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 Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander, Southern Ireland

Admiral Sims

Personal File

London, S. W.     

July 18th, 1917.

My dear Admiral,

          Your letter of the 16th. Just received, and I am sorry that my letter to Pringle has caused you any anxiety and uncertainty about the organization to which I referred therein.

          So let me reassure you at once by saying that the organization to which I referred has nothing at all to do with the duty of the destroyers at Queenstown or with any isolated duty that a number of these destroyers might be called upon to do elsewhere in the ordinary operations against submarines.

          My letter to Captain Pringle referred exclusively to the kind of organization which we have “up our sleeve” in case the whole destroyer force or a larger portion of it might be required in some future naval battle, or that might be requi<r>ed to operate in connection with our battleship fleet in case it comes to this side.

          Such an organization of course existed on the other side, but this was necessarily broken in order to send over at once the vessels from the various divisions that were immediately ready for service. I think it necessary to designate the vessels that will go in the various divisions in the kind of organization to which I referred, but, as state above, this would not interfere in any way with the use to which the destroyers are being put.

          I think it would be a very excellent scheme for Pringle to be put on your staff as you suggest. Without having formally done so I have always considered him in that light. I will however him a letter and tell that he is to consider himself a member of your staff in addition to his duties as Commanding Officer of the MELVILLE.1

          The question of sending four American destroyers to operate in the Channel is still “in the air”. I hardly think though it will be done, considering the present requirements and those that will be put upon the destroyers in the near future in handling convoys. I will show your letter to Admiral Jellicoe this evening.2 I leave with him for a consultation with Admiral Beatty3- I assume upon the general naval situation. I will be back here Friday morning.

Very sincerely yours,

Source Note: LT, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 22. Below the close, the letter is addressed, "Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, R.N./Admiralty House,/Queenstown,/Ireland. This letter is part of an ongoing conversation between Sims, Bayly and Capt. Joel R.Poinsett Pringle, Chief of Staff, Destroyer Flotillas, regarding the organization of the combined British and American vessels into the Grand Fleet and proper cooperation and coordination between naval officials on both sides. Sims makes repeated references to the details of these letters throughout this document. For more on this topic, see: Bayly to Sims, 16 July 1917, and Sims to Pringle, 10 July 1917.

Footnote 1: See, Bayly to Sims, 20 July 1917, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 47.

Footnote 2: First Sea Lord Adm. Sir John R. Jellicoe.

Footnote 3: Adm. Sir David Beatty, Commander-in-Chief, Grand Fleet.

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