Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Anne Hitchcock Sims
Sunday, August 26, 1917
My darling Nani:
Yesterday I posted you a small letter in Queenstown—in the open mail—and I will post this in the same way here.
Twining, Blakeslee1 and I had rather an uncomfortable trip yesterday and last night. We left Queenstown at 3 P.M., got on board the steamer at 8, arrived in England at midnight, waited (in the train) until 3 AM before it started, and reached Liverpool at 7-30- this morning. There were no sleeping cars, but we had reserved compartments on the tram and cabins on the boat, so we got some cat naps.
There is a special train here for Admiral Mayo in charge of Rear Admiral De Chair2 (who used to be in Washington as Naval Attaché). He has three other officers to assist him. MacDougall and Pye3 are also here. The Admiral and party will arrive in the night sometime, and the special will start at 10 A.M. tomorrow, and arrive in London at 2-30. On Tuesday evening (28th) the Board of the Admiralty [will] give a big dinner, and of course there will be a lot more affairs of the kind.
I think I told you that the Admiral and party will be at the Carlton.4 I understand they will remain in England about a month- probably a pretty strenuous month for me. However, I am well and have lots of people to help me do the work. We had a very pleasant visit in Queenstown. The Admiral5 was in fine feather, and I am sure he enjoyed having us. He is manifestly very much pleased with our people and our relations could not possibly be better, which of course is a great satisfaction to us. Our vessels have done so well that they have a fine reputation throughout the British service.
It has rained nearly continuously since I arrived in Queenstown, and it has rained steadily since I arrived here.
This afternoon Admiral Dechair took us all to visit a new British battleship that is in dock here. She is commanded by Captain Grant,6 an old acquaintance of mine. We went all over her and had tea in the cabin.
We will all dine together at the hotel this evening. This hotel, by the way is one of the finest in England— designed to attract the tourist on his way to London. Of course there are no tourists now. Only those who have real business to attend to are allowed to travel.
I must close now, and there will be no opportunity to add to this, but I will write you as soon as I can from London.
It seems years since I left you, and I am loving you all the time and pining for a sight of your dear face, and all our precious wee ones. Kiss all the darlings for me and thank Aola for her long and interesting letter—of no less than 16 pages—bless her heart.7 I will not fail to answer it. I was much interested in all the curious pictures she sent with it.
Source Note: ALS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 9. The letter is written on stationary with: “PHONE4400ROYAL/Midland.../Adelphi..../Hotel......./Liverpool.” centered at the top of the first page.
Footnote 1: Capt. Nathan C. Twining, Sims’ Chief of Staff, and Lt. Edward G. Blakeslee,who served as the head of the Communications Section on Sims’ staff.
Footnote 2: RAdm. Dudley S. De Chair, and Adm. Henry T. Mayo, Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet.
Footnote 3: Capt. William D. MacDougall, United States Naval Attaché at London, and Cmdr. William S. Pye, a member of Mayo's staff.
Footnote 4: The London hotel that hosted Mayo and his staff. For a more detailed account of Mayo’s visit, see: Mayo to Josephus Daniels, 30 August 1917; and Sims to William V. Pratt, 30 August 1917.
Footnote 5: VAdm. Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander, Southern Ireland.
Footnote 6: RAdm. Sir Heathcoat S. Grant, Senior Officer, Gibraltar. It is unknown which ship the Americans toured.
Footnote 7: “Aola” was a pet name for Sims’ oldest daughter, Adelaide. The letter in question has not been found.