice. Benson requests that the commandants do so with a minimum of interference with the transportation, fishing, or other maritime industries.[iii] 

13 October Vice Admiral W. S. Sims cables Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson asking if he would be agreeable in changing duties from Commander, Patrol Force Gibraltar to those of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in French Waters. The following day, Wilson cables Sims that the changes are agreeable, provided he can take his staff officers and select personnel.[iv] 

15 October Destroyer Cassin (DD-43) is ambushed and torpedoed by German submarine U-61 off the south coast of Ireland. Although she is seriously damaged and cruising uncontrollably in a circle, the destroyer continues to engage the U-boat with her guns and drives off her assailant. Allied vessels then tow Cassin back to Queenstown, Ireland, the next day. Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Osmond K. Ingram posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his efforts to dump depth charges prior to the torpedo striking the ship; 23 Navy Crosses were awarded to members of the crew for their heroic actions to save their ship.[v] 

15 October At a conference in the office of Chief of the Naval Operations, Admiral William S. Benson, after consultation with the Secretary of the Navy, issues a directive to the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance to proceed with procurement of 100,000 MK VI mines in consideration of an Admiralty report on the proposed North Sea Mine Barrage.[vi] 

15 October Naval Air Station Rockaway Beach, New York, is established with Lieutenant Commander Warren G. Child in command.[vii] 

15 October The U.S. Shipping Board charters every vessel over 26 tons carrying capacity for the U.S. Government. The board forced neutral parties to take time charters from them, resulting that freight from the United States being shipped to European waters would be flying under the American flag and the neutral parties operated under U.S. insurance rates.[viii] 

15 October Army-chartered troopships Henderson (AP-1) and Antilles, together with transport Willehad sail from St. Nazaire, France, for New York. The cargo ship City of Atlanta follows on the 16th.[ix] 

15 October The tanker St. Helens is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-22, about 100 miles west northwest from Cape Villano, Spain, killing 24.[x]

______________

[i] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 12 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Besch, “Navy Second to None,” 118.

[iii] Memorandum from William S. Benson to Commandants, 1st–8th Naval Districts, on fitting out of tugs for mine sweeping purposes in advance of taking over, 12 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Henry B. Wilson, 13 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; cablegram from Henry B. Wilson to W. S. Sims, 14 October 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 1; Stringer, Distinguished Service, 17; Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 182–85; Feuer, Navy in World War I, 18–21; Navy Department, Record of Medals of Honor Issued, 55–56; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 16 October 1917; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 17 October 1917; memorandum from Commanding Office, USS Cassin, to W. S. Sims, on Cassin torpedoed on 15 October 1917, 17 October 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 35; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 110.

[vii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 44; Larzelere, Coast Guard, 149.

[viii] Scott, Naval Consulting Board, 88–89.

[ix] Cablegram from Thomas P. Magruder to W. S. Sims, 16 October 1917, Reel 18, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 11.

[70]

16 October USCGC Algonquin arrives at Gibraltar for convoy escort duty.[i] 

16 October The submarine tenders Chicago (CA-14) and Bushnell (AS-2), and submarines K-1 (SS-32), K-2 (SS-33), K-5 (SS-36), and K-6 (SS-37) sail from Halifax, Nova Scotia, for the Azores.[ii] 

16 October Vice Admiral W. S. Sims wires the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations requesting approval by the Navy Department to accept loan of the British Q-ship Pargust to be manned by American personnel and with its operating costs covered by the Navy. Sims writes, “If [the] ship becomes [a] total loss, Admiralty will not expect reimbursement. No legal difficulties seen if Government gives authority to fly our colors.”[iii] 

16 October The schooner Jennie E. Righter is sunk by gunfire from the German submarine U-22 off northwest Spain.[iv] 

17 October The homeward-bound Army-chartered troopship Antilles, under command of Commander Daniel T. Ghent, is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-62 two days out of Quiberon Bay, France. The armed yachts Alcedo (SP-166) and Corsair (SP-159) rescued 167 survivors, but 67 are killed, the largest American loss of life to date in World War I.[v] 

17 October Vice Admiral W. S. Sims designates a special division of yachts under command of Commander F. N. Freeman to be used primarily for escort of convoys along the French coast. The division consists of the armed yachts Aphrodite (SP-135), Corsair (SP-159), Alcedo (SP-166), Wakiva II (SP-160), Noma (SP-131), and Kanawha II/Piqua (SP-130).[vi] 

19 October The destroyer Nicholson (DD-52) comes to the aid of the cargo ship J. L. Luckenbach about 200 miles west of Brest, France. In a gunnery duel with the German submarine U-86, Nicholson fires four shots forcing the submarine to break off the engagement and submerge. The badly damaged steamer with nine wounded manages to make her way to Le Havre, France.[vii] 

19 October USCGC Seneca sails as first U.S. Coast Guard ocean escort, convoying 11 ships from Gibraltar to Wales.[viii] 

19 October The German submarine U-62 engages convoy H.D. 7 and torpedoes the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Orama. The destroyer Conyngham (DD-58) drops depth charges and subsequently notices debris in the water.  The British Admiralty ruled the attack “probably seriously damaged” the submarine. American destroyer escorts help save hundreds on board Orama as she sinks.[ix] 

20 October The destroyers Reid (DD-21), Flusser (DD-20), Preston (DD-19), Lamson (DD-18), Smith (DD-17), and the tender Panther (AD-6) arrived off the French coast.[x] 

20 October The destroyers Dale (DD-4), Bainbridge (DD-1), Barry (DD-2), Chauncey (DD-3), and Decatur (DD-5) of the Asiatic Fleet arrive at Gibraltar. The ships left their base at Cavite in the Philippines on 1 August and steamed by way of Borneo, Singapore, Ceylon, India, Egypt, and Malta. The Navy Department and Vice Admiral W. S. Sims extend a commendation to the destroyer force on their passage from Cavite to Gibraltar on 23 October.[xi]

______________

[i] Larzelere, Coast Guard, 51.

[ii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 16 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 16 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 11.

[v] Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 185–88; Gleaves, Transport Service, 103–108, 168; Wilson, American Navy in France, 146–47; Paine, The Corsair, 101–21; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 104–105.

[vi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 17 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 50–51; Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 11.

[viii] Larzelere, Coast Guard, 54.

[ix] DANFS, entry for Conyngham I (Destroyer No. 58), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/c/conyngham-i.html.

[x] Wilson, American Navy in France, 26; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 107–108.

[xi] DANFS, entry for Bainbridge II (Torpedo-boat Destroyer No. 1), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/b/bainbridge-ii.html;  DANFS, entry for Barry I (Destroyer No. 2), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/b/barry-destroyer-no-2-i.html; DANFS, entry for Chauncey I (DD 3), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/c/chauncey-i.html; DANFS, entry for  Decatur II ( DD-5), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/d/decatur-ii.html; DANFS, entry for Dale II (DD-4), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/d/dale-ii.html; cablegram from W. S. Sims to SENAFLOAT, Gibraltar, 23 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[71]

20 October The Navy Department inquires of the Admiralty if the plan for placing a mine barrier across the North Sea along the Aberdeen, Scotland–Egersund, Norway line has been approved.[i] 

20 October Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels cables Vice Admiral W. S. Sims the Navy Department’s replies to the Admiralty’s memorandum of 22 September. The department:

  • seriously considered sending a division of four American coal-burning battleships,
  • an increase in destroyers was not practicable at present but would increase as rapidly as practicable when new destroyers became available,
  • rearrangement of cruiser squadrons will provide four additional cruisers for convoy protection;
  • arrangements were underway to commandeer and send additional small vessels overseas;
  • construction of merchant vessels was proceeding as fast as conditions permitted;
  • contract had been made for 100,000 MK VI mines and preparation of minelayers; and
  • careful consideration was being given to the mine barrage, among other matters.[ii]

21 October Rear Admiral William B. Fletcher is relieved as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in France, and is replaced by Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson.[iii] 

22 October The first radio message is received at Headquarters, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in France after completion of a French radio station at Roche Mengam on the north shore of the Goulet de Brest.[iv] 

22 October Vice Admiral W. S. Sims recommends to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations that coastal air stations be established at Wexford, Queenstown, Bantry Bay, and Loch Foyle in Great Britain; at Dunkirk, Brest, Ile Tudy, LeCroisic, San Trojan, Arcachon, and Fromentine in France, with a repair and assembly plant at Paulliac, France, and finishing school at Lacanau, France.[v] 

22 October Special courses to train men as inspectors are added to the ground school program at the the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with 14 men enrolled. It is eventually established as an Inspector School, a program to meet the expanding need for qualified inspectors of aeronautical material by producing 58 motor and 114 airplane inspectors before end of the war.[vi] 

23 October The General Board of the U.S. Navy completes its report in consideration of the North Sea Mine Barrage and approves the project in conjunction with British acceptance of the barrage, first received by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson on 17 October.[vii] 

23 October Vice Admiral W. S. Sims writes to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson explaining a need for increased staff on account of the expanding activities of the war and administrative burdens. Sims outlines the need for a planning staff and how it “could, and would, work in close cooperation with a recently established planning staff of the British Admiralty. By this means close cooperation between the two services could be secured, and facilities furnished for impressing our views on the British Admiralty to a much greater extent than has been possible in the past.” [viii]

_______________

[i] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 20 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to W. S. Sims, 20 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 36; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 133.

[iii] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 5 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; Husband, Coast of France, 15; Still, Crisis at Sea, 54.

[iv] Wilson, American Navy in France, 86.

[v] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 22 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 44.

[vii] Cablegram from Admiralty to Guy R. A. Gaunt, 22 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; Still, Crisis at Sea, 430; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 134.

[viii] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, on need for an increased staff for force commander, 23 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[72]

23 October A draft of Navy surgeons, nurses, and enlisted medical personnel arrive in England aboard the troop transport St. Louis.[i] 

24 October President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2737, correcting a typographic error in Executive Order 2692 regarding defensive sea areas for the terminal ports of the Panama Canal.[ii] 

24 October The first organization of U.S. Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service, which evolved from the First Aeronautic Detachment, is established over all naval aviation forces abroad under command of Captain Hutch I. Cone, who relieved Lieutenant Commander Kenneth Whiting.[iii] 

25 October Ground is broken for construction of a mine-loading plant at St. Julien’s Creek, Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia, for assembly and shipment overseas of all mine barrage material. The 22-building plant, with accompanying barracks, covers an area approximately 3,000- by 800-feet including the wharf. The construction is to be complete by March 1918.[iv] 

25 October The German submarine U-35 scuttles and sinks the schooner Frannie Prescott 50 miles south of Cape Cantin off West Africa.[v] 

26 October The Bureau of Ordnance informs Vice Admiral W. S. Sims that it is preparing to manufacture MK VI mines in sufficient quantity for the contemplated North Sea Mine Barrage, with planned shipment to commence after 1 January 1918.[vi] 

27 October The submarine tender Bushnell (AS-2) and submarines K-1 (SS-32), K-2 (SS-33), K-5 (SS-36), and K-6 (SS-37) arrive in Ponta Delgada, Azores.[vii] 

27 October Steamer D. N. Luckenbach is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-93 in the Bay of Biscay, killing five.[viii] 

27 October USCGC Tampa, arrives at Gibraltar, the last of six Coast Guard cutters sent to Gibraltar for convoy escort work.[ix] 

28 October The homeward-bound Army troopship Finland (ID-4543), commanded by Captain Stephen V. Graham, is torpedoed by the German submarine U-93, killing nine. Graham keeps his vessel afloat and steers her back to Brest, France. He later receives the Distinguished Service Medal for meritorious conduct in saving the ship.[x] 

29 October Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels approves the General Board’s report for working with the British to install the North Sea Mine Barrage.[xi]

______________

[i] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 5 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Executive Order 2737, 24 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 44; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 30.

[iv] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 55; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 117.

[v] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 11.

[vi] Memorandum from Ralph Earle to W. S. Sims, 26 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 61–62.

[vii] Still, Crisis at Sea, 137, 457; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 277.

[viii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 11.

[ix] Larzelere, Coast Guard, 51.

[x] Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 188–91; Gleaves, Transport Service, 108–110, 168; Wilson, American Navy in France, 147–48; Feuer, Navy in World War I, 30–31; Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 11.

[xi] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 31 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 37; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 111; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 134.

[73]

29 October Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson cables Vice Admiral W. S. Sims to send “detailed information as to action being taken by French authorities in [the] matter of establishing [of a] high [-frequency] radio station of at least 350 kilowatt[s]. Matter very urgent. If material in this country is necessary, manufacture must be started immediately and rushed with all possible speed.”[i]   

30 October President Woodrow Wilson approves the North Sea Mine Barrage.[ii] 

30 October Rabbi David Goldberg is commissioned and appointed by the Bureau of Navigation as the first Jewish chaplain in the U.S. Navy.[iii] 

31 October At a meeting of Inter-Allied Radio Commission in Paris, the French government expresses favor toward a U.S. Navy idea to establish a high-power radio station in southwest France for transatlantic communication.[iv] 

31 October The Navy Department requests the naval districts take immediate steps to requisition the steamship Massachusetts and passenger steamship Bunker Hill for conversion and commissioning as minelayers, for the inspection of the steamers Harvard (ID-1298) and Yale (ID-1672) to determine if modifications will make them suitable as minelayers, and requisition of four additional steamers for conversion to minelayers.[v] 

1 November Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson cables the Admiralty and reports that the Navy Department concurs in the project for a mine barrier between Scotland and Norway. He further acknowledges that the department has begun to expedite the fitting out of eight vessels as mine layers and expects the first shipment of mines to begin about 15 January.[vi] 

1 November Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson arrives in Brest, France, to assume command of U.S. Naval Forces in France from Rear Admiral William B. Fletcher.[vii] 

1 November The armed yachts Cythera (SP-575), Druid (SP-321), and Lydonia (SP-700) along with three French submarine chasers sail from Newport News, Virginia, via Bermuda and the Azores for Gibraltar.[viii] 

1 November The troop transport Great Northern (ID-4569) commissions.[ix] 

1 November The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations detaches armored cruiser South Dakota (CA-9) from Division One, Pacific Fleet, and assigns her to Division Two, Cruiser Force, Atlantic Fleet; protected cruiser Raleigh (C-8) is detached from Cruiser Force, Atlantic Fleet, and assigned to Division One, Pacific Fleet.[x] 

2 November Twelve men who had organized as the Second Yale Unit and had taken flight training at their own expense at Buffalo, New York, are commissioned as ensigns in the U.S. Naval Reserve Force, and soon after receive designations as naval aviators.[xi]

______________

[i] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 29 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 37.

[iii] Clifford M. Drury, The History of the Chaplain Corps, United States Navy, vol. 1, 1778–1939 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1983), 168.

[iv] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 8 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Memorandum from William V. Pratt to Naval Districts Section, about requisition of vessels needed for mine planters, 31 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 37.

[vii] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 5 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; Wilson, American Navy in France, 22; Still, Crisis at Sea, 55; Daniels, Years of War and After, 88. 

[viii] Cablegram from OPNAV for W. S. Sims, 27 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; DANFS, entry for Cythera I (S.P. No. 575), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/c/cythera-s-p-no-575-i.html; DANFS, entry for Lydonia, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/l/lydonia.html.

[ix] D. K. Romig, The United States Ship Great Northern: History of A Troop Transport (New York: Eagle Press, 1919), 7.

[x] Telegram from OPNAV to Commander-in-Chief, Commander Cruiser Force, and Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, 1 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 44; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 30.

[74]

2 November Vice Admiral W. S. Sims wires the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations the Admiralty’s report on the suggested organization of bases for the North Sea Mine Barrage. Two American bases, at Invergordon and Inverness, Scotland, are recommended for handling 2,000 and 1,500 mines weekly, respectively. To avoid labor complications, the Admiralty recommends the use of enlisted personnel with each base commanded by a naval commander.[i] 

2 November The German submarine U-95 torpedoes and sinks the steamer Rochester, about 300 miles west of Torry Island, Ireland, killing 23.[ii] 

2 November President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2748, authorizing the U.S. Shipping Board to take title and possession of the ex-German steam tug Pollux (ID-2573) in the Port of New York and to operate the vessel in the service of the United States.[iii] 

3 November The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations requests Vice Admiral W. S. Sims to transfer 75 men to the receiving ship in Boston, Massachusetts, for assignment aboard the three new destroyers Little (DD-79), Kimberly (DD-80), and Sigourney (DD-81).[iv] 

3 November The armed yachts Artemis (SP-593), May (SP-164), Wenonah (SP-165), Rambler (SP-211), Helenita (SP-210), Margaret (SP-527), and Towanah, towing seven French submarine chasers, sail from New York to Gibraltar via Bermuda and the Azores.[v] 

3 November Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson wires Vice Admiral W. S. Sims that the Bureau of Ordnance is preparing to supply 60,000 MK VI mines and sinkers and that the Navy is obtaining eight minelayers.[vi] 

3 November The Navy Department reports it is able to furnish Naval Armed Guards “without delay” to all vessels taken over for use by the War Department.[vii] 

4 November The passenger barge Empress (SP-569), while under tow from New York City to Newport, Rhode Island, has her seams open up, takes on water, and sinks at sea.[viii] 

4 November The converted armed yacht Margaret (SP-527), commanded by Lieutenant Commander Frank J. Fletcher, sails from Newport, Rhode Island, accompanied by the tender Hannibal (AG-1), and converted armed yachts Helenita (SP-210), May (SP-164), Rambler (SP-211), Utowana (SP-951), and Wenonah (SP-165). Each yacht tows an American-built French submarine chaser.[ix] 

5 November The armed yacht Alcedo (SP-166) is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine UC-71 off Quiberon Bay, France, killing one officer and 20 enlisted men.[x] 

5 November A draft of 45 men, one of various enlisted ratings for the Queenstown, Ireland forces, and a second draft of 18 officers and 30 mechanics bound for a course of instruction in dirigible work at the Royal Aviation School at Cranwell arrive in Liverpool, England.[xi] 

5 November While towing a submarine chaser destined for European waters, the armed yacht May (SP-164) begins to take on water. Seaman Tedford H. Cann of the Naval Reserve heads below decks into the flooded compartment, locates the leak, and manages to stop it. This act saves the May from sinking, and for this act Cann receives the Medal of Honor, the first Naval Reservist so honored.[xii]

_____________

[i] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 2 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 12.

[iii] Executive Order 2748, 2 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Cablegram from OPNAV to W. S. Sims, 3 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Cablegram from OPNAV to W. S. Sims, 27 October 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 3 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Memorandum from William S. Benson (signed by Josephus Daniels) to Chief of Embarkation Service, on furnishing Armed Guards to vessels taken over for use of War Department, 3 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 2.

[ix] Stephan D. Regan, “When Frank Jack Met Maggie,” Naval History 25, no. 1 (February 2011): 52–57.

[x] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 1; Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 191–93; Still, Crisis at Sea, 398–99; Husband, Coast of France, 68; Feuer, Navy in World War I, 32–33; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 106.

[xi] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 5 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] “Cann, Tedford H., Ensign USNRF (1896–??),” NHHC, http://www.history.navy.mil/our-collections/photography/us-people/c/cann-tedford-h.html ; William A. DuPuy and John W. Jenkins, The World War and Historic Deeds of Valor from Official Records and Illustrations of the United States and Allied Governments, vol. VI (Chicago: National Historic Pub. Association, 1919), 487; Navy Department, Record of Medals of Honor Issued, 17.

[75]

5 November Captain Hutch I. Cone writes Vice Admiral W. S. Sims and recommends that the Navy Department take up with the War Department at home “the question of getting us priority on all deliveries of material in France as well as in the United States in order that we may get seaplanes operating on patrol against submarines as early as possible.”[i] 

6 November The steamship Massachusetts and passenger steamer Bunker Hill arrive at the Boston Navy Yard (the latter on 10 November) for conversion into the minelayers Shawmut (CM-4) and Aroostook (CM-3), respectively.[ii] 

7 November The Pelham Bay, New York, naval training camp commissions.[iii] 

7 November The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations cables Admiral Austin M. Knight, Commander-in-Chief, Asiatic Fleet, stating that the Navy Department “considers it extremely desirable” for Knight and the armored cruiser Brooklyn (CA-3) to proceed to Vladivostok “to emphasize to the people of the new democracy of Russia the desire of the democracy of the United States to establish and hold the closest possible bonds of understanding and friendship.”[iv] 

7 November Vice Admiral W. S. Sims orders all destroyer flotillas operating in European waters to carry their full allowance of torpedoes.[v] 

7 November The Philippine steamer Villemer is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine UC-38 in the Mediterranean Sea, killing two.[vi] 

7 November President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2751, transferring John E. Peters from the list of U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey officers assigned to the War Department to the Navy Department.[vii] 

7 November Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson arrives in London as naval representative for an American mission led by President Woodrow Wilson’s close adviser “Colonel” Edward M. House to attend an inter-Allied conference and meetings with European officials.[viii] 

8 November Lieutenant W. N. Corry Jr. assumes command of the naval air station at Le Croisic, France.[ix] 

8 November Lieutenant Earl W. Spencer arrives at North Island, San Diego, California, under orders to establish and command a station for the purpose of training pilots and mechanics and conducting coastal patrols. This marks the beginning of Naval Air Station North Island.[x]

_____________

[i] Memorandum from Hutch I. Cone to W. S. Sims, on priority in delivery of material, 5 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 124.

