Skip to main content

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, R.N., Commander, Naval Forces, Southern Ireland


February 26th.1918.

My dear Admiral,

          Your letter of the 23rd.1 was received a day or so ago. I have taken up with the Admiralty the question of the proposed withdrawing of the twelve sloops from Queenstown, and they tell me that this is something so far in the future, that it need not be considered at present. It has something to do with the question of the barrage in the north sea, but there has really been no definite decision made on the subject of the vessels necessary to protect that barrage.2

          This morning at the usual morning council it was decided to send six, I believe, of the older 30-knot destroyers into the Irish Sea to be based on the east coast of Ireland and to carry out hunting operations against the submarine.

          In principle, it was decided that as soon as it was materially possible, all possible hunting should be done in the Irish Sea particularly, and also in the Channel. . . .

          A considerable number of very important questions are up for discussion now, which involve possible changes*3 in the British personnel on the other side, for handling convoys, etc. so that I do not see what [i.e., when] I can get away from London in the immediate future. I hope however, to be able to run up about Easter, but of course I cannot be sure so far in advance.

          The Allied Council will meet again about the 12th. or 13th. March.4 We ought to accomplish something definite this next meeting which will be the first one after the preliminary organization meeting.

          I am delighted to learn this morning that Pringle5 proposes to come down to London next Thursday. I think it would be very well indeed for him to have a good long yarn with all of the different people in the office, to forget about his troubles, and have a look around London. We will keep him as long as we can, but do not think that can be very long as he has a really morbid conscience about his work.

Very sincerely yours,        

*    These are changes in positions, not persons. It is proposed to have the man who runs (routes) the convoy shift his headquarters to Washington where we can consult daily with our people – and prompt action can be taken in case cruising submarines turn up.

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

Footnote 2: For more on the protection of mine layers in the North Sea, see: William V. Pratt to William S. Sims, 1 February 1918.

Footnote 3: The asterisks indicates the place where the paragraph should be that appears below the closing.

Footnote 4: The Inter-Allied Naval Council met from 12 March to 14 March, see: Sims to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 14 March 1918.

Footnote 5: Capt. Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, chief of staff of the Queenstown destroyer flotilla.