Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson, Commander, United States Naval Forces Based in France, to Captain David F. Boyd, District Commander, Cherbourg

22 April, 1918.    

From: Commander U.S.Naval Forces in France.

To:   District Commander Cherbourg.

Subject:  Duties of District Commanders.

Enclosure: (1).

     1.   The organization of the French Naval Forces on the coast of France is as shown in the enclosure:1 In order that there may be proper coordination between out [i.e., our] forces and the French the area of our activities is subdivided into districts corresponding to the Arrondissements,2 with headquarters at, arespectively, Cherbourg, Brest, Lorient, and Roshefort [i.e., Rochefort].

     Military operations of all U.S. Naval Forces in France are under the direct control of the Commander of these forces, except as this command may, from time to time, be delegated to District Commanders.

     2.   Your mission is :

First- To safeguard the passage of American troop and store ships;

Second- To sooperate with the French Naval Forces for the protection of shipping and for the conduct of submarine warfare.

3.   (a) District Commander Cherborg.- District is that of the first Arrondissement, which extends from the meridian of Antifer3 to the meridian of Brehat.4

(b) District Commander Brest.- District is that of the 2nd Arrondissement, which extends form [i.e., from] Brehat to Penmarch, including Ushant.

(c) District Commander Lorient.- District is that of the third Arrondissement, which exyends from Penmarch to Fromentine including Belle Ile.5

(d) District Commander Rochefort. District is that of the 4th Arrondissement, which extends from Fromentine to the Spanish boundary, including outlying islands.

                (x)  District Commanders are charged with :

          (1) Operations of vessels that may be placed under their command;

          (2) Command, administration, repairing and supplying of vessels assigned to their districts;

          (3) Development and maintenance of adequate naval port facilities;

          (4) Establishment and ma[i]ntenance of prompt and certain communication with Commander U.S. Naval Forces in France, the Prefet Maritime ,6 Naval Port Officer in the District, and other District Commanders;

          (5) Supervision of American shipping and of U.S. Naval personnel on merchant ships.

         The Naval Port Officers in your district will be subject to your orders. They will, however, report movements of ships dierct [i.e., direct] to the Commander U:S. Naval Forces in France.

          Establish offices on shore close to the Prefecture. Study the requirements of your District and submit recommendations from time to time as to Naval port develpoment [i.e., development], routing and safeguarding of shipping.

     4.  Report the facilities that exist within your District for fueling vessels and for docking and repairs.

     5. Submit weekly report of operations and report of material condition of vessels assigne[d] to our District; monthly list of officars, with changes as they occur.

        Telegraph addresses are as shown on communication chart.

        Use N.C.E. Ciphers for communication with COMFRN.

WILSON        

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 414. Identifier at top left-hand side of page: File 496/OD.O” and at top right: “11-17-6” and in columnar fashion: “3/C/J/P.” There is a note below the signature: “Copy to/Force Commander [VAdm. William S. Sims].”

Footnote 1: The organization plan is no longer with this document, however Wilson discussed it in Wilson, American Navy in France: 19-21.

Footnote 2: Arrondissements are subdivisions of departments in France; they are designed to facilitate local government administration. In France, there are 101 departments and 342 arrondissements.

Footnote 3: La Poterie-Cap-d’Antifer, which is in the region of Normandy.

Footnote 4: That is, Île-de-Bréhat, Brittany, France.

Footnote 5: That is, Belle Île, an island off the coast of Brittany, France.

Footnote 6: The Préfet Maritime or Maritime Prefect is a French official who exercises authority over maritime matters in a particular region.

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