[iii] Besch, “Navy Second to None,” 201.

[iv] Cablegram from OPNAV to Austin M. Knight, 7 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Memorandum from W. S. Sims (signed by J. R. P. Pringle) to U.S. Destroyer Flotillas Operating in European Waters, on full allowance of torpedoes to be carried on board, 7 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 12.

[vii] Executive Order 2751, 7 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] David F. Trask, Captains and Cabinets: Anglo-American Naval Relations, 19171918 (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1972), 173–74.

[ix] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, on aviation—weekly report of operations, 17 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Paolo Enrico Coletta and Karl Jack Bauer, United States Navy and Marine Corps Bases, Domestic (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985), 561.

[76]

9 November Permission is received from the Argentine Government to use three Argentine naval officers, recently qualified as U.S. naval aviators, as instructors in the ground school at Pensacola, Florida.[i] 

9 November After meeting with First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson recommends to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels sending one division of coal-burning Utah (BB-31)–class dreadnoughts to join the Grand Fleet and be relieved later by another division “until all of the fleet has had the experience or until conditions change.”[ii] 

9 November The tender Hannibal (AG-1), converted armed yachts Margaret (SP-527), Helenita (SP-210), May (SP-164), Rambler (SP-211), Utowana (SP-951), and Wenonah (SP-165), and six submarine chasers arrive in Hamilton, Bermuda.[iii] 

9 November The Philippine steamship Rizal is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-39 in the Mediterranean Sea, nine miles from Cape Cavallo, Corsica.[iv] 

10 November A Navy N-9 “flying bomb” manufactured by Glenn H. Curtiss is delivered for testing. Essentially an aerial torpedo, it was designed for automatic operation, carrying 1,000 pounds of explosives at range of 50 miles with top speed of 90 miles per hour.[v] 

10 November The U.S. Navy began assigning Coast Guard officers to six seized German and Austrian cruise liners being converted into troop transports.[vi] 

10 November Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson cables Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels and recommends that the Navy Department dispatch four coal-burning battleships for service with the Grand Fleet.[vii] 

10 November Vice Admiral W. S. Sims issues Campaign Order No. 2 for U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters. In addition to the elements of Campaign Order No. 1, Sims orders the Azores Detachment to deny the islands to enemy submarines and operate offensively against such vessels when reported in the vicinity as far as the capabilities and radius of action permit.[viii] 

10 November Redesigns for the sinker or anchor for the MK VI mine are completed and readied for submission to prospective bidders.[ix] 

10 November Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels assigns all officers and men of the Navy serving in Army transports to be under the direction of the Commander Cruiser Force, Atlantic Fleet.[x] 

11 November The Bureau of Navigation establishes a mine force training camp at Cloyne Field Barracks, Newport, Rhode Island, to train personnel for what will become Mine Squadron One, which will install the North Sea Mine Barrage.[xi]

11 November The cargo ship Pensacola (ID-2078/AK-7), transporting lubricating oil, naval stores, and senior naval officials bound for France, sails for the Azores from Virginia.[xii] 

11 November Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson recommends to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels that Rear Admiral W. S. Sims be ordered as Naval Attaché in London in addition to his other duties. Captain William D. MacDougall is to be relieved, ordered home, and assigned to other duty.[xiii]

____________

[i] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 44; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 30.

[ii] Cablegram from William S. Benson (via W. S. Sims) to OPNAV, 9 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Regan, “When Frank Jack Met Maggie.”

[iv] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 12.

[v] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 45.

[vi] Larzelere, Coast Guard, xviii.

[vii] Jones, Battleship Operations, 16; Still, Crisis at Sea, 412.

[viii] United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, “Campaign Order No. 2,” 10 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 47.

[x] Memorandum from Josephus Daniels to Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet, Commander, Cruiser Force, Atlantic Fleet, Commandants of the New York and Norfolk Navy Yards, All Bureaus, Senior Naval Officers on Board all Army transports, and Chief of Embarkation Service, U.S. Army, on status of officers and men serving on army transports, 10 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 76–78. 

[xii] Cablegram from OPNAV to W. S. Sims, 14 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL. 

[xiii] Cablegram from William S. Benson (via W. S. Sims) to OPNAV, 11 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[77]

12 November The Navy Department selects battleships New York (BB-34), Florida (BB-30), Delaware (BB-28), and Wyoming (BB-32) as the four coal-burning battleships to form the division to be sent to Scapa Flow, Scotland, commanded by Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman.[i] 

12 November The cargo ship Gulfport (SP-2989), unprotected cruiser Schurz (formerly SMS Geier), and Submarine Division 3, composed of the K-boats K-3 (SS-34), K-4 (SS-35), K-7 (SS-38), and K-8 (SS-39), arrive in San Diego, California, after 12 days of non-stop sailing.[ii] 

12 November Rear Admiral Ralph Earle, Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, writes Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson and suggests mounting 14-inch naval guns along the French coast. “Manned by our seamen, a battery of four of these guns might not be a bad answer to the long-range German bombardment of Dunkirk,” stated Earle.[iii] 

12 November Rear Admiral Albert P. Niblack arrives in London.[iv] 

13 November Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman assumes command of the Atlantic Fleet’s Battleship Division Nine.[v] 

13 November Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels orders that no American vessel carrying a Naval Armed Guard shall enter or pass through Norwegian territorial waters.[vi] 

14 November Secretary of War Newton D. Baker approves a recommendation “that priority be given by the War Department to naval needs for aviation material necessary to equip and arm seaplane bases.”[vii] 

14 November The Navy Department assigns Rear Admiral Herbert O. Dunn as the senior naval officer at the U.S. Naval Base in the Azores.[viii] 

14 November In a meeting with Admiral Sir David Beatty and other senior British naval officers, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson reports to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations that “investigation shows decided inferiority of destroyers with main fleet compared to the number that could be sent out by Germany. Every possible effort should be made to speed up our destroyer construction.”[ix] 

16 November The Morgan Line steamer El Dia arrives at the Tietjan and Lang’s shipyard, Hoboken, New Jersey, for conversion into the minelayer Roanoke (ID-1695). The cargo ship El Rio, converted to minelayer Housatonic (SP-1697), arrives on 25 November.[x] 

16 November The German submarine U-151 shells and sinks schooner Margaret L. Roberts off Madeira, Portugal.[xi] 

16 November With deployment of Battleship Division Nine, the Bureaus of Navigation and Operations establish a new policy. The mission of vessels of Battleship Force Two shall be to maintain themselves in instant readiness for battle. The immediate mission for Battleship Force One is to train officers and men for service on other vessels. It is to maintain a permanent nucleus of organization for both officers and men to maintain material in constant readiness and permit rapid preparation for battle when the battle complement is assigned. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson approves the policy on 18 November.[xii]

_________________

[i] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to William S. Benson, 12 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] DANFS, entry for Schurz, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/schurz.html.

[iii] Navy Department, Office of Naval Records and Library, Historical Section, The United States Naval Railway Batteries in France (Washington, DC: GPO, 1922; reprint, Washington, DC: Naval Historical Center, 1988), 2–3; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 270.

[iv] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William Benson, on general report, 15 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Jones, Battleship Operations, 25.

[vi] Circular letter from Josephus Daniels to Commandants of Boston, Washington, New Orleans, New York, Norfolk, San Francisco, Portsmouth, Philadelphia, Charleston, and Puget Sound Navy Yards, on armed guard ships to keep outside of Norwegian territorial waters, 13 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 45; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 30.

[viii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 14 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Cablegram from William S. Benson (via W. S. Sims) to OPNAV, 14 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 123–24.

[xi] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 12.

[xii] Cablegram from William V. Pratt to William S. Benson, 16 November 1917; cablegram from William S. Benson to OPNAV, 18 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[78]

16 November Secretary of Navy Josephus Daniels orders the establishment of a torpedo repair station at Queenstown, Ireland, to later consist of three officers and 23 men. The initial force will sail from the United States on 17 December to open the station with a capacity to maintain 130 torpedoes. Work on the station will commence on 30 December.[i] 

17 November Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels cables Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson, then overseas in London, that “After thinking carefully subject feel that it would be to advantage if we have a permanent War Staff in England, as part of the plans department of the Admiralty.”[ii] 

17 November The destroyers Fanning (DD-37) and Nicholson (DD-52) sink the German submarine U-58, the first U.S. Navy U-boat sinking of the war and first time U.S. Navy warships sink a submarine in combat (CSS H. L. Hunley notwithstanding); 38 of 40 crewmembers of the U-58 survive and became prisoners of war. Captain F. D. Berrien, commander of Nicholson, and Lieutenant Commander A. S. Carpender, commander of Fanning, each receive the Distinguished Service Medal for the destruction of U-58.[iii] 

17 November Captain Hutch I. Cone recommends to Vice Admiral W. S. Sims the location of two additional naval air stations at Treguier and L’Aber-Vrach, France. The bases are approved on 22 November.[iv] 

17 November The Navy supplied Italy with 5-inch, 51-caliber guns for defense of Venice and for use on the Piave front.[v] 

18 November The bark John H. Kirby is captured and sunk by the German raider SMS Wolf in the Pacific Ocean.[vi] 

18 November U.S. Navy Tellier seaplanes from LeCroisic, France, at the mouth of the Loire River, begin the first Navy aerial coastal patrols over European waters.[vii] 

18 November The converted armed yachts Artemis (SP-593), Cythera (SP-575), Lydonia (SP-700), Margaret (SP-527), May (SP-164), Rambler (SP-211), and Wenonah (SP-165) together with tender Hannibal (AG-1) and six submarine chasers sail from Bermuda bound for the Azores.[viii] 

19 November The destroyer Chauncey (DD-3) is accidentally rammed and sunk by the British merchant steamship Rose 110 miles west of Gibraltar, killing three officers and 18 men.[ix] 

19 November A fire practically destroys the No. 2 solvent recovery house along with 58,000 pounds of powder at the Naval Powder Factory at Indian Head, Maryland.[x] 

19 November Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson authorizes creation of the American Naval Planning Section, London, for facilitating joint operations and obtaining the latest British and Allied information. He urges use as joint plans such plans as American estimates and policy may indicate.[xi]

_______________

[i] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 169.

[ii] Senate Subcommittee on Naval Affairs, Naval Investigation Hearings, vol. I, 66th Cong., 2d sess., 1921: 226.

[iii] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 227; Stringer, Distinguished Service, 22–23; Still, Crisis at Sea, 402–403; Feuer, Navy in World War I, 23–24; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 103–104.

[iv] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 17 November 1917; cablegram from W. S. Sims to Hutch I. Cone, 22 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 62, 270. The same document says guns were delivered in September 1917.

[vi] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 7.

[vii] Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 31.

[viii] Regan, “When Frank Jack Met Maggie;” DANFS, entry for Wenonah I (S.P. 165), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/w/wenonah-i.html.

[ix] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 5; Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 210–11; Still, Crisis at Sea, 395; Feuer, Navy in World War I, 22–23.

[x] Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 498.

[xi] Navy Department, The American Naval Planning Section London (Washington, DC: GPO, 1923), 489.

[79]

20 November The armed yachts Kanawha II (SP-130), Wakiva II (SP-160), and Noma (SP-131), sailing from Quiberon Bay, France, spot a submarine periscope and depth charge the position. Oil, air bubbles, and wreckage are observed after the attack.[i] 

20 November Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels wires Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson to report that the Italian government has requested fuel oil, naval mines and personnel to assemble them, American-crewed submarine chasers. The government also requests the establishment of aviation bases in Italy furnishing both the aircraft and personnel to operate them in the waters in and around the country.[ii] 

20 November Vice Admiral W. S. Sims assumes additional duty as U.S. Naval Attaché, London.[iii] 

21 November The Navy N-9 flying bomb is demonstrated at Amityville, Long Island, New York before Army Major General George O. Squier, Chief Signal Officer. The Army subsequently establishes a parallel aerial torpedo project.[iv] 

21 November The Navy Department wires Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson that Captain Frank H. Schofield and Commander Dudley W. Knox will be ordered to London to serve on the London Planning Section under Vice Admiral W. S. Sims.[v] 

21 November The steamer Schuylkill is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-39 in the Mediterranean Sea, about 15 miles east of Tenes Light, Cape Tenes, Algeria.[vi] 

21 November The Navy Department requests the State Department to obtain permission from the Portuguese government to dispatch Rear Admiral Herbert O. Dunn and his staff to Ponta Delgada in the Azores to temporarily command the naval base there while also sending one aviation company of 90 men with aircraft and 50 marines for sentry and guard duty.[vii] 

22 November During the first armed patrol by U.S. naval aviators in European waters, a Tellier seaplane, piloted by Ensign Kenneth R. Smith with Electrician’s Mate Wilkinson and Machinist’s Mate Brady on board, is forced down at sea while investigating reported German submarines south of Belle Isle, France. The crew is rescued two days later.[viii] 

22 November President Woodrow Wilson approves “Rules for Naval Convoy of Military Expeditions” formulated by a joint Army and Navy Board.[ix] 

22 November The Morgan Line steamer El Siglo arrives at the Morse Shipyard, South Brooklyn, New York, for conversion into the minelayer Canandaigua (ID-1694). The cargo ship El Cid arrives on 24 November for conversion into the minelayer Canonicus (ID-1696).[x]

______________

[i] Wilson, American Navy in France, 148–49.

[ii] Cablegram from Josephus Daniels to William S. Benson, 20 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 20 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 45; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 31.

[v] Senate Subcommittee on Naval Affairs, Naval Investigation Hearings, vol. I, 66th Cong., 2d sess., 1921: 227.

[vi] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 12.

[vii] Cablegram from OPNAV to William S. Benson, 21 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 45; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 31.

[ix] “Rules for Naval Convoy of Military Expeditions,” 22 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 124.

[80]

22 November The collier Ajax (AC-14), protected cruiser Cincinnati (C-7), and monitor Monterey (BM-6) arrive in Guam; Cincinnati then sails for Honolulu. The submarine tender Cheyenne (BM-10) and two H-class submarines arrive at Key West, Florida.[i] 

22 November The destroyer Conyngham (DD-58) removes the crew of the British steamer Hartland after the vessel is torpedoed.[ii] 

23 November The armored cruiser Brooklyn (CA-3) arrives at Vladivostok, Russia, on a diplomatic visit after the Bolshevik Revolution.[iii] 

23 November The armored cruiser Saratoga (CA-2) sails from the Canal Zone for Hampton Roads, Virginia.[iv] 

23 November Commander O. G. Murfin, representative of the Bureau of Ordnance, arrives in London to command the U.S. Mine Force and oversee all matters relating to the establishment of U.S. naval mine depots in Great Britain.[v] 

24 November The destroyer Wainwright (DD-62) collides with the British steamer Chicago City in the early morning hours while at sea. The damage to the destroyer requires nearly three weeks to repair.[vi] 

24 November The General Ordnance Co. begins production of the Y Gun, which is designed to throw two depth charges simultaneously to port and starboard of a destroyer or submarine chaser’s stern.[vii] 

24 November The American steamer Actaeon is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine UB-58 about 150 miles north-northwest of Cape Finisterre, Spain, killing four.[viii] 

24 November Vice Admiral W. S. Sims writes to Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson that “In carrying out the policy of sending Officers from Queenstown [Ireland] to bring out new destroyers, it is desired to also give Officers who are serving in other Destroyers and Yachts the same opportunity.” Sims requests that Wilson submit a list of five commanding officers of yachts for transfer to command of Queenstown destroyers provided the selections are governed by length of service in European waters and seniority.[ix] 

25 November Ground is broken at Gulfport, Mississippi, for construction of a 2,000-man naval training camp.[x] 

25 November Battleship Division Nine—the coal-burning New York (BB-34), Delaware (BB-28), Florida (BB-30), and Wyoming (BB-32)—departed Hampton Roads, Virginia, for Scapa Flow, Scotland. Aboard Delaware are Commander Richard H. Leigh and a party of four technical experts, two officers, and six enlisted men who are trained listeners in the C-Tube underwater listening apparatus. With the men are six sets of C-Tubes, six sets of C-Tubes for installation through the bottoms of vessels, four sets of K-Tubes, four sets of radio telephones, and one Mason detection device for testing and demonstration in European waters.[xi]

________________

[i] Cablegram from William V. Pratt to OPNAV, 28 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] DANFS, entry for Conyngham I (Destroyer No. 58), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/c/conyngham-i.html.

[iii] Cablegram from William V. Pratt to OPNAV, 28 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 63.

[vi] DANFS, entry for Wainwright I (Destroyer No. 62), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/w/wainwright-i.html; memorandum from Chief of Staff to W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 8 December 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Malcolm Llewellyn-Jones, The Royal Navy and Anti-Submarine Warfare, 1917–49 (London: Routledge, 2006), 161.

[viii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 12.

[ix] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to Henry B. Wilson, on commissioned personnel of new destroyers, 24 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 74.

[xi] Jones, Battleship Operations, 26; Feuer, Navy in World War I, 12, 40; Still, Crisis at Sea, 412; cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 19 November 1917; cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 26 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[81]

25 November A high-power radio station at Nantes, France, commences operations. It is reserved for communication ships and Atlantic shore stations beyond the range of French coastal stations.[i] 

25 November Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson is ordered to command U.S. Naval Forces in France; Rear Admiral Albert P. Niblack receives orders to replace Wilson as commander of U.S. Naval Force in the Mediterranean.[ii] 

26 November The Navy Department approves construction of five 14-inch railway mounts and complete support trains for five 14-inch, 50-caliber MK IV Navy rifles. A sixth train is constructed to accommodate staff to communicate between batteries.[iii] 

26 November The British steamship Crenella is torpedoed while under escort. The destroyer Cushing (DD-55) helps chase away the assailant and escorts the damaged steamer to Queenstown, Ireland.[iv] 

27 November Naval Air Station Lecroisic, France, is commissioned with Lieutenant William M. Corry in command.[v] 

27 November The destroyers Roe (DD-24) and Monaghan (DD-32) arrive at Brest from St. Nazaire, France.[vi] 

27 November The first draft of men of the U.S. Mine Force sent to install the North Sea Mine Barrage arrives in Liverpool, England.[vii] 

27 November The cargo ship Gulfport (SP-2989), unprotected cruiser Schurz (formerly SMS Geier), and submarines K-3 (SS-34), K-4 (SS-35), K-7 (SS-38), and K-8 (SS-39) sail for the Canal Zone from Hawaii via San Diego, California.[viii] 

28 November Construction is completed on the Naval Aircraft Factory, Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania.[ix] 

28 November The armed yachts Noma (SP-131) and Wakiva II (SP-160) spot and attack two enemy submarines on the surface off the French coast. Lieutenant Commander Lamar R. Leahy of Noma is awarded the Navy Cross for his actions.[x] 

28 November The Fifteenth Naval District is formed with Captain Leonard R. Sargent as its first commandant. The district encompasses the waters adjacent to the Canal Zone exclusive of the inner Defensive Sea Areas. The district will maintain patrols for possible enemy submarine activity threatening the Panama Canal’s safety.[xi] 

28 November The American tanker Albert Watts strikes a mine or is torpedoed by an enemy submarine 50 miles west of Genoa, Italy. The damage caused a gasoline leak, which the next day caught fire, eventually sinking the tanker with the loss of one crewmember.[xii]

______________

[i] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 29 November 1917, Cablegram from William V. Pratt to OPNAV, 28 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Still, Crisis at Sea, 479.

[iii] Navy Department, Naval Railway Batteries, 4; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 270.

[iv] DANFS, entry for Cushing II (Destroyer No. 55), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/c/cushing-destroyer-no-55-ii.html.

[v] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 45.

[vi] Husband, Coast of France, 16.

[vii] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 64.

[viii] Cablegram from William V. Pratt to OPNAV, 28 November 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 35; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 239.

[x] Husband, Coast of France, 69–72; Stringer, Distinguished Service, 94; Feuer, Navy in World War I, 26; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 106–107.

[xi] Donald A. Yerxa, “The United States Navy in Caribbean Waters During World War II” Military Affairs vol. 51, no. 4 (October 1987): 184.

[xii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 18.

