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Commodore Guy R. Gaunt, British Naval Attaché at Washington, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.


RECEIVED                                                July 5, 1917. From: Navy Department

Via Commodore Gaunt Via Admiralty,

for  Vice-Admiral Sims.          

          Cypher L.

     Very Urgent. 179.                                                                From Commodore Gaunt for V. A. Sims.

          Eight patrol boats under Captain Fletcher due to arrive French coast 5th July.1 10 more yachts will sail about 15th July to join him. 5 coal burning destroyers PRESTON type will sail in short time to base temporarily on Azores.2 7 vessels DENVER class detailed to assist British merchant convoy operations from this side. Notice will be given as far in advance as possible of dates of departures of troop ships and convoy. 12 trawlers and 1 yacht under Captain Magruder will leave for European Waters about 10th August.3 Department is strongly impressed with the necessity for adequate anti-submarine patrol in and off entrance to Gibraltar.4 10 vessels BIRMINGHAM CHESTER SALEM SACREMENTO YANKTON MACHIAS CASTINE PADUAH WHEELING MARIETTA are available to send across if considered that they can be of value. Could they perform sufficiently valuable service to warrant sending over? Where would they base? What duty would they perform? Would they require coal from this side? Department is prepared to supply 2 or 4 14 inch guns similar to those on NEW YORK as per Admiralty request.5 Guns can be delivered ZT slides at once. So far no intimation as to any definite plans for future operations of naval forces. In view of requests made and our efforts to respond must insist that any plans operations under consideration be submitted for our study.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG45, Entry 520.

Footnote 1: Capt. William B. Fletcher, Commander, Special Patrol Squadron in France.

Footnote 2: These Smith class destroyers were approximately ten years old in 1917 and were the last class of destroyers fueled by coal. The vessels were Flusser, Lamson, Preston, Reid, and Smith. Ships Data November 1916: 63-84.

Footnote 3: Capt. Thomas P. Magruder.

Footnote 4: Regarding department views on Gibraltar, see: Pratt to Sims, 2 July 1917.

Footnote 5: This document has not been found.