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 Rear Admiral Mark L. Bristol, Commander, U.S.S. OKLAHOMA

August 26th.1918.

My dear Bristol,

          Yours of August 22nd.1 just received. I know that both you2 and Long3 are to be promoted soon and will have to leave your ships.

          As for duty on this side, I would be very glad indeed to have both you and Long, but I do not know what the Department intends to do about it. I have written to Admiral Benson4 and pointed out to him that I should have at least a certain limited choice in the officers who are to be assigned to duty over here, but I am rather afraid that those who sit next to the dealer have gotten in their work.

          I have rather protested to the principal dignitaries against sending officers over here for duty without consulting me, because that would run the risk of obliging me to work with people who were not personally in sympathy with my views and methods.

          I am expecting to hear by the next mail from Admiral Benson on this subject, and will let you know what turns up.

          I am afraid you will find the duty at Berehaven5 rather tiresome because there is very little to do there and the tentative plan of the Department requires the ships to stand by for duty on the minimum notice. This will bind you fellows as closely to the ship as is the case now with all of the vessels with the Grand Fleet. Nobody is allowed leave from the latter vessels, except when they are in a Navy Yard for docking and a few days overhaul. They are allowed to go ashore only between two and six o’clock in the afternoon, and even then must report a couple of times at certain places to see whether they are required to report on board. Sometimes the Grand Fleet is on two hours notice and sometimes on four, but never more than the latter figure.

          The Department’s plan so far has only been suggested to us on this side for discussion, and we have not yet received orders that it is placed in operation.

          We are advising certain essential changes in the program, but this will hardly make any difference to the nature of the duty of the ships based on Berehaven.

          It is very difficult for me to predict what my movements will be any distance in advance, but it is possible that I may pay you a visit before very long. I will know more about it after I have seen Admiral Rodgers,6 who arrives here tomorrow morning.

                    Very sincerely yours,

                              S/ W.S. Sims

Source Note: TLS, DLC-MSS, Williams Sims Papers, Container 50. Addressed below close: “Captain Mark L.Bristol, U.S.Navy.,/U.S.S. OKLAHOMA./Berehaven.”

Footnote 1: Document not found.

Footnote 2: RAdm. Mark L. Bristol later served as the U.S. High Commissioner in Turkey from 1919 to 1927. As Rear Admiral, he commanded the Asiatic Fleet from 1927 to 1930.

Footnote 3: Capt. Andrew T. Long commanded the U.S.S. NEVADA until October 1918 and then served as a liaison officer to the Supreme War Council. As Rear Admiral, he served as Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence and Director of the Bureau of Navigation.

Footnote 4: Adm. William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations.

Footnote 5: The OKLAHOMA was assigned to Battleship Division Six, based at Berehaven, Ireland.

Footnote 6: RAdm. Thomas S. Rodgers, Commander, Battleship Division Six, Atlantic Fleet.

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