[82]

29–30 November The Allied Naval Conference is held in Paris with France, England, Italy, Japan, the United States, and Greece in attendance. The participants agree to constitute an Inter-Allied Naval Council with Vice Admiral W. S. Sims as the American representative.[i] 

1 December Naval Air Station Pauillac, France, commissions as an assembly, repair, and supply station for all French-based U.S. naval air stations. Ensign R. F. Nourse is acting commander.[ii] 

1 December The Navy Department issues its official doctrine: “a bond of mutual understanding . . . to coordinate decisions and to promote prompt and united action.” The general doctrines published “will be regarded by all ranks as a basis for decisions before and during battle.” It also includes command and action doctrines.[iii] 

2 December The Navy Department takes possession of the Old Dominion Line steamer Jefferson for conversion into the minelayer Quinnebaug (ID-1687) at the Robbins Repair Yard, Erie Basin, South Brooklyn, New York.[iv] 

3 December The second draft of men of the U.S. Mine Force shipped out to install the North Sea Mine Barrage arrives in Liverpool.[v] 

4 December Naval Air Station Cape May, New Jersey, commissions as a seaplane and lighter-than-air patrol station.[vi] 

4 December The gunboat Palos (PG-16) puts Lieutenant (j.g.) E. T. Short and 23 men ashore to protect the American consulate in Chungking, China. The men return to Palos on 6 December.[vii] 

5 December The destroyer Warrington (DD-30) arrives in Brest, France.[viii] 

5 December The German submarine UB-80 torpedoes the U.S. steamer Armenia in the English Channel. The ship is beached and salvaged.[ix] 

5 December Vice Admiral W. S. Sims cables the Bureau of Yards and Docks requesting that five 4,000-ton fuel oil tanks be installed at Brest for fueling American naval vessels in French waters.[x] 

5 December A flotilla of armed yachts and six submarine chasers arrives in the Azores.[xi] 

5 December The U.S. Atlantic Fleet publishes Standing Order No. 3, “Submarine Offensive; Doctrine,” clarifying doctrine for antisubmarine and non-antisubmarine vessels in the fleet.[xii] 

6 December At 9:04 a.m., the French cargo ship SS Mont-Blanc explodes in Halifax harbor, Nova Scotia, after colliding with the Norwegian steamer SS Imo. Considered one of the largest man-made non-atomic explosions in history, the blast kills approximately 2,000 residents and sailors in and around the harbor. While at sea passing Halifax to the United States, protected cruiser Tacoma (C-18) and troopship Von Steuben (ID-3017) are struck by shock waves from the blast and change course for the harbor. Over the next three days they assist with relief work for the port community.[xiii]

_______________

[i] Letter from William S. Benson to Josephus Daniels, 1 December 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 45; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 31; Still, Crisis at Sea, 124.

[iii] Navy Department, “Doctrine,” signed by William S. Benson, 1 December 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 124.

[v] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 64.

[vi] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 45.

[vii] Tolley, Yangtze Patrol, 80.

[viii] Wilson, American Navy in France, 27.

[ix] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 12.

[x] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 360.

[xi] Regan, “When Frank Jack Met Maggie;” DANFS, entry for Wenonah I (S.P. 165), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/w/wenonah-i.html.

[xii] U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Standing Order No. 3, “Submarine Offensive; Doctrine,” 5 December 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[xiii] Laura M. MacDonald, Curse of the Narrows: The Halifax Disaster of 1917 (New York: HarperCollins, 2005), 70–71; DANFS, entry for Tacoma II (Cruiser No. 18), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/t/tacoma-ii.html.

[83]

6 December The destroyer Jacob Jones (DD-61) is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-53 near Isles of Scilly, England. Two officers and 62 enlisted men are killed, and two—Ship’s Cook 1st Class Francis Murphy and Seaman 2nd Class Albert DeMello—are taken prisoner. Three and a half hours after the sinking, the British steamer Catalina recovered seven survivors and radioed news of the sinking.[i 

6 December The Navy Department takes possession of the Old Dominion Line steamer Hamilton for conversion into the minelayer Saranac (ID-1702) at the James Shewan and Sons’ Repair Yard, South Brooklyn, New York.[ii] 

7 December The United States declares war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire.[iii] 

7 December Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson orders the removal of two 5-inch guns, mounts, accessories, and spare parts from the battleships Kearsarge (BB-5), Kentucky (BB-6), Arkansas (BB-33), Texas (BB-35), Nevada (BB-36), Oklahoma (BB-37), Pennsylvania (BB-38), and Arizona (BB-39); four 5-inch guns, mounts, accessories, and spare parts from Utah (BB-31) and North Dakota (BB-29); four 6-inch guns, mounts, accessories, and spare parts from Virginia (BB-13); Nebraska (BB-14), Georgia (BB-15), New Jersey (BB-16), and Rhode Island (BB-17),  and two 3-inch, 50-caliber guns, mounts, accessories, and spare parts from Virginia, Nebraska, Georgia, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut (BB-18), Louisiana (BB-19), Vermont (BB-20), Kansas (BB-21), Minnesota (BB-22), New Hampshire (BB-25), South Carolina (BB-26), and Michigan (BB-27).[iv] 

7 December The British sloop Camellia recovers the main body of the destroyer Jacob Jones’s (DD-61) survivors after a frigid night in open boats. Several died of exposure. A British patrol picked up the last of the survivors four hours later near the Isles of Scilly.[v] 

7 December Battleship Division Nine—Delaware (BB-28), Florida (BB-30), Wyoming (BB-32), and New York (BB-34)—under the command of Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman, arrives at Scapa Flow in the Orkneys to join the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet.[vi] 

7 December The minelayers Massachusetts (ID-1255/CM-4)—renamed Shawmut in January 1918­—and Aroostook (CM-3) are commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, and destined for the North Sea Mine Barrage project. Shawmut will be renamed Oglala in 1928 and sunk at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.[vii] 

7 December Fighter-type aircraft development is initiated with Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels’s authorization for the Curtiss HA, or “Dunkirk Fighter.” The single-pontoon seaplane is equipped with dual synchronized machine guns forward and dual flexible machine guns in the rear cockpit.[viii] 

7 December Naval Aeronautic Station Pensacola, Florida, is re-designated as a Naval Air Station.[ix]

______________

[i] Memorandum from Chief of Staff to W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 8 December 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 1; Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 193–96; Still, Crisis at Sea, 399; Feuer, Navy in World War I, 21–22.

[ii] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 124.

[iii] Cablegram from Robert Lansing to American Embassy, London, 7 December 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL; Navy Department, Office of Naval Records and Library, Historical Section, Digest Catalogue of Laws and Joint Resolutions: The Navy and the World War (Washington, DC: GPO, 1920), 7.

[iv] Radiogram from Bureau of Ordnance to Commander-in-Chief, 7 December 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[v] DANFS, entry for Jacob Jones I (DD-61), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/j/jacob-jones-i.html.

[vi] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 227; Jones, Battleship Operations, 27; Feuer, Navy in World War I, 12; Still, Crisis at Sea, 411.

[vii] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 75; DANFS, entry for Oglala, (CM-4), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/o/oglala.html.

[viii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 45; Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 227; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 31.

[ix] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 45; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 31.

[84]

7 December The Bureau of Ordnance issues orders for the removal of 20 5-inch, 51-caliber; 20 6-inch, 50-caliber; 4 5-inch, 50-caliber; and 26 3-inch, 50-caliber guns from the fleet for use on merchant men.[i] 

8 December The patrol boat Rush (SP-712) strikes a submerged log at the entrance of the back channel of League Island Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, and is later salvaged.[ii] 

8 December The Bureau of Ordnance awards the first contract for depth charge throwing Y Guns to the General Ordnance Company of Groton, Connecticut, although work had begun on 24 November in advance of the contract. The first deliveries are made on 10 December.[iii] 

9 December The schooner barge Washington (SP-1241) runs aground and sinks at the entrance to Ambrose Channel between New York and New Jersey.[iv] 

10 December An enemy submarine torpedoes and sinks the steamer Owasco in the Mediterranean Sea, killing two.[v] 

10 December The Navy Department takes delivery of the first Y Guns.[vi] 

11 December The submarine tender Bushnell (AS-2), tugs Genesee (AT-55), Conestoga (SP-1128), and Lykens (SP-876/AT-56), and submarines L-1 (SS-40), L-2 (SS-41), L-3 (SS-42), L-4 (SS-43), L-9 (SS-49), L-10 (SS-50), L-11 (SS-51), and E-1 (SS-24) sail from Newport, Rhode Island, to the Azores. E-1 is ordered to remain there, while Bushnell and the L-class boats proceed to Queenstown, Ireland. The tugs return to the United States.[vii] 

12 December The motor boat Elizabeth (SP-972) collides with the American steamer Northland and sinks in the harbor at Norfolk, Virginia. Two are killed, but the vessel is salvaged.[viii] 

13 December Vice Admiral W. S. Sims relieves Captain William D. MacDougall as Naval Attaché in London.[ix] 

14 December Battleship Division Nine is assigned to the Grand Fleet as the Sixth Battle Squadron. Rear Admiral Hugh Rodman recommends to Vice Admiral W. S. Sims that Texas (BB-35) be added to the division.[x] 

15 December Vice Admiral W. S. Sims visits the Sixth Battle Squadron at Scapa Flow, Scotland.[xi] 

15–16 December During severe weather while at sea, the destroyers Ammen (DD-35), Parker (DD-48), Paulding (DD-22), and Sampson (DD-63) suffer the loss of funnels and masts.[xii] 

16 December The destroyer Benham (DD-49) recovers four boat loads of survivors from the British steamer Foylemore. The destroyer made the recovery in adverse weather conditions that later devolved into a whole gale. She disembarked the survivors and weathered the storm at Falmouth, England.[xiii]

______________

[i] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 44.

[ii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 2.

[iii] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 106.

[iv] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 2.

[v] Ibid., 12.

[vi] Llewellyn-Jones, Royal Navy, 161.

[vii] Cablegram from OPNAV to W. S. Sims, 13 November 1917; cablegram from OPNAV to W. S. Sims, 4 December 1917; cablegram from W. S. Sims to Herbert O. Dunn, 11 December 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 5.

[ix] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 13 December 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Cablegram from Hugh Rodman to W. S. Sims, 14 December 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Hugh Rodman, 15 December 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 31 December 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[xiii] DANFS, entry for Benham I (Destroyer No. 49), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/b/benham-i.html.

[85]

17 December The troopship Leviathan (ID-1326) leaves her pier in Hoboken, New Jersey, for her first journey across the Atlantic, carrying 7,254 troops and 2,000 sailors to Liverpool, England. She arrives on 24 December.[i] 

17 December Submarine F-1 (SS-20) is rammed and sunk by F-3 (SS-22) off San Pedro, California; 19 enlisted men are killed.[ii] 

17 December The torpedo repair base is established at Queenstown, Ireland, after Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels ordered its establishment on 16 November.[iii] 

17 December Caught in a violent gale while patrolling in the Bay of Biscay, the armed yacht Remlik (SP-157) sights a submarine, which submerges before the gun crew could fire a shot. As the waves broke over her stern, a depth charge broke free and began rolling around on deck, its safety pin having worked loose. Amid the storm, Chief Boatswain’s Mate John MacKenzie dashed out and secured the weapon while other crew members lashed it down, potentially preventing a detonation and loss of the ship. For his heroism, he receives the Medal of Honor.[iv] 

17 December The Armed yacht Nokomis (SP-609/PY-6) with tugs Nahant (SP-1250) and Penobscot (SP-982), towing three French submarine chasers, sail from Philadelphia for Gibraltar by way of Bermuda and the Azores.[v] 

18 December Naval Air Station Key West, Florida, is established, Lieutenant Stanley V. Parker, USCG, commanding.[vi] 

18 December The battleship Mississippi (BB-41) is commissioned under command of Captain Joseph L. Jayne.[vii] 

19 December At the suggestion of the Admiralty, American L-class submarines are designated “AL” while serving in European waters so as to avoid confusion with British L-class submarines. U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters issues an official statement about this change on 22 December.[viii] 

19 December The monitor Monterey (BM-6) in tow by collier Ajax (AC-14) arrives at Pearl Harbor Naval Station. The monitor will serve as station ship at Pearl Harbor for the remainder of World War I.[ix] 

20 December The armed yacht Galatea (SP-714), tug Concord (SP-773), and two submarine chasers arrive at Bermuda.[x] 

20 December An enemy submarine torpedoes the steamer Suruga in the Mediterranean Sea off Santa Stefano, Italy, near San Remo, one mile from shore. The ship is beached and salvaged.[xi] 

20 December Congress passes legislation authorizing each senator and representative in Congress to appoint an additional candidate for commissioning at the U.S. Naval Academy, increasing the total to five midshipmen per member of Congress. The legislation also authorizes the Secretary of the Navy to appoint 100 midshipmen from the enlisted ranks.[xii]

______________

[i] History of the U.S.S. Leviathan, 56, 61–62.

[ii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 5.

[iii] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 169, 270.

[iv] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 112–13; William A. DuPuy and John W. Jenkins, The World War and Historic Deeds of Valor from Official Records and Illustrations of the United States and Allied Governments, vol. VI (Chicago: National Historic Pub. Association, 1919), 487; Navy Department, Record of Medals of Honor Issued, 69.

[v] Cablegram from OPNAV to W. S. Sims, 18 December 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 45; Larzelere, Coast Guard, 149.

[vii] DANFS, entry for Mississippi II (Battleship No. 41), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/mississippi-iii.html.

[viii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 19 December 1917; U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, Office Memorandum No. 25, 22 December 1917,  Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] DANFS, entry for Monterey II (Monitor No. 6), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/monterey-ii.html.

[x] Cablegram from OPNAV to W. S. Sims, 24 December 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 12.

[xii] An Act to Increase the Number of Midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy, Public Law 65-93, U.S. Statutes at Large 40 (1917): 430; Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 74.

[86]

22 December The submarine chaser SC-117 burns off Fortress Monroe, Virginia, lighthouse.[i] 

22 December The armed yacht Venetia (SP-431), tugs Barnegat (SP-1232) and Gypsum Queen (SP-430), and five submarine chasers sail for European waters.[ii] 

23 December The armed yacht Nokomis (SP-609/PY-6), tugs Nahant (SP-1250) and Penobscot (SP-982), and three submarine chasers arrive at Bermuda.[iii] 

24 December Henry Ford writes to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels proposing the production of fabricated boats, up to 500 in number. Ford wrote, “We will undertake the construction of these boats with all possible speed, and deliver them to the U.S. Government without profit to us.” This proposal results in the creation of the “Eagle” boats.[iv] 

26 December American Naval Planning Section, London, forms at the headquarters of the Force Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.[v] 

27 December The Q-ship Santee is torpedoed, possibly by the German submarine U-105, off Queenstown, Ireland. Santee is damaged but made port.[vi] 

28 December Lieutenant (j.g.) F. P. Culbert assumes command of the U.S. Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service, Centre des Dirigibles, Paimboeuf, France.[vii] 

28 December U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters issues Force Instructions No. 4, regarding organization and communications among forces in the war zones.[viii] 

28 December By agreement between the Department of the Treasury and the Navy Department, the Office of Naval Intelligence through the Aid for Information begins cooperating with the Division of Customs in all ports of the United States in the examination and inspection of personnel and material on merchant vessels incoming, outgoing, and in port.[ix] 

28 December The U.S. government assumes control of all of the nation’s railroads, and the Navy simultaneously assigns Henry P. Anewalt of the Bureau of Ordnance to oversee the efficient movement of supplies for the war effort.[x] 

29 December The armed yachts May (SP-164) and Cythera (SP-575) arrive at Gibraltar. The cargo ship Buena Ventura (ID-1335) sails for Hampton Roads, Virginia.[xi]

30 December Vice Admiral W. S. Sims requests that consideration be given to destroyers safely carrying the maximum number of depth charges possible. This includes sacrificing use of the aft gun if necessary.[xii] 

31 December The American Naval Planning Section, London, submits Memorandum No. 1, concerning the North Sea Mine Barrage.[xiii]

______________

[i] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 4.

[ii] Cablegram from OPNAV to W. S. Sims, 24 December 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 303.

[v] Navy Department, The American Naval Planning Section London (Washington, DC: GPO, 1923), 490.

[vi] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 1; Still, Crisis at Sea, 476.

[vii] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, on aviation—weekly report of operations, 15 January 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, Force Instructions No. 4, 28 December 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Memorandum from William S. Benson to Commandant, Fifth Naval District, on co-operation of the Aid for Information with the Department of the Treasury at the ports in the Fifth Naval District, 28 December 1917, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 30–31.

[xi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 1 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 1 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL. 

[xii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to MELVUS, 30 December, Reel 2, ME-11, NDL.

[xiii] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 1–9.

[87]

1918

1 January Naval Air Station Dunkirk, France, is established with Lieutenant Godfrey deC. Chevalier in command.[i] 

2 January The cargo ships Neches, Ohioan (ID-3280), Apelles, and Montpelier (ID-1954), and transport Florence Luckenbach, arrive at St. Nazaire, France. Transports Monticello, Franklin, and cargo ship Kerowlee arrive at La Pallice.[ii] 

2 January The destroyer Rowan (DD-64) chases off a submarine engaging three merchant vessels. Her intervention saves two vessels, but Rowan is forced to help a third abandon ship before it sinks.[iii] 

2 January K-Tube listening devices are used for the first time in attempting to locate submerged U-boats in the English Channel, where one is attacked there after the device helps locate it. The sub is believed to be destroyed in the attack, but evidence is unclear.[iv] 

2 January The American Naval Planning Section in London publishes its Memorandum No. 2. It recommends:

  • that the planning section work as a unit, with all members considering the same subject simultaneously;
  • that its duty be more general than proposed by the First Sea Lord;
  • that it be free to consider questions that seem most urgent to the Force Commander [Sims] and to members of the section;
  • and that it be accorded the privileges of the Admiralty, with complete freedom of action so far as the Admiralty is concerned.

All of the recommendations are later approved. The memorandum also lists seven initial areas of study: the North Sea Mine Barrage, the English Channel, the Strait of Otranto, tactics of contact with submarines, the convoy system, cooperation of the U.S. naval forces and naval forces of the Allies, and joint naval doctrine. [v] 

3 January The destroyers Conyngham (DD-58), Porter (DD-59), and Drayton (DD-23) arrive at Birkenhead, England. The cargo ship Munplace (ID-2346) and oiler George G. Henry (ID-1560) arrive at Bordeaux, France.[vi] 

3 January Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson informs Vice Admiral W. S. Sims that the Bureau of Ordnance will have ten 14-inch, 50-caliber guns available as scheduled for use as railway guns and that plans are in the works for preparing mounts for them. Benson requests that Sims approach the Admiralty to ensure it is favorable toward a plan to have Navy personnel man the guns ashore.[vii] 

3 January The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations informs Vice Admiral W. S. Sims that it has decided to merge all naval forces in France under a single command, designated U.S. Naval Officer in France, under the direct orders of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in European Waters. Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson is directed to assume the new position, reporting to Vice Admiral W. S. Sims.[viii]

______________

[i] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 60; Still, Crisis at Sea, 123.

[ii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 2 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 5 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] DANFS, entry for Rowan, (Destroyer No. 64), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/r/rowan-ii.html; submarine report from Commanding Officer USS Rowan to Commander U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, 7 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Feuer, Navy in World War I, 40; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 285–86.

[v] Navy Department, American Naval Planning Section, 10–11, 490.

[vi] Cablegram from Gay (Liverpool) to William S. Sums, 3 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 3 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 3 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 3 January 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 3 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[88]

4 January Rear Admiral Albert P. Niblack breaks his flag aboard the destroyer Decatur (DD-5) as Commander, Squadron Two, Patrol Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, also known as U.S. Patrol Forces Based on Gibraltar.[i] 

4 January Vice Admiral W. S. Sims cables General John J. Pershing reporting that “all the forces under my command are disposed with the primary purpose of assisting in the safe and prompt dispatch of troops and supplies to France and safe convoy out of France.” He adds that he will divert vessels to new destinations at Pershing’s request.[ii] 

4 January The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations cables Admiral Austin M. Knight, Commander-in-Chief, Asiatic Fleet, and orders him to proceed immediately to Yokohama, Japan, for a courtesy visit and to await further orders in regard to the deteriorating situation in Vladivostok, Russia.[iii] 

4 January The Admiralty requests that the first shipment of MK VI mines sail from the United States to Scotland on 1 February, with the bases at Invergordon and Inverness capable of handling 3,500 mines per week.[iv] 

5 January The American cargo ship A. A. Raven, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Heckel, rescues a French sailor, R. P. Marie, who was the only survivor of the French patrol boat Gouland II, sunk 4 January.[v] 

5 January The American Naval Planning Section, London, issues Memorandum No. 3, which addresses further characteristics of the North Sea Mine Barrage in regard to Memorandum No. 1.[vi] 

5 January The transport George Washington (ID-3018) and troopship Finland (ID-4543) sail for Norfolk, Virginia, from European waters. The cargo ship Munalbro arrives at Bordeaux, France, and the cargo ship Manta (ID-2036) arrives at Ponta Delgada, Azores.[vii] 

6 January The Rochefort District of U.S. Naval Forces in France is established with the arrival of Rear Admiral Newton A. McCully Jr.[viii] 

6 January The steamer Harry Luckenbach is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-93 two miles north-northwest of Penmarch, France, while in a convoy under escort by the armed yachts Wanderer (SP-132) and Kanawha II (SP-130). Eight were killed, however Wanderer rescues 26 survivors.[ix] 

6 January The cargo ship Montoso arrives at Bordeaux, France.[x] 

7 January The scout cruiser Birmingham (CS-2) arrives in Plymouth, England.[xi] 

7 January Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson approves the establishment of kite balloon patrol stations at Berehaven and Queenstown, Ireland. On 8 January, Sims cables Benson to clarify that the stations turned over from the British would be at Berehaven and Loch Swilly, Ireland.[xii]

______________

[i] Cablegram from Albert P. Niblack to W. S. Sims, 4 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to John J. Pershing, 4 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Cablegram from OPNAV to Austin M. Knight, 4 January 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to Bureaus of Ordnance, Supplies and Accounts, and Commandant, Norfolk Navy Yard, on schedule for shipment of mines, 4 January 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Extract from war diary of U.S.S. A. A. Raven, 3 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 12–13.

