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 Anne Hitchcock Sims

[Extract]

U. S. S. Madawaska  

St Nazaire, France

Dec. 6, 1917, Thursday

My darling Sweetheart:

     Yesterday morning at 8 we left Paris for St Nazaire. The party consisted of Ad. B., Cone, McBride, Babby,1 some army officer, and a French navy officer. We arrived here at 5 p.m., and instead of going to the hotel (which is a poor affair) we came to this vessel. The Madawaska is a troop transport. She used to be the Konig Wilhelm II. She is commanded by Connor “Eddie” Watson, our friend who used to live on Agrault St.

     As this used to be a German passenger steamer, he was able to make us very comfortable. This morning at 8 we all went to one of our “Air” Stations that is now in full operation. It is about an hour away by motor.

     This evening at 9 we start for Brest and will be there tomorrow morning, and will meet there Col. House2 and the remainder of the mission that leaves Paris this evening. Tomorrow evening they leave for home on the San Diego (a cruiser) and the Mount Vernon (a troop transport that used to be a German liner—She was the Crown Princess Cecilia, the one that was turned back at the beginning of the war, and was so long in Bar Harbor. . . .

     Everything is arranged very satisfactorily with Admiral B. He says he will send over every single destroyer that can be gotten across the ocean—also tugs and other vessels. If they had only really believed what I told them, we would have had these vessels long ago.

     However we believe they see the light now and will set every thing going.

     From Brest I will return to Paris and thence go on to London immediately I will have been absent about two weeks, and will of course find a lot of work banked up when I return—but that can soon be cleared off.

     I hope to be able to go to Queenstown for Xmas week, but may be disappointed. The first meeting of the Interallied Naval Council may prevent: This is to meet once a week month in London (usually). . . .

Source Note: ALS, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims papers, Box 9.

Footnote 1: Adm. William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, Capt. Hutchinson I. Cone, Naval Constructor Lewis B. McBride, Cmdr. John V. Babcock.

Footnote 2: Col. Edward M. House.

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