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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations


Date December 31, 1917.

To   Opnav.             Prepared by C. S.1     Approved

Sent                                            No.


Your 1862.2 Deep mine fields already extend half way across Straits3 and will soon extend entirely across with narrow gates each side for necessary traffic. Listening squadrons are already established from Isle of Wight due south across channel and those will be reinforced until a practically complete barrage of this nature is established. Surface patrol is to be intensified and Admiralty expresses determination to take vessels from other areas if necessary to make this patrol effective. There has been lack of cooperation heretofore between forces at Portsmouth and Dover. First Sea Lord4 states that whatever steps are found necessary to correct this condition will be taken. Am convinced that Admiralty is thoroughly alive to the absolute necessity of closing the Straits and of vigorously carrying out whatever plans are adopted. Rear Admiral Roger Keyes who has a reputation for vigorous action has been assigned to the Dover command in place of Vice Admiral Bacon.5


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Sims’ Chief of Staff, Capt. Nathan C. Twining.

Footnote 2: This document has not been located.

Footnote 3: The Straits of Dover.

Footnote 4: Adm. Sir John R. Jellicoe.

Footnote 5: Before taking command of the Dover Station, Keyes was heavily involved in the organization of the Dardanelles Campaign, taking charge in an operation to clear the Kephez minefield. After the failure of this campaign, Keyes became Director of Plans at the Admiralty, serving in this point until his appointment to Dover, where he replaced VAdm. Sir Reginald Bacon.