[vii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 5 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 6 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 7 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 13 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Wilson, American Navy in France, 119.

[ix] Wilson, American Navy in France, 165–67; Husband, Coast of France, 73–75; cablegram from Henry T. Wilson to W. S. Sims, 6 January 1918; memorandum from Commanding Officer, U.S.S. Wanderer to Commander Patrol Force, on operations of convoy January 5, 1918, resulting in loss of four ships, 7 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL; Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 12.

[x] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 7 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Cablegram from Hussey to W. S. Sims, 7 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 7 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 8 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[89]

7 January The store ship Bridge (AF-1) arrives in Brest, France, while the cargo ship Dochra (ID-1758) sails for the United States from European waters.[i] 

7 January The British transports Lapland and Canada, and troop transport Saxonia arrive in European waters.[ii] 

7 January In response to the U.S. Army using Bordeaux, France, as a port for store ships and its requests to use it as a port for troop transports, Vice Admiral W. S. Sims asks if the Navy Department can send additional destroyers for escort service along the French coast.[iii] 

7 January The armed yachts Nokomis (SP-609/PY-6), Venetia (SP-431), and Galatea (SP-714), tugs Nahant (SP-1250), Barnegat (SP-1232), Gypsum Queen (SP-430), Concord (SP-773), and Penobscot (SP-982), along with ten French submarine chasers, sail from Bermuda for the Azores.[iv] 

8 January Two parties of men, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Edwin Wolleson and Lieutenant Commander L. M. Stewart arrive at Invergordon and Inverness, Scotland, to begin development of Overseas Mine Bases 17 and 18, respectively. Base 17 will use the facilities at the Dalmore Distillery at Dalmore, Alness, and Base 18 those of the Glen Albyn Distillery.[v] 

8 January Vice Admiral W. S. Sims reports to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations about the Army’s use of Bordeaux, France, for store ships, creating an immediate demand for more destroyers to protect the French coast.[vi] 

8 January The first group of student officers report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to Naval Air Station Key West, Florida, for flight training.[vii] 

8 January The Swiss Red Cross reports that Ship’s Cook 1st Class Francis Murphy and Seamen 2nd Class Albert DeMello of the torpedoed destroyer Jacob Jones (DD-61) are prisoners of war in Germany.[viii] 

8 January Vice Admiral W. S. Sims is officially designated as the American member of the Allied Naval Council.[ix] 

8 January Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson appoints Commander Hutch I. Cone, Commander Frank MacCrary, and Lieutenant (j.g.) G. R. Fearing as members of a Joint Army-Navy Aircraft Committee in Paris.[x] 

8 January The armed yacht May (SP-164) sails from Gibraltar for Brest, France, while the protected cruiser New Orleans (CL-22) arrives at Gibraltar with transport Otsego (ID-1628) and Italian steamer Marte. The steamer Olivant and cargo ship Satsuma (SP-2038) arrive at Brest, with Satsuma sailing to Bordeaux, France, the same day.[xi]

____________

[i] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 7 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 7 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 8 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 7 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 8 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 65.

[vi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 8 January 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Besch, “Navy Second to None,” 276.

[viii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 8 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Trask, Captains and Cabinets, 180.

[x] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 8 January 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Cablegram from S. N. O. Gibraltar to Admiralty, 9 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 9 January 1918; cablegram from Albert P. Niblack to W. S. Sims, 10 January 1918; cablegram from Henry B. Wilson to W. S. Sims, 15 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[90]

9 January The Naval Overseas Transportation Service is officially established under the direction of Commander Charles Belknap. The service took control of all U.S. shipping of troops to the war zone from the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts. Established to transport supplies for military and naval forces overseas, it grows to include 490 cargo vessels of 3.8 million deadweight tons.[i] 

9 January The gunboat Paducah (PG-18) arrives at Ponta Delgada, Azores.[ii] 

9 January The transport Hancock (AP-3) and destroyers Terry (DD-25) and Beale (DD-40) sail from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the Azores. Hancock carries Rear Admiral Herbert O. Dunn, Staff Aviation Company, and a Marine guard of 50 men and two 7-inch guns intended for the defense of Ponta Delgada.[iii] 

10 January Vice Admiral W. S. Sims cables the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, detailing that Captain Richard H. Leigh, after two weeks of work with listening devices in the English Channel, reports that the American gear proved superior to that of the British. Sims notes, “The maximum possible number of submarine chasers equipped with listening devices and manned by personnel trained for this work should be placed in service in [the] war zone without delay.”[iv] 

10 January Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson wires Vice Admiral W. S. Sims to report that Texas (BB-35) will be assigned to Battleship Division Nine, and be accompanied by the destroyer Caldwell (DD-69).[v] 

10 January The American Naval Planning Section, London, publishes Memorandum No. 5, concerning the employment of merchant vessels as auxiliary cruisers.[vi] 

10 January The Admiralty writes Vice Admiral W. S. Sims that they “anticipate that enemy ‘U’ Cruisers [long-range U-boats] will probably be ready for service in the early Spring and are likely to operate off the Coast of America.”[vii] 

10 January The transport Kentuckian (ID-1544) arrives at St. Nazaire, France.[viii] 

10 January The transports DeKalb (ID-3010), Antigone (ID-3007), El Occidente (ID-3307), Suwanee (ID-1320), Floridian (ID-3875), and Dakotan (ID-3882), cargo ships Minnesotan (ID-4545) and City of Savannah, along with store ship Calamares (ID-3662/AF-18), sail from Quiberon, France, for the United States.  The cargo ship Moldegaard (ID-4324) sails for Lisbon, Portugal, while the cargo ship Nansemond (ID-1395) and armed yacht Artemis (SP-593) arrive at St. Nazaire and the transport Virginian (ID-3920) arrives at La Pallice.[ix] 

11 January The cargo ships Munwood (ID-4460) and Cauto (ID-1538), and collier Nero (AC-17) arrive at Bordeaux, France; the latter with a cargo of coal. The tanker Gold Shell (ID-3021) sails from Lamlash, Scotland, for Rosyth, Scotland.[x] 

11 January The American Naval Planning Section, London, publishes Memorandum No. 6 about the closing of the Skagerrak in the Baltic Sea. This is the first strategic problem solved by the planning section. The solution was requested by the Admiralty Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff to provide an alternative plan to compare with that prepared by their own plans division.[xi]

_______________

[i] Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 19; Clephane, Naval Overseas Transportation, 1; Navy Department, Annual Report 1919, 26–27; memorandum from William S. Benson to Commandants of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Naval Districts, Commandants of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Norfolk Navy Yards, Bureaus of Navigation, Ordnance, Steam Engineering, Construction and Repair, Medicine and Surgery, and Supplies and Accounts, Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet, Commander Train, Atlantic Fleet, commanding officers of all vessels of Naval Overseas Transportation Service and of Train Atlantic Fleet, on Naval Overseas Transportation Service, 9 January 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Albert P. Niblack, 9 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 8 January 1918; cablegram from OPNAV to W. S. Sims, 10 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to SENAFLOAT, Ponta Delgada, 10 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 10 January 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 10 January 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 25–26.

[vii] Letter from W. F. Nicholson to W. S. Sims, 10 January 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 10 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to War Department, 11 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Cablegrams from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 12 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 14 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 27–34.

[91]

11 January Vice Admiral W. S. Sims cables the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and reports a plan to use 14-inch guns as railroad artillery “is considered feasible but not thought practicable or desirable to man and use them as a purely U.S. naval operation.”[i] 

12 January Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson cables Vice Admiral W. S. Sims, noting “We are so much impressed by the success of C and K tubes we are sending them over as fast as we can have them made and delivered. The numerous sinkings close inshore along [the] south and west coast[s] of [the] United Kingdom impress upon us the tremendous possibilities of successful offensive operations by vigorous use of these tubes.”[ii] 

12 January The cargo ships Beaufort (ID-3008/AK-6), Fred Luckenbach, and Kerowlee arrive in France with cargoes of coal.[iii] 

12 January The oiler Arethusa (AO-7), tug Genesee (AT-55), and submarines E-1 (SS-24), L-3 (SS-42), and L-4 (SS-43) arrive at Ponta Delgada, Azores.[iv] 

12 January The cargo ship City of Atlanta sails for the United States while the transport Iroquois arrives at La Pallice, France.[v] 

13 January The destroyers Paulding (DD-22) and Ammen (DD-35) sail from Queenstown, Ireland, to Brest, France, to escort an American store ship.[vi] 

13 January The gunboat Paducah (PG-18) sails from Ponta Delgada, Azores, for Gibraltar as destroyer Aylwin (DD-47) arrives at Ponta Delgada. The cargo ship Edgar Luckenbach (ID-4597) arrives at St. Nazaire, France, and the cargo ship Montoso sails for Hampton Roads, Virginia.[vii] 

13 January The Navy Department designates the gunboat Wheeling (PG-14) as a shore station to assist Allied men-of-war and merchant vessels in passing distress and other messages to naval authorities until a British wireless station at the Azores is completed. On 20 January, Wheeling begins operations by issuing war warnings.[viii] 

13 January The number two turbine generator casing on destroyer Rowan (DD-64) explodes, killing Chief Machinist’s Mate Willis Martin Goodrow.[ix] 

14 January The destroyers Aylwin (DD-47) sails from Ponta Delgada, Azores, and store ship Bridge (AF-1) sails from Brest, France, both bound for Queenstown, Ireland. The American cargo ship Adelheid arrives at Gibraltar.[x] 

14 January The American Naval Planning Section, London, publishes Memorandum No. 7, concerning assigning American destroyers to the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow, Scotland. The section recommends that 12 destroyers exchange duty with an equivalent number of British destroyers, rotating ships until all American destroyers have experience with the Grand Fleet.[xi]

______________

[i] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 11 January 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 12 January 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 12 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 13 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Cablegram from Admiralty to W. S. Sims, 13 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 13 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 14 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 13 January 1918; document from U.S. Navy Route Office, New York City, about war warnings from USS Wheeling, for information of Allied merchantmen, 23 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] DANFS, entry for Rowan, II (Destroyer No. 64), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/r/rowan-ii.html.

[x] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Melvus, Queenstown, 14 January 1918; cablegram from Albert P. Niblack to W. S. Sims, 15 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 15 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 35–36.

[92]

15 January The British troop transport Nyanza arrives at St. Nazaire, France, and the cargo ship Levisa (ID-1573) sails from Brest for Bordeaux. The cargo ship Bath (ID-1997/AK-4) arrives at Bordeaux with load of coal, and the armed yacht May (SP-164) arrives at Brest.[i] 

15 January Henry Ford submits a proposal to the Navy Department for 100 to 500 “Eagle” boats. These would have 500-tons displacement, be 200-feet long, capable of steaming at 18 knots with a cruising radius of 3,500 miles, and be armed with two 4-inch, 50-caliber guns, Y Guns, machine and antiaircraft guns.[ii] 

16 January The store ship Bridge (AF-1) and destroyers Paulding (DD-22), Aylwin (DD-47), and Ammen (DD-35) arrive at Queenstown, Ireland.[iii] 

16 January The cargo ships Newport News (AK-3), Munplace (ID-2093), and Shoshone (ID-1760), in company with the oiler George G. Henry (ID-1560), sail from Verdon-sur-Mer, France, for the United States.[iv] 

16 January In the evening hours when 100 miles out from Liverpool, England, the Armed Guard aboard the steamer New York spot a barrel-shaped object on the port beam about 1,800 yards away and fire five rounds from the 3-inch gun and two from the 6-inch gun. Their unidentified target is the destroyer Jenkins (DD-42). One of New York’s shells ricochets off the water, passing through a stanchion on the after deck house, killing Seaman 2nd Class William Lusso. It passes through a gun shield striking a gun, injuring four other crewmembers.[v] 

17 January The Navy Department places an order with the Ford Motor Company for construction of 100 Eagle-class patrol boats.[vi] 

17 January The troop transport Mercury (ID-3012) arrives at St. Nazaire, France; the steamer New York arrives at Liverpool, England, and the cargo ship Manta (ID-2036) sails for Hampton Roads, Virginia.[vii] 

17 January While steaming on the Yangtze River approximately 50 miles north of Chenglin, China, Chinese soldiers fire on the gunboat Monocacy (PG-20). Despite displaying the U.S. flag, the attack continues. The Americans return fire with small arms and a battery of 6-pound guns. Chief Yeoman Henry LeRoy O’Brien dies in the exchange and two other men are wounded. Eighteen months after the event, the Chinese government settles with an indemnity of $525.25 to the wounded and $25,000 to Chief O’Brien’s widow.[viii] 

18 January The radio department of the U.S. naval base at Gibraltar is established with Lieutenant B. F. Jenkins as officer in charge.[ix] 

18 January The oiler Cuyama (AO-3) arrives at Lamlash, Firth of Clyde, Scotland.[x] 

18 January Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson recommends approving the expenditure of 1.1 million francs for the excavation and construction of foundations for three 7,000-ton fuel oil storage tanks at Brest to support American naval forces operating along the French coast.[xi]

_____________

[i] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 15 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 16 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 16 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 303.

[iii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to AMPAT Brest, 16 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 18 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Memorandum from F. H. Weaver, Armed Guard officer, SS New York, to William S. Benson, on report of East-bound voyage, 17 January 1918; memorandum from Commanding Officer, USS Jenkins to W. S. Sims, on firing upon U.S.S. Jenkins by S.S. New York, 17 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 34; Navy Department, Engineering, 39.

[vii] Cablegram from Henry B. Wilson to W. S. Sims, 17 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 18 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 20 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] DANFS, entry for Monocacy II (Gunboat No. 20), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/monocacy-ii.html; Tolley, Yangtze Patrol, 81–82.

[ix] Navy Department, Engineering, 127.

[x] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 20 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 18 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[93]

19 January The scout cruiser Birmingham (CS-2) sails from Falmouth, England, for Gibraltar, and the transports Terry and Hancock (AP-3) arrive at Horta, Fayal, Azores. The oil tanker Topila (ID-3001) arrives at Devonport, England, and the tanker William D. Rockefeller (ID-1581) arrives at Lamlash, Firth of Clyde, Scotland. The submarine tender Bushnell (AS-2), fleet tug Genesee (AT-55), and submarines L-1 (SS-40), L-2 (SS-41), L-4 (SS-43), L-10 (SS-50), and L-11 (SS-51) sail for Queenstown, Ireland, from the Azores. Submarine L-3 (SS-42) returns to Ponta Delgada after discovering a chlorine leak in the after batteries.[i] 

19 January During a heavy northwest gale, submarine chaser SC-319 built for the French Navy gets separated from a convoy on its way from Bermuda to the Azores. The tug Concord (SP-773) reports the French ensign on the SC-319 refused a tow and insisted on proceeding under her own power. Later, repeated searches fail to locate the vessel or her crew.[ii] 

19 January Rear Admiral Herbert O. Dunn assumes command of the Azores naval detachment.[iii] 

19 January Naval Air Station Anacostia, D.C., is established to provide a base for short test flights, provide housing and repair services for seaplanes on test flights from Hampton Roads and Langley Field, Virginia, and display new seaplane types for study by personnel working in Navy Department offices concerned with their construction and improvement.[iv] 

19 January Rear Admiral Albert P. Niblack urgently recommends that a repair ship be assigned to Gibraltar to support American naval forces with a complement of enlisted personnel, two engineer officers, tools, and equipment.[v] 

20 January The first stores forwarded from the United States arrive by way of Liverpool, England, at Overseas Mine Bases 17 and 18, Scotland.[vi] 

20 January The tanker Gargoyle (ID-1656) arrives at Portsmouth, England. The tug Gypsum Queen (SP-430), destroyer Beale (DD-40), and submarine chaser SC-170 arrives at Ponta Delgada, Azores.[vii] 

21 January The United States Lighthouse Service’s biological station at Beaufort, North Carolina, is placed under Navy jurisdiction.[viii] 

21 January The American Naval Planning Section, London, releases Memorandum No. 8, providing an estimate of the general naval situation. This provided a self-education for the Americans and was submitted to the Allied Naval Council, where it received favorable informal comment from the French and Italian members.[ix] 

21 January Vice Admiral W. S. Sims reports to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations that the British agree to accept 40 American naval aviators for practice patrol flights in various types of seaplanes. Replying on 24 January, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson notes 36 aviators have been ordered overseas since 1 January and “Aviators are being sent abroad as rapidly as they become available.”[x]

______________

[i] Cablegram from Falmouth to W. S. Sims, 18 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 21 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 22 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 22 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Cablegram from Herbert O. Dunn to W. S. Sims, 24 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 27 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 31 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Cablegram from Herbert O. Dunn to W. S. Sims, 20 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 60.

[v] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 19 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 66.

[vii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 22 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 21 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 128.

[ix] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 37–58.

[x] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 21 January 1918; cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 24 January 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[94]

21 January The transport John D. Rockefeller sails for Newport News, Virginia.[i] 

23–23 January The Allied Naval Council meets in London for the first time, with Vice Admiral W. S. Sims in attendance as the U.S. representative. The representatives adopt articles defining its constitution, membership, purposes, and methods, and decide that every nation present appoint a naval officer of suitable rank residing in France to serve as the liaison officer to the Allied War Council.[ii] 

23 January The oil tanker Tolipa sails from Devonport, England, for the United States. The cargo ship Pensacola (ID-2078/AK-7) sails for New Orleans, Louisiana.[iii] 

24 January Specifications and blueprints are drawn up by Bureau of Construction and Repair for the Davis Gun Carrier [recoilless aircraft cannon] and received at the Naval Aircraft Factory. Later designated N-1, this was the first airplane designed and built by the Navy for the attack role.[iv] 

24 January The transport  Hancock (AP-3); and armed yachts Venetia (SP-431), Galatea (SP-714), and Nokomis (SP-609/PY-6); destroyers Beale (DD-40) and Terry (DD-25); tugs Nahant (SP-1250), Barnegat (SP-1232), Gypsum Queen (SP-430), Penobscot (SP-982), Concord (SP-773), and Kingfisher; troopship Buford; and submarine chasers SC-29, SC-67, SC-170, SC-172, SC-314, SC-160, and SC-318 arrive at Ponta Delgada, Azores. SC-171 arrives in Bermuda.[v] 

25 January The armed yacht Guinevere (SP-512) strikes a rock in a storm off the French coast on Talut Point near Lorient, wrecks, and is lost.[vi] 

25 January The minelayers Roanoke (ID-1695) and Housatonic (SP-1697) are commissioned.[vii] 

25 January Rear Admiral Herbert O. Dunn wires Vice Admiral W. S. Sims, requesting a repair ship be stationed at Ponta Delgada, Azores, as soon as possible. He deemed the existing repair facilities at U.S. Naval Base No. 13 “absolutely inadequate.” Dunn adds that two tugs are essential to assist disabled vessels and handle vessels in the harbor and that yachts “are of no real value at this base.”[viii] 

26 January The tug Concord (SP-773) and armed yacht Venetia (SP-431) sail from Ponta Delgada, Azores, to search for the missing French submarine chaser SC-319.[ix] 

26 January The fulminate drying rooms at the Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island, explode, killing 13 and injuring 12.[x] 

26 January The submarine L-10 (SS-50) arrives at Berehaven, Queenstown, Ireland, while the transport America (ID-3006) and store ship Bridge (AF-1) sail for the United States.[xi] 

27 January The submarines L-1 (SS-40), L-2 (SS-41), L-3 (SS-42), and L-4 (SS-43), the submarine tender Bushnell (AS-2), and the fleet tug Genesee (AT-55) arrive in Queenstown, Ireland, from the Azores after leaving Newport News, Virginia, on 4 December 1917. The cargo ship Munindies (ID-2093) arrives at Bordeaux, France, while the cargo ship Bath (ID-1997/AK-4) departs Bordeaux for Brest. The armed yacht Corsair (SP-159) sails from Lisbon, Portugal, for Brest.[xii]

_____________

[i] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 22 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 4 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 27 January 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL; Halpern, Naval War in the Mediterranean, 426–27.

[iii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 23 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 23 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 60.

[v] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 24 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 25 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to Herbert O. Dunn, 24 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 2; Wilson, American Navy in France, 126; Husband, Coast of France, 75–76; cablegram from Henry B. Wilson to W. S. Sims, 25 January 1918; extracts from war diary of Squadron Four Patrol Force while based on Brest, France, 25 January 1918 to 4 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 78.

