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


     Cablegram sent :    9 January 1918.    Serial No. 2794.

Prep. by  CS.                          NCT.1

18 ADR       

Very Secret.

2794. Captain Leigh returned from two weeks work with listening division in Channel. His reports very favourable to American devices. All American equipment used throughout the test without damage and without necessity using spare parts. All English Fish hydrophones were out of commission before end of period of operations. Detection by American devices superior to that by English devices. The maximum possible number of submarine chasers equipped with listening devices and manned by personnel trained for this work should be placed in service in war zone without delay. This is a matter of the highest importance warranting extraordinary effort. Admiralty attitude toward listening operations not entirely satisfactory, as some lukewarmness is exhibited and indisposition to perceive superiority of American devices over the Fish Hydrophone. This feeling not shared by officers at sea directly charged with work, but in view of existence in Admiralty I deem it most important that Captain Leigh remain here to inject the necessary energy into the operations, and I have therefore directed him, Lieutenant W.R. Carter, enlisted personnel, and civilian experts Scott and Nelson, to remain.2 Ensign W.W. Welch and civilian experts Eveleth and Collins will return to United States at once.3 Scott and Nelson will return within a month. I earnestly request that the Department insist on the most energetic action in the matter of dispatching the one hundred and ten footers to this side, allowing no difficulties to stand in the way.4


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 337. This document represents a summary of the report that Captain Richard H. Leigh, Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering, submitted to Sims on this same date. For a copy of this, see, Leigh to Sims, 9 January 1918, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 337. For further detail on the proposed tests upon Leigh’s arrival in London, see: Leigh to Sims, 7 December 1917.

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

Footnote 3: William W. Welsh (“Welch” above is a typographical error), C. E. Eveleth, and E. L. Nelson.

Footnote 4: For the reply to Sims’ requests, see: William S. Benson to Sims, 14 January 1918.

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