Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Captain Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, Chief of Staff, Destroyer Flotilla

April 16th.1918.   

My dear Pringle,

          I have just signed the orders of Ensign William Sims Newlin, U.S.N.R.F., detaching him from the communication office here and ordering him to report to you for duty with the destroyer forces.

          He is the son of my youngest sister,1 and has had considerable experience in navy motor boats operating on our coast since we came into the war, and he is not willing to spend his time during the war punching the keys of the coding machine.

          He is ambitious to get an “anchor” on his collar and,2 I believe, will work hard for it. I don’t want any favor shown him, but would like him to have a good chance to make good under a good destroyer commander.

          I am sorry not to have been able to visit Queenstown recently, but it has not been possible, as I have been standing by to go to Paris with Admiral Wemyss3 for a meeting of the Naval Council and a conference with the Versailles council.

     The meeting was to have taken place today, but has been postponed until the 26th. because the Italians could not get there – and it may be postponed again. There are many things of importance to be attended to just now, including conferences with representatives sent by General Pershing4 to discuss matters concerning the routing of troops, supplies, etc. Moreover, I would not care to be away during the present crisis on the Western Front. We are standing by to send 7000 sailors to assist behind the lines if they are needed. General Foch has acknowledged the offer and says they will not be needed at present.5 I don’t suppose they could do very much, but thought the moral effect would be worth something.

     These are certainly anxious times. The British Tommy is a wonder and the French Poilu is some soldier.

     There are still rumors of Eberle6 coming out, but I am not crossing any bridges until I come to them.

Very sincerely yours,        

Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 79. Addressed below close: “Captain J.R.P. Pringle.U.S.N./U.S.S. MELVILLE.”

Footnote 1: Sims youngest sister, Mary Stewart Sims.

Footnote 2: Anchor on the collar indicates shipboard service.

Footnote 3: First Sea Lord Adm. Rosslyn Wemyss, R.N.

Footnote 4: For more on the Italian failure to attend, see: Sims to Charls R. Train, 16 April 1918. Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing, U.S.A., Commander, American Expeditionary Forces.

Footnote 5: For more on French Gen. Ferdinand Foch’s rejection of Sims’ offer, see: French Ministry of Marine to Richard H. Jackson, 3 April 1918.

Footnote 6: Capt. Edward W. Eberle, then serving as Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy. See: Sims to William V. Pratt, 16 April 1918.