[viii] Cablegram from Herbert O. Dunn to W. S. Sims, 25 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Cablegram from Ponta Delgada to Admiralty, 26 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 498; Robert L. Sminkey, “Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island, http://www.diodon349.com/torpedoman/tm_stuff/naval_torpedo_station_newport_rhode_island.htm.

[xi] Cablegram from Joel R. P. Pringle to W. S. Sims, 27 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 27 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Still, Crisis at Sea, 458; cablegram from Henry B. Wilson to W. S. Sims, 27 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[95]

27 January The schooner Julia Frances is sunk by gunfire from the German submarine U-152 approximately 100 miles from Lisbon, Portugal.[i] 

28 January A group of 50 enlisted men from Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, report to the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for training in aircraft repair before assignment overseas.[ii] 

28 January The Navy Department approves designating Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in France.[iii] 

28 January The destroyers Beale (DD-40) and Terry (DD-25), and troopship Buford sail for St. Nazaire, France, from Ponta Delgada, Azores. The armed yacht Corsair (SP-159) arrives in Brest while the cargo ships Munalbro departs Bordeaux for Brest and Tiger (ID-1640) from St. Nazaire for Bordeaux. The armed yacht Utowana (SP-951) and four Canadian drifters arrive at Ponta Delgada.[iv] 

29 January The destroyers Worden (DD-16) and Stewart (DD-13) arrive at Ponta Delgada, Azores. The steamer Madawaska (ID-3011), transport Mercury (ID-3012), and cargo ships Neches, Santa Rosa (ID-2169), and Santa Clara (ID-4523) sail for the United States.[v] 

29 January The Navy Department designates Lorient and Rochefort, France, as U.S. Naval Bases No. 19 and 20, respectively.[vi] 

29 January U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain Walter Hines Page wires Secretary of State Robert Lansing to report that a proposal by the Admiralty to make Vice Admiral W. S. Sims an honorary member of the Board of the Admiralty was approved by King George V, “who has expressed the hope that this plan will receive your sanction.”[vii] 

30 January The battleship Texas (BB-35) sails for Scapa Flow to join Battleship Division Nine.[viii] 

30 January The Sixth Battle Squadron accompanies the Grand Fleet for maneuvers in the North Sea; it returns to Scapa Flow on 2 February.[ix] 

30 January The American Naval Planning Section, London, releases Memorandums No. 9 and 10. The former examines the Adriatic situation, providing Vice Admiral W. S. Sims with an offensive naval plan for presentation and discussion before the Allied Naval Council. The latter addresses the problems of German cruiser submarines and how to best defend, hunt, and destroy the long-range U-boats.[x]

______________

[i] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 12; report from U.S.S. Hancock, “American Schooner Julia Frances sunk by Gunfire, Latitude 38N, Longitude 11–17W,” 7 April 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 60.

[iii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Henry B. Wilson, 28 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Cablegram from Herbert O. Dunn to W. S. Sims, 28 January 1918; cablegram from Henry B. Wilson to W. S. Sims, 28 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 28 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Cablegram from Herbert O. Dunn to W. S. Sims, 29 January 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 30 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 29 January 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Cablegram from Walter H. Page to Robert Lansing, 29 January 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Jones, Battleship Operations, 39; Still, Crisis at Sea, 412.

[ix] Jones, Battleship Operations, 33.

[x] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 59–83.

[96]

30 January The Navy Department closes contracts with 30 lumber mills in New England for their entire output of airplane-grade spruce for the next six months for the construction of naval aircraft.[i] 

31 January The tanker Gargoyle (ID-1656), troopship Mount Vernon (ID-4508), and transport Agamemnon (ID-3004) sail for the United States.[ii] 

31 January President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2798 transferring the Department of Commerce lighthouse tender Palmetto to the Navy.[iii] 

1 February The first H-16 flying boat assigned to operational service is delivered to the air station at Hampton Roads, Virginia. Built by Curtiss and the Naval Aircraft Factory, the H-16 is used on antisubmarine patrol.[iv] 

1 February The Navy Department appoints a special board to make recommendations for the methods to be taken to provide for “defense against submarines in home waters.” The Chief of Naval Operations approves board’s plan on 6 March.[v] 

1 February The destroyer Allen (DD-66) attacks what is most likely the German submarine UB-63 in the Irish Sea. German records reveal the submarine was lost on patrol in the area. The Admiralty credits Allen with slightly damaging the submarine.[vi] 

2 February The gunboat Paducah (PG-18) sails for the Azores.[vii] 

3 February Aerial gunnery training for prospective naval aviators and enlisted men begins under Canadian Royal Flying Corps instructors at the Army field at Camp Taliaferro, Fort Worth, Texas.[viii] 

3 February The submarines L-2 (SS-41) and L-4 (SS-43) arrive at Queenstown, Ireland. The American transport Amphion (ID-1888) and cargo ship Montanan arrive at La Pallice, France. The cargo ships Mundale, Mariana (ID-3944), and Moldegaard (ID-4324); and animal transport Rappahannock (ID-1854) arrive at Verdon-sur-Mer, France. The oiler Cuyama (AO-3) and transport Hancock (AP-3) sail for the United States.[ix] 

4 February The destroyers Beale (DD-40) and Terry (DD-25) sail from St. Nazaire, France, for Queenstown, Ireland. The cargo ship Kerowlee arrives at La Pallice; cargo ship Kerkenna at St. Nazaire; steamer Erny, transports El Occidente (ID-3307) and Lenape (ID-2700), and Quiberon arrive at Bordeaux. The armed yacht Isabel (SP-521) arrives at Ponta Delgada, Azores.[x] 

4 February A convoy of 10 vessels, including five store ships, sails from Hampton Roads, Virginia, under escort of the protected cruiser Charleston (CA-19).[xi] 

4 February The American Naval Planning Section, London, publishes Memorandum No. 4 covering notes on submarine hunting by sound that was prepared in collaboration with Captain Richard H. Leigh from his extensive work with early hydrophone technology.[xii]

______________

[i] Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 515.

[ii] Cablegrams from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 1 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Executive Order 2798, 31 January 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 60.

[v] Navy Department, German Submarine Activities, 8–9; memorandum Special Board to Formulate a Plan of Defense in Home Waters to William S. Benson, on defense against submarine attack in home waters, 6 February 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Still, Crisis at Sea, 401.

[vii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 4 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 60; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 32.

[ix] Cablegram from Bryant to W. S. Sims, 3 February 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 3 February 1918; cablegrams from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 4 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Cablegrams from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 5 February 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 7 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Henry B. Wilson, 9 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 14–24.

[97]

4 February After two Allied convoys unknowingly cross paths, the British steamer Glenmorag rams American destroyer McDougal (DD-54), shearing off a part of her stern but causing no casualties. Allied vessels towed the destroyer to Liverpool where she underwent repairs.[i] 

5 February The British-chartered troop transport Tuscania, carrying 2,200 American soldiers of the 32nd Infantry Division, in a British convoy, is torpedoed by the German submarine U-77 and sinks with the loss of 39 crew and 310 soldiers. Tuscania is the first troopship sunk carrying American troops in European waters.[ii] 

5 February The destroyers Beale (DD-40) and Terry (DD-25) arrive at Queenstown, Ireland. The protected cruiser Des Moines (C-15), survey ship Surveyor, Montauk (SP-1213), and submarine chaser SC-173 arrives at Ponta Delgada, Azores. The cargo ship Beaufort (ID-3008/AK-6) arrives at Bordeaux, France, while the steamer Erny and transport Henderson (AP-1) arrive at St. Nazaire.[iii] 

5 February Vice Admiral W. S. Sims wires the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to report that the location for a high-powered radio station will be 17 miles southwest of Bordeaux, France, on the railroad between Bordeaux and Archachon.[iv] 

5 February The American steamer Alamance is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine UB-73, four miles east of the Maidens, Ireland, with a loss of six lives. The 19-man Naval Armed Guard aboard Alamance was on its way back to the United States after being transferred from the troopship Leviathan (ID-1326). All survived.[v] 

7 February The destroyer Patterson (DD-36), while patrolling in the Irish Sea, sights a small boat and subsequently rescues 12 men, survivors of the British steamer Mexico City bound from Hong Kong and torpedoed and sunk on 5 February.[vi] 

7 February The destroyer Stockton (DD-73) and gunboat Paducah (PG-18) arrive at Ponta Delgada, Azores, while the transport Mercury (ID-3012) sails from Ponta Delgada for Hampton Roads, Virginia.[vii] 

7 February The Bureau of Navigation requests the Bureau of Yards and Docks to provide barracks at the Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge plant in Detroit, Michigan, for prospective crews—1,000 enlisted men and 200 training officers—who were to man the Eagle boats under construction. Building commenced 16 February and was completed on 8 June 1918.[viii] 

8 February The former French naval prison in Brest is established as Carola Naval Barracks, eventually housing more than 3,500 Bluejackets.[ix] 

8 February The armed yacht Venetia (SP-431); tugs Nahant (SP-1250) and Penobscot (SP-982); and French submarine chasers SC-29, SC-314, and SC-318 sail for Leixoes, Portugal, from Ponta Delgada, Azores. The Canadian naval drifters 12 and 75 arrive at Ponta Delgada.[x] 

8 February A change in the national aircraft insignia is promulgated by the Navy, which replaces the white star with concentric red, white, and blue circles, with red center most, and reversed the order of the red, white, and blue vertical bands on the rudder, placing the red nearest the rudder post.[xi]

______________

[i] DANFS, entry for McDougal I (Destroyer No. 54), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/mcdougal-i.html; document titled “Sum. Of Military Information in War Diaries Received February 1–7,” 4 February 1917; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 8 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 7 February 1918; memorandum from Richard Werner, commanding officer, USS Kanawha to W. S. Sims, on S.S. Tuscania torpedoed or mined in convoy, 7 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL; Still, Crisis at Sea, 371–72.

[iii] Cablegram from Joel R. P. Pringle to W. S. Sims, 5 February 1918; cablegrams from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 5 February 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 6 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 5 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 12; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 9 February 1918; memorandum from Chief Gunner’s Mate O. J. Murphy, commanding Armed Guard, SS Alamance to William S. Benson, on report of torpedoing and sinking of SS Alamance, 20 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Document titled “Sum. of Military Information in War Diaries Received February 8–16, 1918”; memorandum from Spencer S. Lewis, commanding officer, USS Patterson, to W. S. Sims, on escort duty, 12 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Cablegram from Herbert O. Dunn to W. S. Sims, 7 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 76.

[ix] Wilson, American Navy in France, 102; Still, Crisis at Sea, 112–13.

[x] Cablegram from Herbert O. Dunn to W. S. Sims, 8 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 60; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 32; cablegram from OPNAV to W. S. Sims, 27 January 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[98]

8–9 February A special commission of the Allied Naval Council meets in Rome, Italy, to consider the naval situation in the Mediterranean Sea. During the meeting, Vice Admiral W. S. Sims agrees to send the first American submarine chasers to the Mediterranean and the council discusses and accepts a British plan for establishing in the Strait of Otranto a strong patrol to bottle up enemy submarines in the Adriatic Sea.[i] 

9 February The national ensign is formally raised over Overseas Mine Base 18, Inverness, Scotland.[ii] 

9 February The American steamer Armenia is torpedoed a second time by an enemy submarine, this occurance in the English Channel off St. Catherine’s Light. The ship does not sink and British tugs tow her to Stokes Bay, England.[iii] 

9 February The tugs Concord (SP-773) and Kingfisher, armed yachts Utowana (SP-951) and Rambler (SP-211), and French submarine chasers SC-67, SC-160, SC-170, and SC-172 sail from Ponta Delgada, Azores, for Leixoes, Portugal, while the destroyer Stockton (DD-73) sails from Ponta Delgada bound for Queenstown, Ireland. The destroyers Worden (DD-16) and Stewart (DD-13) arrive at Brest, France. The protected cruiser Des Moines (C-15) sails from Ponta Delgada to Hampton Roads, Virginia.[iv] 

9 February Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson assigns the tugs Montauk (SP-1213) and Gypsum Queen (SP-430) to the forces under command of Vice Admiral W. S. Sims for duty at U.S. Naval Base No. 7, Brest, France.[v] 

10 February Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson writes Vice Admiral W. S. Sims requesting two destroyer divisions for escort and coastal convoy work due to the U.S. Army, beginning in December 1917, routing its store ships to Bordeaux and La Pallice, France.[vi] 

10 February The first Gibraltar-to-Genoa, Italy, convoy sails. It consists of 29 ships and four escorts.[vii] 

11 February The battleship Texas (BB-35) joins the Sixth Battle Squadron at Scapa Flow, Scotland.[viii] 

11 February While their destroyer was undergoing repairs at Liverpool, England, a machine gun crew from McDougal (DD-54) helps board the Russian patrol boats Rasveet and Probeet and arrest their mutinous crews sympathetic to the Bolshevik revolution.[ix] 

11 February The repair ship Prometheus (AR-3), destroyers McCall (DD-28) and MacDonough (DD-9), monitor tender Tonopah (BM-8), submarine L-9 (SS-49), and French submarine chaser SC-171 arrive at Ponta Delgada, Azores. The gunboat Paducah (PG-18) and Canadian naval drifters 2, 7, 8, and 11, sail from Ponta Delgada for Gibraltar.[x]

______________

[i] Still, Crisis at Sea, 447, 493; Halpern, Naval War in the Mediterranean, 430–37; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 14 February 1918, Reel 3, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 65; Still, Crisis at Sea, 100.

[iii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 12; cablegram from OPNAV to W. S. Sims, 9 March 1918; account of the second torpedoing of the Armenia from Chief Boatswain’s Mate Homiak, 9 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Cablegram from Herbert O. Dunn to W. S. Sims, 9 February 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to MELVUS, Queenstown, 12 February 1918; cablegrams from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 10 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 9 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Memorandum from Henry O. Wilson to W. S. Sims, on necessity for more destroyers, 10 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Cablegram from Albert P. Niblack to W. S. Sims, 11 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Jones, Battleship Operations, 38; Still, Crisis at Sea, 421.

[ix] DANFS, entry for McDougal I (Destroyer No. 54), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/mcdougal-i.html; memorandum from W. P. Shiel to commanding officer, USS McDougal, on report of operations, 11 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Cablegram from Herbert O. Dunn to W. S. Sims, 11 February 1918; cablegram from Herbert O. Dunn to W. S. Sims, 13 February 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 14 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[99]

12 February The destroyer Stockton (DD-73) arrives in Queenstown, Ireland. The troopship Leviathan (ID-1326) sails for New York from Liverpool, England. The oil tanker Hisko (SP-485) arrives at Devonport, England. The transport Huron (ID-1408) and troopship Tenadores sail for the United States.[i] 

12 February The national ensign is formally raised over Overseas Mine Base 17, Invergordon, Scotland.[ii] 

12 February The War Department approves General John J. Pershing’s agreement to accept the Navy Department’s offer to use 14-inch naval railroad batteries in the American Expeditionary Forces’ area of operations.[iii] 

13 February The Navy Department awarded a contract to the Baldwin Locomotive Works for the manufacture of naval railway gun cars and locomotives. The company promised to deliver the equipment by 15 June.[iv] 

13 February The minesweeper Anderton (SP-530), of the reestablished minesweeper squadron at U.S. Naval Base Lorient, France, explodes the first enemy naval mine for the squadron.[v] 

13 February The cargo ship Pensacola (ID-2078/AK-7) arrives for fuel at Horta, Fayal, Azores, en route to New Orleans, Louisiana. The cargo ship Houston (AK-1) sails for Ponta Delgada, Azores, from Brest, France.[vi] 

13 February Captain Hutch I. Cone cables Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson to report that there are three experienced H-16 pilots now on active duty with the Royal Naval Air Service. Cone recommends that the first four to six H-16 flying boats be retained in the United States for instructional purposes.[vii] 

13 February The American Naval Planning Section, London, publishes Memorandum No. 11, a study of both Allied and enemy morale. In particular, it looks at how to raise morale among the Allied nations in Europe to counter a downturn in spirit.[viii] 

13 February Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson wires Vice Admiral W. S. Sims and Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson, requesting both men take action to ensure “every possible step is taken to reduce [the] delay of troop transports to [an] absolute minimum.”[ix] 

14 February The repair ship Prometheus (AR-3) and destroyers McCall (DD-28) and MacDonough (DD-9) sail from Ponta Delgada, Azores, for Brest, France. The lighter Hercules, with a cargo of 1,400 horses, escorted by destroyers Drayton (DD-23) and Jarvis (DD-38), sails from Queenstown, Ireland, for Brest.[x] 

14 February The armed yachts Nokomis (SP-609/PY-6), Rambler (SP-211), and Utowana (SP-951), tugs Concord (SP-773) and Kingfisher, and French submarine chasers SC-67, SC-160, SC-170, and SC-172 arrive at Leixoes, Portugal.[xi]

_______________

[i] Cablegrams from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 13 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 65; Still, Crisis at Sea, 100.

[iii] Naval Railway Batteries, 3.

[iv] Ibid., 5; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 270.

[v] Wilson, American Navy in France, 125.

[vi] Cablegrams from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 14 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Cablegram from Hutch I. Cone to W. S. Sims, 13 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 84–90.

[ix] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 13 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Cablegram from Herbert O. Dunn to W. S. Sims, 14 February 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to Henry B. Wilson, 14 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Henry B. Wilson, 16 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[100]

15 February The destroyers Jarvis (DD-38) and Drayton (DD-23) arrive in Brest, France, and transfer homeport from Queenstown, Ireland, for Brest.[i] 

15 February The American transport Astoria (ID-2005/AK-8) is rammed by the French steamer La Drome while anchored in port at Brest, France. The damage requires weeks of repairs.[ii] 

15 February The American Naval Planning Section, London, publishes Memorandum No. 12, which discusses further development of American naval aviation efforts in European waters.[iii] 

15 February The survey ship Surveyor escorts submarines L-3 (SS-42) and L-9 (SS-49) as they sail from Ponta Delgada, Azores, destined for Bantry Bay, Ireland. The cargo ship Pensacola (ID-2078/AK-7) sails from Horta Fayal, Azores, for New Orleans, Louisiana.[iv] 

16 February The transport Henderson (AP-1) sails for the United States.[v] 

16 February In response to intelligence of the sailing of German battle cruisers, the Grand Fleet with the Sixth Battle Squadron sails to reinforce the Fourth Battle Squadron supporting a Scandinavian convoy.[vi] 

17 February The destroyer Davis (DD-65) recovers 22 survivors from the British steamer Pinewood sunk earlier that day.[vii] 

17 February The armed yacht Kanawha II (SP-130) sails for the United States.[viii] 

18 February The first U.S. mine carrier, Ozama, arrives at Kyle of Loch Alsh, Scotland, with stores and equipment for Overseas Mine Bases 17 and 18.[ix] 

18 February The repair ship Prometheus (AR-3), destroyers MacDonough (DD-9) and McCall (DD-28), and armed yacht Isabel (SP-521) arrive in Brest, France. The transport Astoria (ID-2005/AK-8) arrives in Paulliac, France, while the gunboat Paducah (PG-18) and Canadian naval drifters 2, 7, 8, and 11 arrive in Gibraltar.[x] 

18 February Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson shifts his flag to repair ship Prometheus (AR-3).[xi] 

18 February A board of investigation holds Lieutenant (j.g.) Enoch N. Gracie, commander of the tug Concord (SP-773), responsible for the loss of French submarine chasers SC-28 and SC-319.[xii] 

18 February The armed yacht Venetia (SP-431), tugs Penobscot (SP-982) and Nahant (SP-1250), French naval drifters Camelia and Canard, and French submarine chasers SC-160, SC-170, SC-173, SC-314, and SC-318 sail from Leixoes, Portugal, for Gibraltar.[xiii] 

19 February The protected cruiser Tacoma (C-18) arrives in Ponta Delgada, Azores, for coal en route to Hampton Roads, Virginia.[xiv]

_______________

[i] Wilson, American Navy in France, 29; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 108; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 15 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Cablegram from Henry B. Wilson to W. S. Sims, 7 March 1918; memorandum from Warren T. Purdy, Commanding Officer, USS Astoria, to W. S. Sims, about damages and repairs to Astoria, 28 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 91–116.

[iv] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to MELVUS, Queenstown and C-in-C, 16 February 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 17 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 18 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Jones, Battleship Operations, 42.

[vii] DANFS, entry for Davis II (Destroyer No. 54), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/d/davis-ii.html.

