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Commander Lyman A. Cotten, Commander, United States Naval Base at Plymouth, England, to Captain Richard H. Leigh, Staff of Force Commander, Operations Section, Anti-Submarine Division

22 July 1918. 

File No. 3-978-5


My dear Captain Leigh:

          Stark1 has just told me over the ’phone that you have returned,2 and I am looking forward to seeing you down here very soon. I am sure that you can give us many pointers that will be of the greatest benefit here, and I hope you will be able to get down real soon, and that when you do come you will be able to stay for several days at least.

          I have just been informed this morning officially that Corporation Quay is to be definitely turned over to us, so now I can go ahead with certain changes that are ne cessary there to fully adapt it to our uses.

          I am also informed that the project for additional wharfage has been referred to the Admiralty. The project being to put down piling for a space of about fourhundred and fifty feet between Corpo<r>ation Quay and the Base proper. The cost of this, I believe will be about twelve or fourteen thousand pounds; but the additional wharfage is very badly needed if we are to get the 72 boats here which I hopewe are and toward which I am laying all plans. Two hundred and fifty feet of the new wharfage would be available in about six weeks. In the meantime, we can handle the additional boats by a certai<n> amount of crowding, and after we get the new wharfage, there will be no trouble in handling the entire 72 boats.

          I am still having great difficulty in getting a submarine for training purposes. I am supposed to get one now twice a week, but if it happens to be blowing a little, which it generally is, or foggy or raining hard, or any of a half-dozen things the day that the submarine is scheduled to operate, she simply says that it is too hard for her to operate and we lose another day; only we don’t lose it entirely because the Chasers go outside any way and we use a Chaser for noise maker.

          There are many things that I want to take up with you, but none of them are pressing, so I will wait until you come down. Let me know as long as possible ahead of time so I can be sure and get you a room as everything here is very much crowded.

          Accept my congratulations on the success of the Chasers at Corfu. It is splendid to have gotten a Sub so promptly.3 As you know, we have had no definite success so far, and can only console ourselves with the knowledge that since we have been here no ship has been attacked by a Submarine from Start Point to the Lizard, a region which was formerly a regular grave yard of merchant ships.

          Hoping to see you soon, and with kind regards,

I am

                             Very sincerely yours,

                                      /S/ L.A.Cotten

Source Note: LTS, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520. Following the close, the letter is addressed, “Captain R.H. Leigh, U.S.N.,/30 Grosvenor Garden,/ London, S.W.1.”

Footnote 1: Commander Harold R. Stark, Flag Secretary to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters.

Footnote 2: For the past several weeks, Leigh had been in Corfu helping to establish a division of American submarine chasers at their new base there.

Footnote 3: Though initially believing they had destroyed a German U-Boat, the submarine chaser squadron were never able to confirm the actual sinking.

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