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 Flotillas

April 29th.1918.

My dear Pringle,

          Referring to your letter of April 24th.which reached me upon my return from Paris today, I think you have handled the matter referred to in my letter of the 19th. very satisfactorily.1

          I am glad that you explained the whole business to Admiral Bayly and that he understands what we are up against. I should receive some reply from Admiral Benson before very long. My letter to him was dated the 16th. April so it is probably only just reaching him.2

          I was particularly glad to have your information concerning the result of Admiral Wemyss’s visit to Queenstown, to the effect that Admiral Bayly has the assurance that it is intended to retain him in command of the station.3 I was not anticipating any trouble on this account because I understood that Admiral Wemyss was very well disposed towards him.

          I have seen Berry and have talked over his future with him and Twining and some of the rest of the staff, and we have finally concluded that the best thing to do is to order him to report to the Navy Department for such duty as they may assign him.4 I suppose he will want to come back to this side, but I am leaving the Department to judge as to whether they think it will be fit for that soon and as to whether he ought to come back.

          I am sure you will understand that in this decision I have been influenced to a certain extent by the relations which Berry has with certain people. It is not worth while to recommend something which is more likely to be turned down.

Very sincerely yours,        

Captain J.R.P.Pringle, U.S.N.,

     U.S.S. MELVILLE.

               Queenstown.Ireland.

P.S. A letter just received makes it clear that our rough-neck friend Conolly5 is the man who has been stirring up these criticisms, doubtless assisted by some of my naval “friends”.

Source Note: TCy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 47.

Footnote 1: See: Pringle to Sims, 24 April 1918; and Sims to Pringle, 19 April 1918. The matter to which Sims is referring is Pringle’s briefing of his commander, Sir Lewis Bayly, R.N., concerning a series of articles published in the American press that Sims believed was perpetrating damaging and insidious criticisms and misinformation about how he handled his command of the United States naval forces in Europe. For more on this matter, including an example of these articles, see: Army and Navy Register, 16 March 1918; and Sims to John E. Jenks, 8 April 1918.

Footnote 2: Adm. William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations. For Sims’ letter to Benson, see: Sims to Benson, 16 April 1918. Benson replied on 6 May 1918. See: Benson to Sims, 6 May 1918; and Sims to Pringle, 6 May 1918.

Footnote 3: First Sea Lord Adm. Sir Rosslyn Wemyss had visited Queenstown in later March. See: Wemyss to Sims, 26 March 1918.

Footnote 4: Cmdr. Robert L. Berry and Capt. Nathan C. Twining, Sims’ chief of staff. For more on Berry and this incident, see: Sims to Leigh C. Palmer, 29 April 1918.

Footnote 5: James B. Connolly. For a fuller discussion of Connolly’s activities, see: Sims to William V. Pratt, 29 April 1918.

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