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Memorandum for Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters


August 20th, 1918.      

   With reference to Admiral Wemyss’ letter of the 20th:1

     The letter of instructions regarding use of battleships and destroyers in the case of the escape of a German raider is not an order to Admiral Rodgers but is a letter of instructions to all the forces concerned in the operation.2

     The Navy Department, exercising its right to control the movements of United States Naval vessels, has directed that two divisions of United States destroyers based on Queenstown shall, in the case provided, for proceed to the Azores or elsewhere, as may be necessary, to screen the battleships of Division Six.

     These destroyers are at present under the command of Admiral Bayly3 at Queenstown but will, in certain circumstances, be removed from under his command and assigned to the duty in question.

     A “Letter of Instructions,” of which a copy is furnished to Admiral Bayly and a copy to Captain Pringle,4 is the Force Commander’s means for communicating to those officers the Navy Department’s intentions regarding the handling of those destroyers when the case provided for arises.

     The destroyers are not placed specifically under the orders of Rear Admiral Rodgers, but are, for the time being and in the supposed case, temporarily removed from <Admiral> Bayly’s command.

     The Instructions have been issued as written but it is quite probable that the Navy Department will modify its plan before it is placed in operation.


Source Note: DTS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 24.

Footnote 1: First Sea Lord Adm. Sir Rosslyn Wemyss. For a copy of this letter, see: Wemyss to Sims, 20 August 1918.

Footnote 2: RAdm. Thomas S. Rodgers, Commander, Battleship Division Six, Atlantic Fleet. See: Plan for Protecting Against Raiders, 30 July 1918.

Footnote 3: Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander-in-Chief, Naval Forces, Southern Ireland.

Footnote 4: A copy of this letter has not been located.

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