Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander-in-Chief, Coast of Ireland, to Secretary of the Admiralty Sir Oswyn A.R. Murray
FROM THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, COAST OF IRELAND.
TO The Secretary of the Admiralty.
DATE 16th August,1918. No.2306/W.102.A.
I write to draw Their Lordships’ attention to the serious shortage of Destroyers attached to this Port There are not enough now to do the work required, as will be seen by the statements of facts at the end of this letter. In the Autumn and Winter, when the usual bad weather increases the number of breakdowns and reduces the withstanding capacity of personnel and material, the matter will be far more serious. The present shortness leads to an amount of work for Sloops and Destroyers that can only be carried out through the universal readiness for work and cheerfulness to do their best, that is common to all; butitis always both wrong and a mistake to take advantage of this state of mind. You lose in the end.
2. At least six extra Destroyers should be sent here now, and another six by the end of September. As a telegram came from the U.S.Naval Head Quarters in London a few days ago asking whether U.S.S.”WILKES” (which is being repaired at Devenport) could be spared for a week for experiments after she is completed, I conclude that they also are unaware of the straits to which we are driven, and I have therefore sent a copy of this letter to Admiral Sims for information.
Present state of Escorting Vessels
Based on Queenstown.
Escorting Convoys from 7th Aug.to 18th Aug. with less than 24 hours in harbour altogether in that time, H.M.Ships “SNOW DROP”and “HEATHER” U.S.Ships “PAULDING”, “JENKINS”, “TRIPPE” U.S.S.“CONYNGHAM” was with them but broke down on the 8th day out.
Escort of O.L.30 reduced by one ship owing to breakdown, Speed of O.L.-30 reduced from 13.5 to 12.5 knots owing to reduced speed of “HEATHER”requiring boiler cleaning USDS.“STEVENS” 10 days overdue for boiler cleaning – could not be spared.
“REBECCA PALMER” – U.S.Schooner – waiting in Queenstown since 14th August for escort. No escort available until probably about 21st August.
British Oiler ”CRENELLA” waiting escort in Queenstown since 14th August for escort. No escort available until probably about 22nd August.
H.M.S. “VULCAN” and Submarines at Kingstown waiting escort. None available until probably about 22nd August.
My orders for escorts for “MAURETANIA”, “OLYMPIC”, etc, have been that they are always escorted by five Destroyers, seeing that the escort has to go to 15.00 west and that if any Destroyers break down there are four left. No only four can start out which allows for no margin.
U.S.S.”PROTEUS”, 15 knots 9000 tons, had to be escorted by two 30 knotters to Queenstown from Glasgow; had there been any head sea escort would have been no good.
I have here 26 U.S.Destroyers and 8 Sloops of the 26 U.S.Destroyers.
2 (“PARKER and AYLWIN” are detached from Qtn.)
2 (“MANLY and “WILKES” are undergoing long refits due to accidents.)
1 (“CALDWELL” stripped turbine gearing o n 12th Aug.)
2 (“DAVIS and DUNCAN” are carrying out ordinary (leaving 19 for escort work.) refit (15 days).
NOTE One or more must always be cleaning boilers.
Of the 8 Sloops
1 refitting (H.M.S. “JESSAMINE”).
1 generally required for carrying Stores,or some other duties not escorting Convoys – attending on “TELCONIA”, Relief Guards etc.
1 with Kite Balloon (H.M.S.”FLYING FOX).
1 (H.M.S.”SIR BEVIS) developed defects on the 11th August, date of completion unknown.
Total available for escorting: 19 Destroyers
Since 1st August I have escorted the following Convoys:
10 ships ex H.H.63 required separate escort to Liverpool.
H.M.S. “AQUITANIA” )
“MAURETANIA” ) Homeward
“OLYMPIC” ) Bound.
H.E.17 due on 21st August.
H.M.S. “AQUITANIA” due out 22nd August.
“MAURETANIA” due out 17th August.
One Sloop has been escorting Cable Ship “TELCONIA” since the 4th August.