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Captain Reginald R. Belknap, Commander, Mine Squadron One, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

U.S.S. San Francisco

28 July 1918.

Dear Sims:

     Yours of the 25th came today.1 Thank you for letting me know so soon. It is a relief to have it off my mind, especially not to have it there while running another excursion.

     I had already sent in a report from Steams,2 also a report of my own procedure. I have not been conscious of any neglect or faulty judgment in the matter; but I know that even bad luck may be looked on as an offense; and, in any case, to present one’s procedure in a proper light is a task involving more labor and time than I cared to spare from the work in hand.

     This incident had not disturbed me much, however, though of course very annoying. Now that you have written, I shall no longer think of it.

     I am very glad of the prospect of further mining which you mention.3 Our mine is a good one. So far, its mechanical preparation has been below an acceptable percentage; but its first trials have shown that it will function as intended in all respects, when it is properly handled, and I believe its record would compare favorably with any new design.4

     The Mine Squadron is improving all the time. All hands are very keen, and the spirit and discipline throughout are excellent. We could run an excursion every week if the mines could be provided.

Sincerely yours              

R R Belknap            

Source Note: ALS, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 48.

Footnote 1: See: Sims to Belknap, 25 July 1918. The incident that Belknap discusses herein is detailed there.

Footnote 2: Capt. C. D. Steams, commander, Roanoke. His ship was one of the two that ran aground in the incident referred to here.

Footnote 3: In his letter of 25 July, Sims wrote that there was a good possibility that the Navy Department would approve a continuous minefield between Norway and the Orkney Islands.

Footnote 4: About five per cent of the mines had been exploding prematurely but experiments were underway to reduce that percentage. Northern Barrage, 110-11.