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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commodore Guy R. Gaunt, British Naval Attaché in Washington, to British Admiralty

COPY OF TELEGRAM.             IN

From Naval Attache  Washington.         Date 25.4.17

                                        Sent 3:50pm

To Amiralty.                            Recd. 4.19am

xxxx P cypher

     Navy Department told me privately that if urgently required a few guns 4 or 5 inch calibre with ammunition but no crews might be available for arming merchant vessels at New York.1

Source Note: Cy, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/655. Addressed below close: “1st S L/Sir A K Wilson/D C 2/Trade Y/G/ D I D 2.” That is, in order, First Sea Lord And. Sir John R. Jellicoe; Sir Arthur K. Wilson, a former First Sea Lord and advisor to the Admiralty on matters of strategy; Deputy Chief of Naval Staff [VAdm. Henry F. Oliver], two copies; Director of Trade Division [Capt. Richard Webb]; Director of Intelligence Division [Capt. William E. Hall]. What “Y” and “G” stands for is not known.

Footnote 1: The United States Navy was forced to cannibalize gun crews from the battleship fleet, but shortages remained a continuing problem. See: William S. Benson to Henry T. Mayo, 19 April 1917; and Benson to Mayo, 25 May 1917.