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Office of Naval Intelligence to Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations






Date:  August 20, 1917.


          Chief of Naval Operations.

          (A) Master of the British s.s. ROATH

Source:   (B) Armed Guard S.S. GOLD SHELL.

     Subject: Patrol in French Waters.


     (A) Captain Williams1 speaks forcibly of the lack of patrol vessels in French ports. His course from New York to Brest was to go inside Chausse de Sein. This body of water is very narrow and he found on arrival there that two vessels had hit mines in these very waters, so that he disobeyed his instructions and made the run outside.

     On arrival at the harbor of Brest he had seen no sign of any patrol vessels, and although he was carrying a valuable cargo of copper and zinc, he had not been met. Just outside the Harbor of Brest several vessels had struck mines and it seems as if there were no adequate steps taken to protect this important roadstead. On proceeding inside the harbor he found there two or three trawlers and that seemed to be all in the way of patrol vessels.

     (B) The Gold Shell arrived off Belle Isle, which is off the coast of France, at about 4 a.m. on the 12th of July. They waited around three or four hours at this rendezvous, where they had been told that the patrol would pick them up; but nothing arrived and so they proceeded to Quiberon where they met a small French convoy at about 5 o’clock.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG45, Entry 517B. Identification numbers appearing in the upper-left: “Section:/C-1/No.”

Footnote 1: Capt. Thomas A. Williams, Commander, Roath.