[viii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 18 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 66; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 19 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Wilson, American Navy in France, 70; Husband, Coast of France, 17; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 18 February 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 27 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Cablegram from Henry B. Wilson to W. S. Sims, 18 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 18 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[xiii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 20 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[xiv] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to SENAFLOAT, Ponta Delgada, 19 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[101]

19 February The French submarine chaser SC-28 belatedly arrives at Horta, Fayal, Azores, after losing its tow from the tug Concord (SP-773) on 15 January in rough seas. With six sails made from bedsheets, SC-28 made 2 to 3 knots before the wind, and using only a compass to navigate, reached Horta by estimating her position.[i] 

19 February The transports Artemis (ID-2187), China, Aeolus (ID-3005), and Powhatan (ID-3013), and store ship Calamares (ID-3662/AF-18) sail for the United States. The cargo ship Munsomo (ID-1607) arrives at Brest, France.[ii] 

20 February The minesweeper Annie E. Gallup (SP-694) wrecks on Cape Henlopen, Delaware.[iii] 

20 February Captain Charles P. Plunkett begins to assemble and train personnel for the naval railroad batteries.[iv] 

20 February Rear Admiral Albert P. Niblack orders the name of armed yacht Artemis (SP-593) changed to Arcturus.[v] 

20 February The armed yacht Isabel (SP-521) and destroyer MacDonough (DD-9) arrive in Brest, France. The tanker Hisko (SP-485) sails for the United States, while the cargo ship Panaman (ID-3299) arrives at St. Nazaire.[vi] 

21 February Naval Air Station Bolsena, Italy, is established with Ensign William B. Atwater commanding. The station is primarily used for training, and is the first of two air stations established in Italy during the war.[vii] 

21 February The armed yacht Venetia (SP-431), tugs Nahant (SP-1250) and Penobscot (SP-982), and French submarine chasers SC-314, SC-318, SC-170, and SC-172 arrive at Gibraltar. The destroyer Nicholson (DD-52) arrives at Chatham, England, while the protected cruiser Tacoma (C-18) sails from Ponta Delgada, Azores, for Hampton Roads, Virginia. The French tanker Quevilly arrives at Ponta Delgada and the destroyer McCall (DD-28) sails from Brest, France, for Queenstown, Ireland. The French submarine chasers SC-29 and SC-67 arrive at Brest.[viii] 

22 February The French naval drifters Camelia and Canard, and submarine chaser SC-160 arrive at Gibraltar. The destroyer McCall (DD-28) arrives at Queenstown, Ireland.[ix] 

22 February Naval Air Station Queenstown, Ireland, is established with Lieutenant Commander Paul J. Peyton commanding. The station is used as an assembly and repair station serving all naval air stations in Ireland.[x] 

22 February The Director of Naval Communications was requested to provide wireless shore transmitting and receiving facilities at five naval air stations on the Atlantic Coast and at San Diego, California, and Coco Solo, Panama, to permit pilots on patrol to communicate with their bases. In May, this request was expanded to include all naval air stations.[xi]

______________

[i] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 20 February 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to Henry B. Wilson, 21 February 1918; cablegram from Herbert O. Dunn to W. S. Sims, 23 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 165–66.

[ii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 20 February 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 22 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 3.

[iv] Naval Railway Batteries, 5.

[v] DANFS, entry for Artemis I (Yacht), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/a/artemis-yacht-i.html.

[vi] Wilson, American Navy in France, 27; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 21 February 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 22 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 60; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 32.

[viii] Cablegram from Albert P. Niblack to W. S. Sims, 21 February 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to Henry B. Wilson, 22 February 1918; cablegrams from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 22 February 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 23 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Cablegram from Albert P. Niblack to W. S. Sims, 23 February 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 23 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 60; Still, Crisis at Sea, 107.

[xi] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 60; Cooney, Chronology of U.S. Navy, 228; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 32.

[102]

22 February The survey ship Surveyor and submarines L-3 (SS-42) and L-9 (SS-49) arrive at Bantry Bay, Ireland, and the cargo ship Houston (AK-1) arrives at Ponta Delgada, Azores.[i] 

23 February The oiler Arethusa (AO-7) sails from Ponta Delgada, Azores, for New York. The American cargo ships Charlton Hall (ID-1359), Mexican (ID-1655), Santiago (ID-2253), and Millinocket, along with the British cargo ship War Rose and transport Beckenham, French transport Ville d’Oran, and Norwegian steamer Havö, arrive at Quiberon, France.[ii] 

23 February The American Naval Planning Section, London, releases Memorandum No. 13 concerning the employment of K-Tube hydrophones in antisubmarine operations.[iii] 

24 February The destroyers Davis (DD-65), Paulding (DD-22), and Trippe (DD-33) attack a submarine with guns and depth charges and force it to surface. After leaving the exposed submarine, her crew signaled “We Are English” and identified the vessel as HMS L2. The engagement did not result in any casualties and Davis escorted the British submarine to Berehaven, Ireland, for repairs.[iv] 

24 February The troopship Von Steuben (ID-3017), transports Antigone (ID-3007) and Martha Washington (ID-3019), and cargo ships Casco (ID-1957), Lewis K. Thurlow, Wachusett (ID-1840), and Woonstocket arrive at Brest, France. The troopship Finland (ID-4543), transport President Lincoln, British cargo ship War Rose, and American cargo ships Santiago (ID-2253), Charlton Hall (ID-1359), and Mexican (ID-1655) arrive at St. Nazaire, France.[v] 

25 February The survey ship Surveyor arrives at Milford Haven, England, en route to Gibraltar.[vi] 

25 February The Turner Construction Co. of New York assumes the general contract from the Bureau of Yards and Docks and begins construction of the emergency concrete Navy Department Main Building and War Department Munitions Building adjacent to the reflecting pool of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Ten Civil Engineer Corps officers and 120 enlisted personnel from the 12th Regiment (Public Works) of the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, Illinois, assist the rapid pace of construction. Commander A. L. Parsons, CEC, assistant chief of the bureau, oversees the entire project for the Navy.[vii] 

25 February The American Naval Planning Section, London, publishes Memorandum No. 14 concerning the denial of the English Channel to enemy submarines.[viii] 

25 February The tanker Santa Maria is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-19 off the northeast coast of Ireland, one mile from land near Loch Swilly.[ix] 

26 February The cargo ship Bath (ID-1997/AK-4) sails for the United States, while the cargo ship Long Beach (ID-2136/AK-9) arrives at Lough Swilly, Ireland.[x] 

26 February The tug Cherokee (SP-458) founders and sinks 12.5 miles off Fenwick Island Light Vessel, Delaware. Five officers and 23 men are lost.[xi]

______________

[i] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 22 February 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 24 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 23 February 1918; cablegram from Henry B. Wilson to W. S. Sims, 24 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 117–20.

[iv] John S. Barleon, “U.S.S. Paulding Attack on British Submarine L-2, 24 February 1918”; “Report of damage sustained by H.M. Submarine L-2 as a result of being attacked by U.S. ships Davis, Paulding, and Trippe on 24 February 1918,” Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Cablegrams from Henry B. Wilson to W. S. Sims, 24 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 25 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 483, 492.

[viii] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 121–32.

[ix] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 12; Office of Naval Intelligence, “Report of Commanding Officer of the Armed Guard, on board the S.S. Santa Maria,” 26 March 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 27 February 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 28 February 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 3.

[103]

26 February The tug Mariner (SP-1136) founders and sinks with no casualties.[i] 

26 February The destroyer Parker (DD-48), while patrolling near South Light of Lundy Island off Devon, England, sights a small raft with a man on it, a survivor of the British hospital ship Glenart Castle torpedoed earlier that morning. Parker continues searching and finds three more rafts, bringing aboard eight more survivors, although one dies before the destroyer returns to port.[ii] 

27 February The survey ship Surveyor sails from Milford Haven, England, for Gibraltar.[iii] 

28 February The destroyer Caldwell (DD-69) arrives at Ponta Delgada, Azores and the cargo ships Minnesotan (ID-4545) and F. J. Luckenbach (ID-2160) arrive in Brest, France.[iv] 

1 March The dirigible station at Paimboeuf, France, where several aviation personnel had been on duty with the French since November 1917, is taken over by American forces and established as a naval air station, Lieutenant Commander Louis H. Maxfield commanding.[v] 

1 March The armed yacht Kanawha II is renamed Piqua (SP-130).[vi] 

1 March The cargo ships Lewis K. Thurlow and Casco (ID-1957) arrive in St. Nazaire, France, the British steamer Inverarnan in Nantes, and cargo ships El Oriente (ID-4504) and Iowan (ID-3002) in La Pallice. The troopships Von Steuben (ID-3017) and Antigone (ID-3007), transport Martha Washington (ID-3019), and cargo ship Tiger (ID-1640) sail for the United States.[vii] 

1 March U.S. Overseas Mine Bases 17 and 18 are at a state of completion where mines can now be received and assembly work commenced if necessary. The main construction work for both bases is practically completed by 1 April.[viii] 

1 March The Naval Armed Guard aboard the tanker Paulsboro begins a running gun duel with an enemy submarine. By elevating the ship’s guns beyond the sight scale, the Armed Guard is able to get the range of the submarine and drop shells directly on her. The submarine breaks off pursuit and submerges in a little under an hour, having fired 50 rounds to Paulsboro’s 88 3-inch shells. One crewmember suffers a shrapnel injury, but otherwise the tanker makes port unscathed.[ix] 

2 March The minelayers Canandaigua (ID-1694) and Canonicus (ID-1696) are commissioned.[x] 

2 March The gunboat Sacramento (PG-19) arrives in Milford Haven, England.[xi] 

2 March The British steamer Rutherglen collides in the evening darkness with the British submarine H5, sinking the submarine with all hands aboard, including American Lieutenant Earle W. F. Childs who is acting as an observer.[xii] 

3 March The collier Sterling arrives at Brest, France. She steams for Paulliac, France, on 6 March.[xiii]

______________

[i] Ibid.

[ii] Memorandum from Cmdr. Halsey Powell, Commanding Officer, USS Parker,  to W. S. Sims, on rescuing survivors of S.S. Glenart Castle, 26 February 1918, 3 March 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 28 February 1918, RG45, NARA, Reel 19.

[iv] Cablegram from Herbert O. Dunn to W. S. Sims, 28 February 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 2 March 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 61; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 32–33; Still, Crisis at Sea, 465.

[vi] DANFS, entry for Piqua I (SP-130), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/p/piqua-i.html.

[vii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 2 March 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 66.

[ix] Memorandum from Joseph E. Reiter, commanding Armed Guard, S.S. Paulsboro to William S. Benson, on Report of Voyage (Westward) S.S. Paulsboro, 18 March 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 78.

[xi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to Herbert O. Dunn, 3 March 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Letter from Lewis Bayly to Poinsett Pringle, 7 March 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 17 March 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[xiii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 8 March 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[104]

3 March The blimp AT-1, obtained from the French on 1 March, makes its first flight under American control at Paimboeuf, France.[i] 

3 March Vice Admiral W. S. Sims forwards to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations a request with his endorsement from the Admiralty for the dispatch of an American warship to Northern Russian to provide material assistance and impress the Russians. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson will confer with the State Department and conclude not to send a warship to Murmansk at the present time.[ii] 

4 March The destroyer Wadsworth (DD-60) arrives in Brest, France, from Queenstown, Ireland. The transports George Washington (ID-3018) and President Grant (ID-3014), and troopship Covington (ID-1409), arrive in Brest. The transports Wilhelmina (ID-2168) and President Lincoln, troopship Finland (ID-4543), and cargo ship Panaman (ID-3299), sail for the United States.[iii] 

4 March The troopship Leviathan (ID-1326) and minelayer Baltimore (CM-1) sail from New York Harbor with 8,242 troops onboard bound for Liverpool, England. They arrive on 12 March.[iv] 

4 March The American Naval Planning Section, London, publishes Memorandum No. 15 about Allied strategy in regard to advocating the conclusion of peace with the Ottoman Empire.[v] 

4 March The collier Cyclops (AC-4) sails from Barbados, British West Indies, and mysteriously disappears along with her 15 officers and 221 crewmembers, 64 naval personnel, two Marines, and an American consul. No trace of her is ever found. Her loss remains largest single loss of life in U.S. Navy history not directly involving combat.[vi] 

5 March The cargo ship El Sol (ID-4505), troop transports Manchuria (ID-1633), DeKalb (ID-3010), and Susquehana (ID-3016), and store ship Pastores (ID-4540/AF-16) arrive at St. Nazaire, France. The destroyer Wadsworth (DD-60) transfers to U.S. Naval Forces Operating in French Waters and the destroyer Caldwell (DD-69) arrives at Queenstown, Ireland.  The gunboat Paducah (PG-18) sails from Gibraltar to Ponta Delgada, Azores, while the submarine tender Camden (ID-3143/AS-6) arrives at Liverpool, England, and the cargo ship Long Beach (ID-2136/AK-9) at Dublin, Ireland.[vii] 

6 March The Bureau of Navigation establishes instrument allowances for naval aircraft allotting a compass, two altimeters, and a clock for service seaplanes and flying boats; a compass, altimeter, clock, and statoscope for dirigibles and free balloons; and an altimeter and clock for kite balloons and training planes.[viii] 

6 March An unmanned flying-bomb type plane is launched successfully and flown for 1,000 yards at Sperry Flying Field, Copiague, Long Island, New York.[ix] 

6 March Two American submarines left port at Berehaven, Bantry Bay, Ireland for the first combat patrol in European waters.[x]

_____________

[i] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 61; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 33.

[ii] Henry P. Beers, “U.S. Naval Forces in Northern Russia (Archangel and Murmansk), 1918–1919,” Navy Department, Office of Records Administration, 1943, 6–7.

[iii] Wilson, American Navy in France, 29; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 108; cablegram from Henry B. Wilson to W. S. Sims, 4 March 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 5 March 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] History of the U.S.S. Leviathan, 67–68; Belknap, Yankee Mining Squadron, 33.

[v] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 133–36.

[vi] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 3; Sweetman, American Naval History, 138; Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 28; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 244–46.

[vii] Cablegram from Henry B. Wilson to W. S. Sims, 5 March 1918; cablegrams from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 5 March 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 7 March 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 8 March 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 61; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 33.

[ix] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 61.

[x] Still, Crisis at Sea, 459.

[105]

6 March The supply ship Culgoa (AF-3), transports Dakotan (ID-3882), Floridian (ID-3875), and Kroonland (ID-1541), troopship Ticonderoga (ID-1958), cargo ships Santa Barbara (ID-4522), Munplace (ID-2346), and City of Atlanta, oiler George G. Henry (ID-1560), and British transport Czaritza arrive at Brest, France. The collier Jupiter (AC-3) arrives the following day. The mine carrier Ozama arrives in Glasgow, Scotland.[i] 

7 March The Office of the Director of Naval Aviation is established in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Aviation Section was raised from section to a division.[ii] 

7 March The American Naval Planning Section, London, publishes Memorandum No. 16 detailing American and British agreements in regard to military plans for the Adriatic Sea.[iii] 

8 March The minelayer Baltimore (CM-1) arrives at the Clyde River, Scotland, the first American minelayer in British waters. The tanker Topila (ID-3001) arrives at Portsmouth, England. The transport Kroonland (ID-1541) and troopship Ticonderoga (ID-1958) sail from Brest, France, for St. Nazaire; the cargo ship Santa Barbara (ID-4522) for La Pallice; the cargo ship City of Atlanta for Rochefort; and the transports Dakotan (ID-3882) and Floridian (ID-3875), oiler George G. Henry (ID-1560), and cargo ship Munplace (ID-2346) for Bordeaux.[iv] 

8 March The Sixth Battle Squadron with a screen of eight destroyers puts to sea to provide cover for a Scandinavian convoy.[v] 

8 March Quartermaster 2nd Class H. J. Veile, Naval Reserve, is killed in an airplane accident with the Royal Flying Corps at Ayr, Scotland, when the aircraft fails to recover from a spinning nose dive.[vi] 

10 March The transports Agamemnon (ID-3004) and America, troopship Mount Vernon (ID-4508), and armored cruiser Seattle (CA-11) arrive at Brest, France, and the collier Sterling arrives at Paulliac. The cargo ship Macona (ID-3305) sails from Brest for Bordeaux, the cargo ship Santiago (ID-2253) from St. Nazaire for Verdon-sur-Mer, and Astoria (ID-2005/AK-8) and cargo ship Santa Barbara (ID-4522) from Paulliac for La Pallice. The cargo ship Lewis K. Thurlow arrives at Brest, and the store ship Bridge (AF-1) arrives at Queenstown, Ireland. The transports DeKalb (ID-3010), George Washington (ID-3018), and Susquehanna (ID-3016), troopship Covington (ID-1409), and store ship Pastores (ID-4540/AF-16), sail for the United States.[vii] 

11 March The gunboat Paducah (PG-18) arrives at Ponta Delgada, Azores, with orders to proceed to Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, then to Tenerife, Canary Islands. The tanker Frank E. Buck (ID-1613) arrives at Lough Swilly, Scotland.[viii] 

12 March The American Naval Planning Section, London, releases a review of mining policy in regard to European waters in Memorandum No. 17.[ix] 

12–14 March The Allied Naval Council meeting in London recommends dispatching the first 36 American submarine chasers to the Mediterranean Sea for use on the Otranto Material Barrage (a combination of mines, nets, and vessels) to prevent submarines from leaving the Adriatic Sea. The decision is also made to assign six to eight of the submarine chasers to British waters for “experimental purposes.” Vice Admiral W. S. Sims presents to the assembled representatives an American operation for offensive action in the Adriatic.[x]

____________

[i] Cablegrams from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 8 March 1918; cablegrams from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 5 March 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 61; Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 228; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 33.

[iii] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 137–38.

[iv] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 102; cablegrams from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 8 March 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Jones, Battleship Operations, 45.

[vi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 9 March 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Cablegrams from Henry B. Wilson to W. S. Sims, 10 March 1918; cablegram from Henry B. Wilson to W. S. Sims, 11 March 1918; cablegrams from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 11 March 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Cablegram from Herbert O. Dunn to W. S. Sims, 11 March 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 11 March 1918, Reel 19, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 139–70.

[x] Still, Crisis at Sea, 447, 493; Halpern, Naval War in Mediterranean, 439–47; Navy Department, American Naval Planning Section, 59–75; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 5 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[106]

13 March The German submarine U-152 scuttles and sinks the American schooner A. E. Whyland, 55 miles off Tenerife, Canary Islands.[i] 

14 March Naval Air Station Ile Tudy, France, is established with Lieutenant Charles E. Sugden, USCG, commanding.[ii] 

14 March An enemy submarine torpedoes and sinks the American cargo ship A. A. Raven, 16 miles south-southwest of Wolf Rock Light, Isles of Scilly, England, killing seven and injuring six.[iii] 

15 March The Bureau of Yards and Docks breaks ground for massive expansion of Naval Training Camp, Pelham Bay, New York, for an additional 10,000 men.[iv] 

15 March The Bureau of Ordnance commences work at the Naval Gun Factory on designing a mobile caterpillar tractor field mount for 7-inch, 45-caliber naval guns removed from Connecticut (BB-18)–class battleships for use by the Marines. On 18 June, the bureau awards the contract to the Baldwin Locomotive Works to manufacture and deliver 20 of the mounts by 18 October.[v] 

16 March Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels forbids the sale of liquor within five miles of naval bases and stations.[vi] 

17 March Destroyer Stewart (DD-13) responds to the scene of a collision between the British steamers William Ball and Falstaff. Stewart comes alongside the Ball and secures the damaged ship to herself, transferring the crew and its valuable cargo to the destroyer before the Ball sinks.[vii] 

17 March The minelayer Baltimore (CM-1) arrives at Greenock, Scotland, although the MK VI mines for her to lay do not arrive until 13 April.[viii] 

18 March The German submarine U-46 torpedoes and sinks the steamship Atlantic Sun, 19 miles off Orsay Island, Scotland, killing two.[ix] 

19 March A formation of flying boats on reconnaissance patrol of the German coast is attacked by German seaplanes. Ensign Stephen Potter shoots down one attacker and is officially credited as the first American naval aviator to shoot down an enemy seaplane.[x] 

19 March The destroyer Manley (DD-74) collides with the British auxiliary cruiser HMS Montague while escorting a convoy, detonating depth charges on board the destroyer and severely damaging the ship and killing one officer and 33 men. She is taken in tow and moored in Queenstown Harbor, Ireland.[xi]

_____________

[i] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 12.

[ii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 61; Larzelere, Coast Guard, 146–47.

[iii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 12.

[iv] Navy Department, Yards and Docks, 57.

[v] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 205–208.

[vi] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 228.

[vii] Wilson, American Navy in France, 149–50.

[viii] Belknap, Yankee Mining Squadron, 33.

[ix] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 12.

[x] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 61; Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 229; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 33; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 233–34.

[xi] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 5; John D. Alden, Flush Decks and Four Pipes (1965, repr. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1990), 5.

