Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain Nathan C. Twining, Chief of Staff for Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Captain Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, Commander, Destroyer Flotilla, Queenstown

December 7, 1917.

From:  Force Commander,

To:    Commanding Officer, U.S.S. MELVILLE.

Subject:     Flotilla Commander for Destroyers, based on Brest.

          There are at present time 8 destroyers based on Brest, and it is the intention to add 2 more in the near future. Additional destroyers will be added as new vessels arrive from the United States.

          In order to keep the Brest destroyers in close touch with the methods at present in use in Queenstown, the Force Commander is considering sending a 1000 ton destroyer from Queenstown to base on Brest, under the command of a Commander or Senior Lieutenant-Commander. He would also act as Flotilla Leader of the Brest destroyers. Most of the destroyers in Brest are commanded by officers who are relatively junior, and in all combined operations this lack of rank puts them under the operation of French officers.

          In the event that a Commander is sent I should expect him to continue in this duty for at least six months until things are well organized.

          Will you please inform me if there are any candidates for this position that you would recommend.

          If this change is made it will not be carried through until an additional 1000 ton vessel is available to be based on Queenstown, so that the  present radius of the Queenstown Flotillas will not be diminished.1

(Sd.) WM. S. SIMS.

Captain, U.S. NAVY.

Chief of Staff.

Signed for Vice-Admiral Sims

In his absence.

Source Note: Cy, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 413. While the signature is of VAdm. William S. Sims, the notation below it clearly indicates that the letter was written by Sims’ chief of staff, Capt. Nathan C. Twining. Pringle was commander of the destroyer tender MELVILLE as well as chief of staff to the destroyer flotilla based in Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland. Identification number in top left-hand corner: “01.4633-25/9/5.”

Footnote 1: Pringle’s reply has not been found but soon after U.S.S. Nicholson, commanded by Lt. Cmdr. John C. Fremont, was transferred from Queenstown to Brest and Fremont became the division commander at Brest. Wilson, American Navy in France: 27, 29.