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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Bureau of Navigation

21 February, 1918.


From:     Force Commander.

To:       Bureau of Navigation,    Navy Department,

          Washington,    D.C.

Subject:       Trained personnel for vessels engaged in hunting submarines.

          Considerable attention is being given by the [British] Admiralty to the question of securing a trained personnel for the use of anti-submarine devices in hunting submarines.

          It has been practically settled by the Admiralty that, in order to make the best use of the anti-submarine devices and to allow for watch-keeping in the case of long hunts, the personnel should consist of at least one officer and three trained listeners.

          The officers selected are chosen from the Royal Naval Reserves and Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves in the ranks of Lieutenant and sub-lieutenant.

          In the case of the listeners, one is chosen from the technical school at the Crystal Palace from those engaged in electrical studies, and the other two listeners are for the present being selected from the crew of each hunting vessel, and receive a short course of training at the hydrophone school at Portland. Listeners are paid 4d. per day in addition to the regular pay of their posting when qualified so long as they are employed as listeners.

          In order to properly man the vessels at present intended for submarine hunting, about 200 officers and 600 listeners will be required, and there has been established a new rating which for the present is designated as “listener”.

          In our service we have already undertaken the training of personnel for the use of anti-submarine devices, but it is not known whether any consideration has been given to the establishment of a special rating for this purpose; it is not considered that such special rating is desirable. In the selection of men for duty with anti-submarine devices, those should be chosen who have a fair knowledge of electricity, as, in almost every case, some part of the detection devices will have electrical apparatus connected with them. It is suggested therefore that men who perform the duty of listeners be electricians in the usual service ratings; their special designation being electrician for anti-submarine work.

          As has been stated, a special rating is being established in the Royal Naval Service for this duty, and a rating badge has been designed for those assigned to this duty/ There is enclosed herewith the design which it is understood has been authorized for this purpose.1 A number of suggestions as to designs were submitted to the Admiralty, and among others Captain Leigh2 was requested to submit a design. The one enclosed herewith was submitted by him: consideration of its use is recommended. The design not to replace the electrician rating badge but to be in addition to it, similar to the special mark for radio men. In case of its use in our service, it is recommended that the letter H, indicating “Hydrophone” be omitted.3

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520. At the top of the page appear the following identifications: “18-4-2” and “1/3/J”.

Footnote 1: This attachment is no longer with the document. It appears that the badge was never issued by the Royal Navy. Imperial War Museum, Accessed on 8 February 1918,

Footnote 2: Captain Richard H. Leigh, Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering.

Footnote 3: The editors could find no example of a special badge being issued for listeners.

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