[107]

20 March Fire breaks out in the powder testing room of the chemical laboratory at the Naval Smokeless Powder Factory at Indian Head, Maryland, gutting the building and causing more than $52,000 in damages.[i] 

21 March The U.S. government requisitions all 101 Dutch merchant vessels then in American ports.[ii] 

21 March The Curtiss HA seaplane, or “Dunkirk Fighter,” makes its first flight at Port Washington, Long Island, New York.[iii] 

21 March The steamer Chincha is fired upon by the German submarine U-154 off Gibraltar. Four men are killed but Chincha escapes.[iv] 

23 March The minelayer Quinnebaug (ID-1687) is commissioned.[v] 

23 March Tests of a towed version of the K-Tube underwater listening apparatus prove encouraging, although ships must not exceed 3 knots cruising speed otherwise listening becomes impossible.[vi] 

23 March Rear Admiral Joseph Strauss, Commander, Mine Force, arrives in Liverpool, England, and reports in London to Vice Admiral W. S. Sims, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, European Waters.[vii] 

23 March The cargo ship Chattahoochee is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine UB-55 in the English Channel, 28 miles south of Penzance, England.[viii] 

25 March Ensign John F. McNamara, flying out of RNAS Portland, England, makes the first attack on a German U-boat by a U.S. naval aviator. The submarine is later evaluated as “possibly damaged.”[ix] 

26 March The armed steam yacht Admiral (SP-967) runs aground on rocks and sinks at Brant Rock, off Scituate, Massachusetts. She is later salvaged.[x] 

26 March The Bureau of Ordnance places a contract for an order of 200 pieces of MK I depth charge launching gear. Deliveries begin on 10 April. The gear consists of a track holding eight depth charges that is operated either by control from the ship’s bridge or by manual control at the track itself.[xi] 

26 March The American Naval Planning Section, London, releases Memorandum No. 19 examining the reorganization of U.S. Naval Forces in European Waters in consideration of the arrival of additional ships.[xii] 

27 March The first product of the Naval Aircraft Factory, an H-16 seaplane, Bureau Number A-1049, makes its first flight.[xiii]

_____________

[i] Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 498.

[ii] Ibid., 20.

[iii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 61; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 33.

[iv] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 12.

[v] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 78.

[vi] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 17 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 87.

[viii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 13.

[ix] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 61; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 33.

[x] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 3.

[xi] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 104; Llewellyn-Jones, Royal Navy, 161.

[xii] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 186–93.

[xiii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 61; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 33; Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 64.

[108]

28 March The Secretaries of Navy and War agree to a series of articles governing the disposition of sick, wounded, and dead of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps for passage between Europe and the United States, or in France. At sea, the Navy is charged with care of all patients and anyone who dies at sea will have their remains returned to the United States.[i] 

28 March President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2825A authorizing the Secretary of the Navy to take over, on behalf of the United States, “all tackle, apparel, furniture and equipment and all stores, including bunker fuel, aboard each of the vessels of Netherlands registry now lying with the territorial jurisdiction of the United States. . . .”[ii] 

28 March The American Naval Planning Section, London, Memorandum No. 18 is published. It concerns antisubmarine policy and includes a joint memorandum from the British and American planning sections.[iii] 

29 March Rear Admiral Joseph Strauss assumes formal command of the U.S. Navy Mine Force at U.S. Naval Base No. 18, Inverness, Scotland.[iv] 

30 March The destroyer Stockton (DD-73) collides with the British troopship Slieve Bloom in the Irish Sea. All troops transfer over to the Stockton and destroyer Ericsson (DD-56) before the transport sinks.[v]  

1 April A British paravane shed at Haulbowline, Ireland, is turned over to the U.S. Navy to serve as a torpedo repair station, which begins operations on 1 May. On 1 July, the force commander decides to expand the station to overhaul all torpedoes north of the Mediterranean, with the station later capable of maintaining 400 torpedoes per month.[vi] 

3 April The destroyer Porter (DD-59) spots a suspicious object and drops a pattern of depth charges. The crew spots debris after the attack and believes that Porter either sunk or seriously damaged a submarine. After the war, the Admiralty disagrees and concludes that there were no submarines in the vicinity on that date.[vii] 

3 April The American Naval Planning Section, London, publishes Memorandum No. 20 emphasizing principles in previous memoranda and for establishing doctrine for antisubmarine attack.[viii] 

4 April Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels orders all work to cease in removing guns from battleships and armored cruisers for installation on merchant ships.[ix] 

4 April The transports Henry R. Mallory (ID-1280) and Mercury (ID-3012), and troopship Tenadores are attacked by a surfaced U-boat. The three ships attack the submarine and apparently damage her; she submerged and her fate remains unknown.[x] 

5 April Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson asks Vice Admiral W. S. Sims if there is still a necessity for the presence of American men of war at Murmansk, Russia, and if so if ships should be sent.[xi]

____________

[i] Navy Department, General Order 392, Disposition of Sick, Wounded, and Dead of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, 28 March 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL; Navy Department, Annual Report 1919, 2105–106.

[ii] Executive Order 2825A, 28 March 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 171–85.

[iv] Belknap, Yankee Mining Squadron, 104.

[v] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 5 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL; DANFS, entry for Stockton II ( Destroyer No. 73), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/stockton-ii.html.

[vi] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 169–70.

[vii] DANFS, entry for Porter II (Destroyer No. 59), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/p/porter-ii.html.

[viii] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 194–96.

[ix] Telegram from Josephus Daniels to Portsmouth, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Norfolk Navy Yards, 4 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Gleaves, Transport Service, 168.

[xi] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 5 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[109]

5 April Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels signs orders to furnish personnel and cooperation for a British effort to lay a 36-mile oil pipeline across Scotland. The pipe and associated materials will be transported in American vessels and the work carried out under the direction of Commander W. A. Barstow.[i] 

6 April Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson cables Vice Admiral W. S. Sims to report the Navy Department has received intelligence that one German submarine will soon sail “for Mexico with military mission and arms. [It is b]elieved that [it] may be U-151 converted into [a] submarine cruiser.”[ii] 

8 April The first 16-inch, 50-caliber MK 2 naval gun is proved at the Naval Gun Factory, Washington Navy Yard, D.C.[iii] 

8 April Vice Admiral W. S. Sims wires Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson regarding the situation in Murmansk, Russia, and the defense of Allied supplies. “[A] force of considerable strength may be needed at any time. The Russians of all classes should be impressed with the unity of the Allies.”[iv] 

8 April Vice Admiral W. S. Sims wires Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson reporting that the Admiralty believes it desirable for an American warship to be at Murmansk, Russia. Sims notes that there is no suitable vessel to send from his forces, “but that a pre-dreadnought battleship or armored cruiser from home waters [could] be sent.” In reply the following day, Benson wires Sims that the only vessel “which might be possibly made available for this duty is USS Olympia.” Sims approves the selection of the protected cruiser Olympia (C-6), recommending she proceed via Scapa Flow, Scotland.[v] 

8 April The Navy Department begins assisting the Treasury Department in the supervision and examination of ships, passengers, and crews arriving and departing from American ports. Naval Port Guards are stationed on board ships without Armed Guards or gun crews and Navy representatives are present at the examination of ships, cargoes, and crews by the Treasury Department for the remainder of the war.[vi] 

8 April In recognition of German submarines carrying heavier naval guns, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson agrees to cooperate with the War Department to mount at least one 5- or 6-inch gun aft on Army cargo transports, which were then carrying nothing heavier than 3-inch, 50-caliber or 4-inch, 40-caliber guns.[vii] 

8 April The tender Leonidas (AD-7), tanker Chestnut Hill (ID-2526), armed yacht Yacona (SP-617), Army tugs Slocum, San Luis, Cadmus, and Fischer, and French tug Seminol together with U.S. submarine chasers SC-90, SC-94, SC-95, SC-143, SC-147, SC-148, SC-151, SC-177, SC-179, SC-215, SC-225, SC-226, SC-227, SC-324, SC-337, SC-338, and SC-351, sail from Bermuda for the Azores.[viii] 

9 April The minelayer Saranac (ID-1702) is commissioned.[ix]

_____________

[i] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 281–82.

[ii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 6 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Navy Department, Annual Report 1919, 66–67.

[iv] Kemp Tolley, “Our Russian War of 1918–1919” Proceedings 95, no. 792 (February 1969): 61.

[v] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 8 April 1918; cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 9 April 1918; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 12 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Memorandum from William S. Benson to the Commandants of all Naval Districts except the 9th, 10th, and 11th, on participation of the Navy Department in the supervision and examination of ships, passengers and crews arriving at or departing from the ports of the United States and its possessions, 8 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Memorandum from William S. Benson to Director of Storage and Traffic, on heavier guns aft for certain Army cargo transports, 8 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 9 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 78.

[110]

9 April Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels announces that seven War Department ships—Finland (ID-4543), store ship Pastores (ID-4540/AF-16), troopship Tenadores, transport Henry R. Mallory (ID-1280), Lenape (ID-2700), Mongolia (ID-1615), and Manchuria (ID-1633)—are being taken over by the Navy.[i] 

10 April The submarine chaser SC-126 grounds and partially sinks near Two Rocks Passage, Bermuda Harbor. She is later salvaged.[ii] 

10 April Mine Squadron One of the Atlantic Fleet is organized at Hampton Roads, Virginia, aboard the flagship San Francisco (CM-2).[iii] 

10 April A training school for female apprentices begins at the Naval Aircraft Factory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[iv] 

11 April The trawler Mary B. Garner (SP-682) runs aground and is wrecked at Prime Hook Beach, Delaware, killing one person.[v] 

11 April The mine carrier Lake Moor (ID-2180) is torpedoed by the German submarine UB-73 and sinks off Corsewall Point Light, killing five officers and 41 enlisted men. The ship carried MK VI mine components, mostly anchors, for the North Sea Mine Barrage.[vi] 

12 April President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2839, transferring Maurice Eli Levy, a junior hydrographic and geodetic engineer, from the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey to the U.S. Navy.[vii] 

13 April The Navy officially declares the collier Cyclops (AC-4) as lost; nothing has been heard from the ship since 4 March. Newspapers report the loss on 15 April.[viii] 

13–14 April The minelayer Baltimore (CM-1) lays 179 mines in conjunction with the Royal Navy. She is the first American minelayer to lay mines for the North Sea Mine Barrage.[ix] 

14 April Corfu is selected as the base for 36 American submarine chasers, destined to take part in the Otranto Material Barrage.[x] 

15 April The scout cruiser Salem (CS-3), armed yacht Wadena (SP-158), submarine chasers SC-77, SC-78, SC-79, SC-80, SC-81, SC-92, SC-93, SC-96, SC-124, SC-125, SC-227, SC-128, SC-129, SC-244, SC-255, SC-256, SC-224, SC-327, SC-349, Army ferry lighter Amackassin, Army tug No. 21, tugs Conestoga (SP-1128), Lykens (SP-876/AT-56), and Knickerbocker, British submarine H-14, French tugs Mohican, Apache, and Rene, and French submarine chasers SC-30, SC-32, SC-142, SC-146, SC-161, SC-169, SC-174, SC-175, SC-176, and SC-350, sail from Bermuda for Ponta Delgada, Azores.[xi] 

16 April The first detachment of trained aerologists, consisting of nine officers and 15 enlisted men, depart for duty at naval air stations in Europe.[xii]

____________

[i] Telegram from Josephus Daniels to Commandant Third Naval District, 9 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 3.

[iii] Belknap, Yankee Mining Squadron, 104.

[iv] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 64.

[v] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 3.

[vi] Ibid., 1; Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 60, 89; Byrne, Deck School Log, 83–84.

[vii] Executive Order 2839, 12 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Marvin W. Barrash, U.S.S. Cyclops (Westminster, MD: Heritage Books, 2010), 552, 554.

[ix] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 103.

[x] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, 14 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 15 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[xii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 64; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 34.

[111]

17 April The Sixth Battle Squadron sails on the last mission to protect Scandinavian convoys.[i] 

17 April The cargo ship Florence H. lying in harbor at Quiberon Bay, France, with a cargo of 2,200 tons of smokeless powder suddenly explodes. The destroyer Stewart (DD-13) and converted armed yachts Sultana (SP-134), Corona (SP-813), Wanderer (SP-132), and Christabel (SP-162) respond, but the wooden yachts could not enter the area of burning water. Stewart and destroyers Whipple (DD-15) and Truxtun (DD-14) steam into the wreckage and rescue survivors. Two men aboard the Stewart, Seaman 2nd Class Jesse W. Covington and Quartermaster 1st Class Frank M. Upton receive the Medal of Honor for pulling men from the water while surrounded by flaming debris and cases of explosives. Lieutenant Commander H. J. Abbett, commanding Whipple; Lieutenant Commander H. S. Haislip, commanding Stewart; and Lieutenant James G. Ware, commanding Truxtun, each receive the Distinguished Service Medal. In all, 62 Navy Crosses are awarded to participants in the rescue efforts.[ii] 

19 April Fireman 3rd Class Clarence Ellis Jones of the destroyer Paulding (DD-22) dies when he is washed overboard and the crew is unable to recover him.[iii] 

21 April The first “Homeward-to-the-Bay-of-Biscay” convoy sails from the United States for Brest, France, arriving 10 May. In this convoy system, a mixed French and American destroyer escort takes over escorting duties from a mixed American-British destroyer escort at a rendezvous point between the French and British coasts. Ships bound for Britain split off and those headed to France are taken directly to the Gironde River, St. Nazaire, or a position fairly close to the French coast. Of the latter vessels, those bound for Bordeaux and La Pallice are taken directly to the Gironde, while those headed for St. Nazaire and Brest are led to Quiberon Bay or occasionally directly to Brest.[iv] 

22 April The destroyer tender Black Hawk (AD-9) and minelayers Aroostook (CM-3) and Shawmut (CM-4) are assigned to Mine Squadron One.[v] 

23 April A section of aircraft from Naval Air Station Ile Tudy, France—one manned by QM1c(A) R. H. Harrell and QM2c(A) H. W. Studer, and the other by Ensign K. R. Smith and Ensign O. E. Williams—attack a submarine stalking the convoy they are covering. Smith’s aircraft drops two bombs, which bring bits of wreckage and sea growth to the surface, and appeared to have effectively stopped the submarine. The ensigns are officially credited by French naval authorities with having sunk a submarine, are cited in the Order of the Day, and awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm.[vi] 

23 April In quite possibly the same submarine attacked by the aircraft from Naval Air Station Ile Tudy, France, the destroyer Stewart (DD-13), while escorting a convoy of 17 ships, is directed by an American seaplane to the location where the aircraft and wingman had dropped bombs. Stewart notices a distinct wake and possibly a periscope. Five depth charges are dropped on the submarine U-108, the first two bringing up oil and discolored water, but the U-boat escaped. She is damaged by another destroyer days later.[vii]

____________

[i] Jones, Battleship Operations, 47.

[ii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 17; Stringer, Distinguished Service, 21, 26–27, 33; Wilson, American Navy in France, 150–52; Husband, Coast of France, 103–107; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 110–12; Navy Department, Record of Medals of Honor Issued, 24, 116.

[iii] DANFS, entry for Paulding (Destroyer No. 22), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/p/paulding.html; Navy Department, Officers and Enlisted Men of the United States Navy Who Lost Their Lives during the World War, from April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1920), 406.

[iv] Wilson, American Navy in France, 61.

[v] Memorandums from William S. Benson to Commanding Officers, USS Aroostook, USS Black Hawk, USS Shawmut, on orders assigning to Mine Force, 22 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 64; Larzelere, Coast Guard, 147–49; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 232–33. 

[vii] DANFS, entry for Stewart I (Destroyer No. 13), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/stewart-i.html; memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 21 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL. 

[112]

23 April While serving as a dental officer with the 5th Marine Regiment, Lieutenant Commander Alexander G. Lyle rushes from cover under heavy shellfire to the assistance of Corporal Thomas Regan who was seriously wounded. Lyle administers surgical aid under fire saving Regan’s life. For his actions, Lyle receives the Medal of Honor.[i] 

23 April Vice Admiral W. S. Sims requests that the destroyer force at Queenstown, Ireland, install K-Tube tanks on all destroyers being refitted.[ii] 

23 April The American Naval Planning Section, London, releases Memorandum No. 23 answering a series of questions posed to the section by Vice Admiral W. S. Sims on the importance of military uniforms.[iii] 

24 April The Grand Fleet including the Sixth Battle Squadron sail to intercept the High Seas Fleet. The latter turn back, despite the Grand Fleet making contact with the Germans on the 25th.[iv] 

24 April The troopship Leviathan (ID-1326) sails from Hoboken, New Jersey, for Brest, France, with 8,909 troops on board, arriving on 2 May.[v] 

24 April Vice Admiral W. S. Sims, cognizant of the ground fighting on the Western Front and recent German advances, cables Washington recommending “all serviceable destroyers be sent [at the] earliest practicable moment.”[vi] 

25 April The cargo ship St. Paul (ID-1643) capsizes at Pier 61, North River, New York, killing two.[vii] 

25 April The first 14-inch naval railway mount is completed by Baldwin Locomotive Works.[viii] 

26 April Out of necessity to keep pace with increasing ranges of naval gunfire, Congress passes legislation authorizing the Secretary of the Navy to expend $1 million to increase the facilities for the proof and testing of the Navy’s largest guns at their longest ranges. On 10 June, through a presidential proclamation, an 11,000-acre tract of land near Machodoc Creek, Virginia, is acquired to serve as what will become the Naval Weapons Station Dahlgren.[ix] 

26 April The destroyer Stewart (DD-13) collides in an evening fog with a French man-of-war while in a convoy. The collision cuts Stewart almost to the midships line and requires weeks of repair work.[x] 

26–27 April The Allied Naval Council meets in Paris and agrees to act on the deteriorating situation at Archangel and Murmansk, Russia. It also agrees to further study a proposed Adriatic offensive.[xi] 

27 April The blimp AT-1, commanded by Lieutenant Frederick P. Culbert and a crew including Ensigns Merrill P. Delano, Arthur D. Brewer, and Thomas E. McCracken, completes a 25-hour, 43-minute flight out of Paimboeuf, France. During the flight, they escorted three convoys through a mined zone. For their flight, the longest on record for an aircraft of the type, the commanding officer and crew are officially commended by the French Naval Minister.[xii]

_____________

[i] Navy Department, Record of Medals of Honor Issued, 68; “Lyle, Alexander G., Vice Admiral, USN, (1889–1955),” NHHC, http://www.history.navy.mil/our-collections/photography/us-people/l/lyle-alexander-g.html.

[ii] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to MELVUS, Queenstown, 23 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[iii] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 203–204.

[iv] Jones, Battleship Operations, 49.

[v] History of the U.S.S. Leviathan, 70–72.

[vi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 24 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 3.

[viii] Navy Department, Naval Railway Batteries, 6; Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 47; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 188, 271.

[ix] An Act to Authorize the Secretary of the Navy to Increase the Facilities for the Proof and Test of Ordnance Material, and for Other Purposes, Public Law 65-140, U.S. Statutes at Large 40 (1918): 537–38; Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 58.

[x] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 21 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL; DANFS, entry for Destroyer No. 13), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/s/stewart-i.html.

[xi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 1 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL; Halpern, Naval War in the Mediterranean, 463–65.

[xii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 64; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 34.

[113]

27 April Captain Hutch I. Cone wires Vice Admiral W. S. Sims recommending the Navy “take over [the] Italian Station[s] at Porto Corsini and Pesaro” for use by naval aviation. He notes that Italy promises the stations will be ready around 1 May and 1 June, respectively, with the United States only needing to provide personnel. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson wires his approval on 7 May.[i] 

28 April The destroyer Porter (DD-59) is on convoy duty when she spots a periscope 1,000 yards away on her starboard bow. She manages to close in to within 40 yards of the surfaced sub before it submerged. The German captain overestimated the destroyer’s distance because of encroaching darkness and her dazzle camouflage. Porter drops 22 depth charges, badly damaging the German submarine U-108, and putting her out of service for two months.[ii] 

29 April The Royal Flying Corps kite balloon station at Castletownbere, Ireland, is turned over to the United States and established as a naval air station, Ensign C. E. Shumway, commanding.[iii] 

29 April The U.S. schooner City of Pensacola is sunk by the German submarine UB-105 in the Mediterranean Sea, near Garrucha, Spain.[iv] 

30 April In a report to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, Vice Admiral W. S. Sims writes “There is always a likelihood that a submarine may appear off the American coast. In the same manner, and this would be fully as embarrassing, submarines may begin operations west of the 20th meridian. The losses from all such operations must be accepted. We are certain that they will be small, and will not, for many reasons be regularly carried on. I see nothing in the submarine situation today to warrant any change in the present policy of the Department.”[v] 

30 April Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels approves a plan recommended by the General Board of the U.S. Navy and developed by U.S. Naval Forces in European Waters for air operations in the Dunkirk-Zeebrugge area against German submarine support facilities. A specially organized unit, later designated as the Northern Bombing Group, is assigned the operation. Daniels also directed bureaus and offices to expedite assembly of personnel and equipment.[vi] 

30 April The first completed 14-inch, 50-caliber railway gun mount is successfully tested at Sandy Hook Proving Ground, New Jersey.[vii] 

1 May Vice Admiral W. S. Sims cables the Navy Department warning that he received information about a Deutschland-type submarine sailing to the American coast and due to arrive about 24 May. Sims later identifies this submarine as U-151.[viii] 

1 May The Cherbourg District of U.S. Naval Forces in France is established with Captain David F. Boyd commanding.[ix]

______________

[i] Cablegram from Hutch I. Cone to W. S. Sims, 27 April 1918; cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 7 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] DANFS, entry for Porter (Destroyer No. 59), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/p/porter-ii.html; memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 21 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL. 

