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 Commander Wilson Brown, Jr., Commander, U.S.S. Parker

U.S. NAVAL FORCES OPERATING IN EUROPEAN WATERS

U.S.S. MELVILLE, FLAGSHIP.

TELEPHONE, VICTORIA, 9110                 30, GROSVENOR GARDENS, 

CABLE ADDRESS, “SIMSADUS”                        LONDON, S.W. 1.

REFERENCE NO. AC                               22nd April, 1918.

My dear Captain Brown,

          Captain Leigh1 informs me that your ship is the best available to continue the experiments with listening devices on destroyers. I want to write to tell you how deeply interested I am in this problem and how impressed I am with its importance.

          All other measures which we have taken or have contemplated against the submarine pale into insignificance as compared with an efficient listening device. Once we can get an efficient listening device to work on a destroyer, the submarines’ days are numbered. It will simply means that every time we can place a destroyer in the vicinity of the submarine, that submarine may be checked off the list simply because you can, if necessary, stay with him at least within sight range, until he has to come to the surface to charge his batteries.

          Of course, as the submarine in order to accomplish its mission must make its presence known, we are always aware, within reasonable limits, of where the submarines are, but unfortunately this does not do us much good as long as the submarine can disappear well outside of the range of our visibility.

          I hope that you will render Captain Leigh and his assistants every facility to strenuously prosecute these experiments to a conclusion. Never mind about regulations or cutting bulkheads or anything else which will help to push the game along and solve this submarine game which is more or less holding up the whole world.

          I shall be very interested in all that you do and will be glad if you will keep me informed from time to time of your progress.

          You have an excellent opportunity to accomplish something which may solve the submarine problem for all time.

          Wishing you every success,

I am,

           Very sincerely,

Commander Wilson Brown,U.S.N.

     U.S.S. Parker.                      Vice Admiral, U.S.Navy.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 337. There is a handwritten note just before the salutation, which reads: “Sent to Liverpool by/special delivery yesterday/JVB.” “JVB” was Sims’ personal aide John V. Babcock.

Footnote 1: Capt. Richard H. Leigh, an expert in listening devices serving on Sims’ staff.

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