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 Admiral Lewis Bayly, R.N., Commander, Naval Forces, Southern Ireland

Admiral Sims

Personal File.

December 14th, 1917

My dear Admiral,

     Your letter of the 12th,has just reached me. It must have crossed my letter to you of a couple of days ago.1

     I am laying my plans to leave here in about a week for Queenstown and I really hope that nothing will interfere with them. I may have to pay a brief visit to the Fleet or remain here for consultation with some officers coming down but I hope this will not interfere with my getting away. I cannot make any definite plan at present, but if possible I will get away from here on the 22nd, and arrive in Queenstown on the 23rd, probably making the day trip and stopping over night in Dublin.

     You know by this time that Admiral Benson2 was not able to visit Queenstown. He wanted to very much but Colonel House,3 the head of the Mission, could not spare him from the continuous consultations that were going on.

     I am expecting to receive soon the report of the Board of the conditions of the MANLY.4 I hope this will not be such as to indicate that extensive repairs are necessary, but the information will be very valuable to send to the other side so that the vessels there can be strengthened before leaving, and so that those now building can be sufficiently stiffened to stand the winter seas.

     I have just read an admirable report made by Lieut-Comdr. Bagley. I regret very sincerely the loss of all those valuable men and officers.5 It seems to me that Bagley and Scott6 handled the situation very well.

     I am not surprised, but always gratified, to know that Pringle is still 100%.7 I do not think that pressure enough can be brought to bear to make any change in this position. You may be sure that it could only be done over my officially dead body. Pringle is a very exceptional man and just the kind of a man for just the kind of job he is holding down. I do not think the principal dignitaries in Washington will go counter to my advice in such a matter. I am sure that Admiral Benson never would. I am really sorry that you could not have met him because I know that you admire a man who is absolutely straight in all his dealings. Compared with the average run of the mine he is almost impossibly honest.

     Please give my love to THE ONLY NIECE8 and say to her that if anything prevents me getting to Queenstown when I expect to, I will be very seriously disappointed.

Very sincerely yours                   

P.S. I am sure that Captain Twining9 would like to go with me to Queenstown, but our administrative work has grown so greatly, and so many important questions are up every day for decision, that I think he does not feel that he ought to be away when I am. Perhaps Babcock10 will come up with me though he is very busy also, and is making preparations to make a liaison trip to Washington at a no distant period. Perhaps I will come up alone.

Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 47. Addressed below close: “Admiral Sir Lewis bayly,/Admiralty House,/Queenstown.”

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

Footnote 3: Col. Edward House, advisor to President Woodrow Wilson.

Footnote 4: The for more on the problems associated with the U.S.S. Manley, see: Sims to Josephus Daniels, 19 December 1917.

Footnote 6: Lt. Norman Scott.

Footnote 7: Capt. Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, Commander, Destroyer Flotilla, Queenstown. Sims feared the Navy Department would send a rear admiral to assume Twining's position, thus disrupting the smooth operations at Queenstown. Pringle remained the senior officer there for the rest of the war.

Footnote 8: Violet Voysey, Bayly's niece.

Footnote 9: Capt. Nathan C. Twining, Sims' chief of staff.

Footnote 10: Cmdr. John V. Babcock, another aide on Sims' staff.

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