[iii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 64.

[iv] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 13.

[v] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to Josephus Daniels, on areas of operations of enemy submarines, 30 April 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 64; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 34.

[vii] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 196–97, 271; cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 1 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Navy Department, German Submarine Activities, 9–10; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 1 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[ix] Wilson, American Navy in France, 113.

[114]

2 May Naval Air Station Wexford, Ireland, a seaplane station, and a kite balloon station at Berehaven are commissioned.[i] 

2 May The German submarine UB-48 torpedoes and sinks the steamer Tyler in the Mediterranean Sea, killing 11.[ii] 

2 May The American Naval Planning Section, London, in Memorandum No. 24 states that one tender for every 24 destroyers and another for every 24 Eagle boats should accompany the 265 destroyers and 100 Eagle boats currently under construction when they proceed to the war zone.[iii] 

2 May Troop transport Pocahontas (ID-3044), while 1,000 miles west of Brest, France, observes a surfacing large U-boat cruiser, which begins firing at the transport. Pocahontas returns fire and makes flank speed to outdistance the submarine, which broke off the attack and submerged.[iv] 

3 May The minelayer Roanoke (ID-1695) sails from the United States destined for the two U.S. mine force bases in Scotland.[v] 

6 May Naval Air Station Coco Solo, Panama, is established with Lieutenant Ralph G. Pennoyer commanding. It serves as a base for seaplane patrols over the approaches to the Panama Canal.[vi] 

8 May The armed yacht Lydonia (SP-700) and British destroyer HMS Basilisk attack what is believed to be German submarine UB-70, which torpedoed and sank the British steamship Ingleside. The escorts subsequently depth charged the sub’s location and postwar were credited with sinking the U-boat. This is the only enemy vessel known sunk by an American warship in the Mediterranean Sea. Commander R. P. McCullough, commander of Lydonia, receives the Distinguished Service Medal for the ship’s actions.[vii] 

8 May The American Naval Planning Section, London, in Memorandum No. 25, recommends that a uniform system of convoy orders be instituted in the interest of clearness, precision, and easy reference.[viii] 

9 May The first six of the new, 110-foot wooden-hulled American sub chasers reaches the European war zone at Plymouth, England.[ix] 

9 May Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels approves the instructions concerning the disposition of prisoners of war captured by U.S. Naval Forces in European or other foreign waters. The instructions state that German prisoners of war will be treated under the provisions of Article XXIV of the Treaty of Prussia of 1799, revived by the Treaty of 1828.[x] 

11 May The first radio message is transmitted from Headquarters of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in France after the completion and installation of radio stations and operating bases along the French coast.[xi] 

_____________

[i] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 64; memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 12 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 13.

[iii] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 205–206.

[iv] Gleaves, Transport Service, 161–62, 168.

[v] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 104.

[vi] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 64; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 34.

[vii] Still, Crisis at Sea, 402; DANFS, entry for Lydonia, https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/l/lydonia.html; Stringer, Distinguished Service, 30; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 119–20; cablegram from W. S. Sims to SENAFLOAT, Gibraltar, 28 August 1918, Reel 5, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 207–12.

[ix] Still, Crisis at Sea, 449.

[x] Navy Department, “Instructions Concerning the Disposition of Prisoners of War Captured by U.S. Naval Forces in European or Other Foreign Waters,” 9 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[xi] Wilson, American Navy in France, 92.

[115]

11 May President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2859A authorizing the U.S. Shipping Board to take title and possession of the Austro-Hungarian-owned passenger steamship Martha Washington at the port of New York and to operate her in the service of the United States as transport Martha Washington (ID-3019).[i] 

11 May Mine Squadron One, squadron flagship and minelayer San Francisco (CM-2), minelayers Housatonic (SP-1697), Canonicus (ID-1696), Canandaigua (ID-1694), and Quinnebaug (ID-1687), and fleet tug Sonoma (AT-12) sail for Overseas Mine Bases 17 and 18.[ii] 

12 May The cargo ship Zaanland (ID-2746) collides with the tanker Hisko (SP-485) and sinks west of France.[iii] 

12 May The destroyer Davis (DD-65) rescues 26 surviving crew members of the German submarine U-103 after a collision with the British troopship HMT Olympic leaves the submarine in a sinking condition.[iv] 

13 May The protected cruiser Olympia (C-6) arrives at the Royal Navy anchorage at Scapa Flow, Scotland, anchoring off Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands. Submarine chasers SC-143, SC-148, SC-177, SC-224, SC-226, and SC-351 arrive at Portsmouth, England.[v] 

13 May The destroyer Parker (DD-48) collides with the British seaplane tender HMS Engadine requiring repairs.[vi] 

15 May The Bureau of Steam Engineering reports that the Marconi SE 1100 radio transmitter demonstrated dependability in voice communication at distances up to 50 nautical miles and in code communication at up to 120 nautical miles. Initially designed for use on H-16 flying boats, it becomes one of the first radio sets widely used in, and first tube set developed for, naval aircraft.[vii] 

15 May The radio repair base at La Pallice, France, is established.[viii] 

16 May President Woodrow Wilson issues Executive Order 2861, which transfers the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey patrol vessels Explorer and Patterson (renamed Forward) to the Navy.[ix] 

16 May The U.S. Naval Base Hospital No. 2 is commissioned at Inverness, Scotland, and receives 26 U.S. Navy patients collected at the Royal Naval Hospital, Chatham, England.[x] 

16 May The American Naval Planning Section, London, recommends sending American battleships to the Grand Fleet rather than the Mediterranean Sea, and that British battleships be sent to the Adriatic Sea in response to the Germans seizing ex-Russian battleships in the Black Sea.[xi] 

17 May The gunboat Wheeling (PG-14), survey ship Surveyor, and armed yacht Venetia (SP-431), while escorting merchantmen on the Gibraltar-Bizerte convoy, sight the track of an enemy torpedo which hits one of the merchant ships. The escorts locate the wake of the submarine periscope and drop a spread of depth charges. The three were credited by the Admiralty with damaging the German submarine U-39, which interns herself at Cartagena, Spain.[xii] 

____________

[i] Executive Order 2859A, 11 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 84; Reginald R. Belknap, The Yankee Mining Squadron or Laying the North Sea Mine Barrage (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1920), 12; Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 124; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 135.

[iii] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 5.

[iv] DANFS, entry for Davis II (Destroyer No. 65), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/d/davis-ii.html; cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 9 January 1919, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[v] Benjamin F. Cooling, USS Olympia: Herald of Empire (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2000), 187; memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 21 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL. 

[vi] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 29 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 64; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 34.

[viii] Navy Department, Engineering, 127.

[ix] Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 127; Executive Order 2861, 16 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[x] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 21 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL. 

[xi] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 224.

[xii] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 120; DANFS, entry for Wheeling I (Gunboat No. 14), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/w/wheeling-i.html.

[116]

17 May Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson issues an order to all bureaus directing the organization of a force to operate naval guns on shore overseas.[i] 

17 May The American Naval Planning Section, London, releases Memorandums No. 26 and 28. The former provides an estimate of the threat of a raid by a German battle cruiser in the Atlantic, and the latter gives Vice Admiral W. S. Sims a study of American relations with the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria.[ii] 

18 May Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson wires Vice Admiral W. S. Sims to report that four HS-1 seaplanes are being shipped to Europe on board the troopship Mount Vernon (ID-4508) [1], transport Agamemnon (ID-3004) [1], and troopship Leviathan (ID-1326) [2].[iii] 

18 May The steamer John G. McCullough is torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine, about eight miles south of Ile d’Yeu, killing one man and injuring another.[iv] 

18 May The tanker William D. Rockefeller (ID-1581) is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine UC-58 off Scotland in the North Sea. One officer and two enlisted men are killed.[v] 

19 May In response to the Conscription Crisis of 1918, which is causing much civil and political unrest in Ireland, Vice Admiral W. S. Sims cables the U.S. Naval forces in Queenstown, Ireland, the Navy Department policy that they “should defend themselves against actual attack, [but] they should not take part in anything which could be construed as assisting in the execution of conscription law in Ireland.”[vi] 

20 May The battleship New Mexico (BB-40) is commissioned under command of Captain Ashley H. Robertson.[vii] 

20 May The protected cruiser Olympia (C-6) sails from Scapa Flow, Scotland, for Murmansk, Russia.[viii] 

21 May The mine carrier Ozama arrived at Corpach, Scotland, with the first MK VI mine spheres for Overseas Mine Base 18 and the North Sea Mine Barrage.[ix] 

21 May Off the French coast, the armed yacht Christabel (SP-162) sights the periscope of the German submarine UC-56, shadowing the convoy, 300 yards off her starboard beam. The yacht drops several depth charges in the vicinity of the sighting, bringing oil and splintered wood to the surface. The damaged submarine is forced to sail to Santander, Spain, where local authorities intern her. During the engagement, Ensign Daniel A. J. Sullivan falls on live depth charges that had broken loose and secures them. He later receives the Medal of Honor for his bravery.[x] 

21 May In a report to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, Vice Admiral W. S. Sims raises the issue of the Navy Department compiling an official history of the U.S. Navy in World War I. “If such a history is considered as being justified it is desired to point out that the longer the inauguration of its compilation is postponed the more difficult the task will be. The records are becoming more voluminous daily,” notes the admiral.[xi]

______________

[i] Memorandum from William S. Benson to All Bureaus, on organization of a force to operate naval guns on shore overseas, 17 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[ii] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 213–23, 225–26.

[iii] Cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 18 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[iv] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 13.

[v] Ibid., 1; Navy Department, Naval Overseas Transportation Service, 118, 251.

[vi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to MELVUS, Queenstown, 19 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NARA.

[vii] DANFS, entry for New Mexico (Battleship No. 40), https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/n/new-mexico.html.

[viii] Cooling, Olympia, 187.

[ix] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 66.

[x] Wilson, American Navy in France, 168–69; Husband, Coast of France, 76; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 107.

[xi] Memorandum from W. S. Sims to William S. Benson, on general report, 21 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL. 

[117]

22 May The armed yacht Wakiva II (SP-160) sinks after colliding with the freighter Wabash (ID-1824) in heavy fog along the French coast. Two men are killed.[i] 

22 May The Naval Aircraft Factory completes construction of the first N-1, an experimental seaplane.[ii] 

22 May The troopship Leviathan (ID-1326) sails from Hoboken, New Jersey, to Brest, France, with 10,577 troops on board. She arrives on 31 May.[iii] 

23 May The British-chartered armed merchant cruiser RMS Moldavia transporting men of the Fourth Infantry Division is torpedoed off Beachy Head in the English Channel by the German submarine UB-57. Fifty-six soldiers perish in the sinking.[iv] 

23 May Vice Admiral W. S. Sims relays to Washington a message received from Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, Commander-in-Chief British Army France, stating “I do not wish to press for 14-inch United States guns if Americans want them but will be glad to receive them if they are not required by [the] Americans.”[v] 

23 May The Admiralty cables the camouflage section of the Navy Department, informing the Americans that white paint is being given up in dazzle painting in favor of No. 1 Gray, Gray-Blue, or Gray-Green paint on dazzle designs. This change is because the white paint was found to reveal the ship in moonlight and under certain circumstances against a misty background.[vi] 

24 May The first shipment of American-built aircraft—six Curtiss HS-1s—are delivered at Naval Air Station Pauillac, France, after being carried aboard the cargo ships Houston (AK-1) and Lake Placid (ID-1788).[vii] 

24 May The protected cruiser Olympia (C-6), commanded by Captain Bion B. Bierer, arrives at Murmansk, Russia, as part of the Allied naval forces in North Russia and disembarks a landing force.[viii] 

24 May A U.S. naval base is established at Corfu by Commander Richard H. Leigh, Commander of Submarine Chasers for Distance Service.[ix] 

25 May The schooner Hattie Dunn is scuttled and sunk by the German submarine U-151 south of Chincoteague, Virginia. U-151 is the first U-boat to engage in combat operations off the U.S. coast.[x] 

25 May As of this day, Captain Hutch I. Cone reports 289 naval aviators abroad, with 181 heavier-than-air pilots, 23 dirigible, and 34 kite balloon pilot officers. For enlisted personnel, there are 24 heavier-than-air qualified enlisted naval aviators, 29 student naval aviators, and one enlisted dirigible student naval aviator.[xi]

______________

[i] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 5; Still, Crisis at Sea, 394; Husband, Coast of France, 76–77.

[ii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 65.

[iii] History of the U.S.S. Leviathan, 76–79.

[iv] Still, Crisis at Sea, 371–72; R. Nell Scott, Many Were Held by the Sea: The Tragic Sinking of HMS Otranto (New York: Rowman and Littlefield Pubs, Inc., 2012), 141.

[v] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 23 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Cablegram from W. S. Sims to OPNAV, 16 June 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[vii] Van Wyen, Naval Aviation, 65; Grossnick, Naval Aviation, 35.

[viii] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 229; Still, Crisis at Sea, 86; Cooling, Olympia, 189; Tolley, “Our Russian War,” 61.

[ix] Daniels, Our Navy at War, 164.

[x] Cooney, Chronology of the U.S. Navy, 229; Navy Department, German Submarine Activities, 26.

[xi] Cablegram from Hutch I. Cone to W. S. Sims, 25 May 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[118]

25 May The schooner Hauppauge is scuttled and sunk by the German submarine U-151 off Virginia south of Chincoteague. It is later salvaged. Immediately thereafter, U-151 attacks the schooner Edna, boards her, and places scuttling bombs, which damage but do not sink the vessel.[i] 

25 May The American Naval Planning Section, London, issues recommendations on the stationing of new submarine chasers due to arrive in European waters on or before 15 August.[ii] 

25 May The Baldwin Locomotive Works completes last of order of five 14-inch, 50-caliber railway gun mounts.[iii] 

25–26 May Mine Squadron One arrives in Scotland. The flagship and minelayer San Francisco (CM-2), minelayers Canandaigua (ID-1694) and Canonicus (ID-1696), and fleet tug Sonoma (AT-12) at Inverness Firth of Overseas Mine Base 18 and minelayers Housatonic (SP-1697) and Quinnebaug (ID-1687), and collier Jason (AC-12) to Cromarty Firth, Overseas Mine Base 17 to join minelayer Roanoke (ID-1695).[iv] 

26 May The first draft of eight officers and 250 men for naval railroad batteries sails from the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, bound for France.[v] 

28 May Construction begins on the Lafayette Radio Station at Croix d’ Hins, Bordeaux, France.[vi] 

28 May Construction begins at Machodoc Creek and Blackstone Island, Virginia, on a new naval proving ground to relieve the burden on the Indian Head Naval Proving Ground.[vii] 

28 May Submarine telegraph cables leading from New York to Europe and Central America are cut by the German submarine U-151, 60 miles southeast of Sandy Hook, New Jersey. They are repaired on 25 June and 4 July.[viii] 

29 May The mine carrier Lake Superior (ID-2995) arrives at Kyle Loch, Scotland, with the first MK VI mine spheres for Overseas Mine Base 17 and the North Sea Mine Barrage. Final assembly of the mines begins the same day.[ix] 

30 May The radio repair base at Gironde River, France, is established.[x] 

31 May The former German steamer, now U.S. troop ship President Lincoln is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-90 about 300 miles west of France, killing 26. Lieutenant Edouard V. M. Izac is captured by U-boat and taken prisoner back to Germany.[xi] 

31 May The Bureau of Construction and Repair writes to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William S. Benson outlining a priority for painting camouflage on American ships. The bureau states that all transports should be camouflaged and receive top priority, followed by all destroyers, cargo, and supply vessels in the war zone, cruisers, and gunboats. No camouflage is to be applied to battleships except in conjunction with anti-range finding tests.[xii]

________________

[i] Navy Department, German Submarine Activities, 26–28.

[ii] Navy Department, Naval Planning, 227–29.

[iii] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 188, 271.

[iv] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 85, 104; Belknap, Yankee Mining Squadron, 12–13; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 135.

[v] Navy Department, Naval Railway Batteries, 8.

[vi] Daniels, Our Navy at War, image opposite of 257.

[vii] Navy Department, Navy Ordnance, 252–53.

[viii] Navy Department, German Submarine Activities, 120, 123; William Bell Clark, When the U-boats Came to America (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1929), 34–35.

[ix] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 66.

[x] Navy Department, Engineering, 127.

[xi] Navy Department, Ship Casualties, 1; Navy Department, Annual Report 1918, 196–201; Gleaves, Transport Service, 111–24, 168, 217–26; Wilson, American Navy in France, 157–60; Byrne, Deck School Log, 59–64; Husband, Coast of France, 93–94; Feuer, Navy in World War I, 55–62; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 78–81.

[xii] Robert F. Sumrall, “Ship Camouflage (WW I): Deceptive Art” Proceedings 97, no 7. (July 1971), 60.

[119]

1 June The radio repair base established at Le Havre, France.[i] 

1 June The troop transport Leviathan (ID-1326) with the destroyer Nicholson (DD-52) sights a submarine about 1,000 yards off the transport’s starboard quarter. She opens fire and Nicholson drops depth charges over the location of the periscope. The results are unknown.[ii] 

1 June The destroyer Ward (DD-139) is launched at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, in a record-breaking 17.5 days after her keel-laying on 15 May. She is commissioned on 24 July. Decades later, Ward fires the first American shots of World War II, sinking a Japanese midget submarine outside the entrance to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.[iii] 

2 June The minelayer Baltimore (CM-1) arrives at Overseas Mine Base 18, Scotland.[iv] 

2 June On “Black Sunday,” the German submarine U-151 sinks six vessels off New Jersey and New York using scuttling charges or gunfire. The ships include the schooners Isabel B. Wiley, Jacob M. Haskell, and Edward H. Cole, steamer Winneconne, cargo ship Texel, and the passenger steamer Carolina. Thirteen people from Carolina die when their lifeboat capsizes.[v] 

3 June The schooner Sam C. Mengel is sunk with scuttling charges by the German submarine U-151 off Maryland south of Delaware.[vi] 

3 June The Office of Naval Operations sends a dispatch to the commandants of all Atlantic coast naval districts to “assume control of coastwise shipping and handle traffic in accordance therewith” in regard to the German submarine U-151’s attacks. Later in the day, the office reports “unmistakable evidence [of] enemy submarine immediately off [the] coast between Cape Hatteras and Block Island. Vessels not properly convoyed [are] advised to make port until further directed.”[vii] 

3 June The Coastwise Routing Office is organized as part of the Office of Naval Operations as the Navy thereafter controls coastwise shipping to protect it against enemy attack.[viii] 

3 June The heads of the Bureaus of Construction and Repair, Ordnance, and Steam Engineering send the Secretary and the General Board of the U.S. Navy designs for a single class of heavily armored fast battleship to replace battleship and battle cruiser construction.[ix] 

3 June The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) requests that any destroyers under repair in the Norfolk, Virginia, or New York Navy Yards be prepared for service at the earliest possible moment. A second message requests the commandants of the First through Seventh Naval Districts “make full and immediate report of all anti-submarine craft available for immediate operation” in response to U-boat attacks along the East Coast. All submarine chasers equipped with listening devices and depth bombs are ordered by OPNAV to also prepare immediately for sea duty.[x]

______________

[i] Navy Department, Engineering, 127.

[ii] Gleaves, Transport Service, 168.

[iii] Alden, Flush Decks, 7, 92; Navy Department, Annual Report 1919, 63; Daniels, Our Navy at War, 297–98.

[iv] Navy Department, Northern Barrage, 85, 105.

[v] Navy Department, German Submarine Activities, 30–38; cablegram from William S. Benson to W. S. Sims, 3 June 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[vi] Navy Department, German Submarine Activities, 41–42.

[vii] Ibid., 39; radiogram from NAVATA Pensacola to Navy Radio, Mobile, Alabama, 3 June 1918; radiogram from Washington to All Ships and Stations, 3 June 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[viii] Navy Department, German Submarine Activities, 39.

[ix] Bureaus of Construction and Repair, Ordnance, and Steam Engineering, “Capital Ships—Preliminary Design,” 3 June 1918, RG80, Office of the Secretary of the Navy; Formerly Confidential Correspondence, 1917–1919, Box 83, Subject C-34:4, NARA, 2–4.

[x] Cablegram from OPNAV to NAVSTA New York, NAVSTA Norfolk, Commandants, Third and Fifth Naval Districts, 3 June 1918; cablegram from OPNAV to Commandants, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh Naval Districts, 3 June 1918; cablegram from OPNAV to Naval District Base New London, Commandants of Third, Fourth, and Fifth Naval Districts, 3 June 1918, Reel 4, ME-11, NDL.

[120]

3 June The tanker Herbert L. Pratt (ID-2339) strikes a mine probably laid by the German submarine U-151, 2.5 miles off Overfalls Lightship, Cape Henlopen, Delaware. She makes the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, f