Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Destroyers Operating from British Bases, to Commander Joseph K. Taussig, Commander, Eighth Destroyer Division

U.S. Destroyer Forces

European Waters,

29 April 1917

Operation Order No. 1.1

     1. Enemy submarines operating against Allied commerce in increasing numbers.

     2. This force cooperate with, and operate under, direct command Vice Admiral Commanding British forces based on Queenstown.2

     3. Keep U.S. Destroyer Force Commander informed periodically of military service performed.

     Eliminate all official usual routine correspondence and reports which interfere in any way with efficient military service.

     Give particular heed to physical condition of personnel.

     4. In absence [of] U.S. Supply Vessels obtain necessary supplies and repairs by direct request on British Headquarters, Queenstown, details and accounting to be arranged upon arrival U.S. Supply Officer.

     5. Forward official mail via British official routes. Use U.S. Service Radio Code for Code messages to Force Commander.

Wm. S. Sims

Rear Admiral, U.S.N.

Commanding U.S. Destroyer Force

European Waters

Source Note: Cy, RNW, Joseph K. Taussig Papers, Mss. Coll. 97, Naval Historical Collection, Diary, entry of 7 May 1917. Following the order is a list of all those to whom copies of the order were sent. It reads: “Original to/Commander of the Des. Div./Copies to all vessels and/Secretary of Navy (Operations)/Vice Admiral Commanding Queenstown/First Sea Lord, Admiralty [Vice Adm. Sir John R. Jellicoe]/U.S. Naval Attachés, London & Paris [Capt. William D. MacDonald and Lt. Cmdr. William R. Sayles]/J.V. Babcock/Lt. Comdr., Aide.”

Footnote 1: Sims had received appointment as commander of the American destroyer force in European waters the same day he issued this order. See: Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to Sims, 28 April 1917.

Footnote 2: British VAdm. Sir Lewis Bayly. Giving Bayly operational command of U.S. Navy ships was an unprecedented move that has been highly praised. See Still, Crisis at Sea: 60-8. Sims sent a copy of these orders to Bayly who replied on 11 May, that he could not offer any “alteration. . . as they seem to include all possible necessities.” Bayly noted that the service at Queenstown (present-day Cobh, Ireland) was different from other bases in England but he foresaw no difficulties. Bayly ended by saying that he saw no reason to distinguish between American and English destroyers—“We are all one here”—and his orders would reflect this fact. He ended by saying that he told all the captains serving at Queenstown that the best way to prevent “misunderstands, doubts &c” was for them to come and see Bayly when they arrive, adding: “I am always here & my business is to help them.” DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers.

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