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Admiral Lewis Bayly, R.N., Commander, Naval Forces, Southern Ireland, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Navy Forces Operating in European Waters

Admiral House,


12 . 12 . 17

My dear Admiral

          So very glad you are coming for Christmas, I wonder if Capt. Twining1 would like to come: there won’t be much doing in London. I suppose Admiral Benson2 will have gone back then, we should be very glad to have him (& shall be rather disappointed if he does not visit this base).

My idea about Brest is that you ought to take 2/3 of the dockyard over man it with your mechanics, work it with your coal, your (& their) machines, and hoist you’re the USA Adml’s. flag over your 2/3 and the Franch Adml’s flag over the other 1/3.3

I am very sorry about the Manly;4 I was looking forward to a destroyer with all her guns on the centre line: I don’t like the sponson 4” at all,5 and were I on the fore bridge should like them less. Also she looks as if she would be a very heavy roller in a sea that suits her. She is evidently too lightly built; but the Board will tell you all that. Bagly behaved very well indeed.6 Pringle is 100%;7 whatever changes you make don’t take him away. Good luck.

yours very sincerely    

Lewis Bayly   

The Niece8 sends her love & looks forward to your visit.

Source Note: ALS, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 47.

Footnote 1: Capt. Nathan C. Twining, Sims’ chief of staff.

Footnote 2: Adm. William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations. He was in England as part of the mission headed by Col. Edward House. For more on this mission, see: Sims to Bayly, 20 November 1917.

Footnote 3: There was much unhappiness among the American naval leadership with how long it took to get ship repairs done at Brest. The French were unwilling however to allow the United States to take over the naval repair yard. Instead they recommended that a new facility be built on vacant land adjacent to the French naval dockyard. Work on this facility was begun almost immediately, but it was still not completed in November 1918, at the armistice. Still, Crisis at Sea, 152.

Footnote 4: The U.S.S. Manley was a new USN destroyer slated to be based in Queenstown. See: Sims to Bayly, 22 November 1917. En route, Manley evidenced structural weaknesses that required investigation and repair. See: Sims to Josephus Daniels, 19 December 1917.

Footnote 5: The Manley tested two waist four-inch guns in place of fore-and-aft single weapons. Norman Friedman, U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History [Annapolis, MD, Naval Institute Press, 2004), 42.

Footnote 6: Lt. Cmdr. David W. Bagley, commander of the Jacob Jones, which was struck by a torpedo and sunk on 6 December 1917. See: Lieutenant Commander David W. Bagley’s Report on Sinking of U.S.S. Jacob Jones, after 7 December 1917.

Footnote 7: Capt. Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, Commander, Destroyer Flotilla, Queenstown.

Footnote 8: Bayly’s niece Violet Voysey.