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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

A-1.                                      27 April, 1918.

From:-    Force Commander.

To:       Secretary of the Navy. (Operations – Aviation).

Subject:- AVIATION – Report of Weekly Activities.


     Ensign Stephen Potter, U.S.N.R.F., has been reported as “missing” from the R.N. Air Station, Felixstowe, where he was attached and performing duty in the war flight. It is feared that the machine in which this officer was flying was attacked by German seaplanes in the vicinity of the North Hinder Light Ship and shot down in flames. Further and more complete information is expected from the Royal Air Force,which will be forwarded as a separate report.1

     At the request of the Royal Air Force, priority has been given to the construction of the U.S. Naval Seaplane Base at Loch Foyle, Ireland, and secondary priority to Wexford. This is due to the increased submarine activity on the North Eastern Coast of Ireland.


     It is thought that the U.S. Naval Kite Balloon Station at Berehaven, Ireland, will be commissioned as such about April 29, 19182 Sufficient British personnel will be retained at this station until we are thoroughly familiar with the methods of handling and operating Kite Balloons.

     Construction work progressing in a satisfactory manner on all Irish Stations although fears are entertained that labor troubles may be experienced due to the unsettled conditions in Ireland.3

3.   FRANCE.

     Dunkirk:- Usual enemy air raids and shelling by long distance guns. The only damage reported was to one Quartermaster who was knocked unconscious but who was otherwise uninjured and the destruction of one wing of an aeroplane.

     Total number of flights .. .. 4

     Total Time  ..  ..  .. .. .. 1 hr. 32 mts.

     The officers and men of this station are working in the closest co-operation with the British Air Force at Dunkirk and have been of material assistance to them.

Le Croisic:- Nothing of interest to report.

Total number of flights .. .. 17

Total time   ..   ..   .. .. 12 hrs.5 mts.

Total number of submarine warnings

     received..  ..  ..  ..  23

Moutchic:- Bombing and target practice continued.

Total number of flights .. .. 153

Total time   ..   ..    .. .. 53 hrs.56 mts.

Aircraft in service    .. ..   7

Aircraft under repair  .. ..  11


Total flying time     .. .. 20 hrs.57 mts.

Pauillac:-    Total number of men at receiving barracks                                                  1241.

Construction work in progress.

          Construction work on the remaining French Stations is progressing in a satisfactory manner.

4.   ITALY.

     Lake Bolsena:-

Total number of flights ..  ..  167

Total time    ..   ..   ..  ..  52 hrs. 35 mts.

WM. S. SIMS.      

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Potter died in an engagement with German aircraft on 25 April 1918, when his plane was shot down near North Hinder Light. DANFS, Stephen Potter.

Footnote 2: The kite balloon station opened on schedule two days later.

Footnote 3: On the “unsettled conditions” in Ireland, see: Pringle to Sims, 29 April 1918.

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