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First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John R. Jellico, R.N., to Commodore Guy R. Gaunt, R.N., British Naval Attaché in Washington, D.C.



To. Commodore Gaunt 620.                     Date 17.12.17.

C. in C. N.A. & W.I.1 290                   Sent 2240

          Cypher K.

     For Chief of Naval Operations.2

     We are anxious to provide more effective protection for troop convoys from Halifax against possible enemy surface vessels of <or> raiders of Light Cruiser type.

     We propose utilize KING ALFRED for this purpose and possibly LEVIATHAN3 but this will exhaust our resources and I venture to suggest that as American troops are concerned U. S. Naval Authorities may be disposed to detail four pre-dreadnought Battleships for this duty.4

     Estimate such vessels can do journey to destroyer rendezvous and back without coaling round journey occupying about fortnight at sea.

     Address to Commodore Gaunt repeated to C. in C. North American & West Indies.5 2265

1st. S.L.               

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Addressed below close: “C.N.S.[Chief of Naval Staff Sir Rosslyn E. Wemyss]/Naval Asst. to C.N.S./D.1st Sea Lord. [Deputy First Sea Lord RAdm. George P.W. Hope]/A.C.N.S. [Assistant Chief of Naval Staff RAdm. Alexander L. Duff]/D.O.D. [Director, Operations Division Capt. A.D.P. Pound]/Cdr. [John V.] Babcock (for Admiral [William S.] Sims).” Document indicates: “6 Copies/5/0.”

Footnote 1: Adm. Sir Dudley R.S. De Chair, R.N., Commander, West Indes and North American Fleet.

Footnote 2: Adm. William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations.

Footnote 3: H.M.S. King Alfred and H.M.S. Leviathan were armored cruisers both launched in 1901.

Footnote 4: On 19 December, Gaunt replied that Benson “expressed himself as hostile” to the proposal arguing that he did not believe that the Germans would use their new battle cruisers for this type of work. UKKeNA, Adm. 137/660. However, they did assign armored cruisers San Diego and South Dakota to serve as convoy escorts. Montague E. Browning to Admiralty, 31 December 1917, Ibid.

Footnote 5: VAdm. Montague E. Browning, R.N.

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