Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander, Naval Forces, Southern Ireland, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters
My dear Admiral
Thank you for your letter and enclosures, I should imagine that greater regularity in the intervals between troop convoys leaving the USA for France and between empty ships returning to USA and in the number of ships in each convoy - would help very considerably in France, and if done it would of course then be better to base the escorts on Brest. Of that I am sure; it is the irregularity that would lead to waste.
Let me interject a remark on the enclosed paragraph A, not for the sake of argument, but to correct a wrong impression. The sloops are not fast enough to escort these big ships. Out of 20 destroyers to [i.e., who] will be refitting That’s all.
There is one kind of convoy used here that is very likely not known by your people or by the Admiralty. It is that the Irish steamers can hardly be got out to go to Liverpool or Fishguard from Cork or Waterford unless they are convoyed. They carry cattle and are therefore valuable cargoes. We have practically no trawlers, and therefore sloops or destroyers have to do it.
By my dear Admiral we all have difficulties and they are all got over somehow, so when you are ready go ahead with your rearrangement and bear in mind the following suggestions. Do not take Melville or Dixie from here for Brest if you can help it. but get your new repair ship over to help the Prometheus. Both me and D will have ample work to do after the alteration, at present they are overworked.
Get the mine destroyers from here to Brest in two batches if possible so as to enable me and D to tune them up and get their papers etc. in order thus enabling Brest to have them in good order. To get mine ready at the same time as the ordinary repairs of every day life would test me and D heavily and probably cause the work to be <not> too well done.
I heard from Pringle today that Monsegur [i.e., Monseigneur] Connolly was coming here. In order to keep him out of the Irish R C atmosphere, I arranged for him to come up and stay at Admiralty House alas the train arrived but no Mosgr perhaps he will turn up later.
It is like to prove a thorny question for you but one thing is certain the Irish R. C. Bishops will do all they can to get a man sent here who is of their way of thinking. while they will openly pretend that they have no interest whatever in the matter. Such a man would be a real firebrand, and probably lead to trouble later. In this matter Cardinal Vaughan would probably be a useful adviser, but you know best. The sooner you come here the more pleased the niece and I will be; the garden is beautiful and you will be very welcome as always.
Yours very sincerely
[P.S.] I would like to put in a word for the PATTERSON; she is in excellent order Lewis is quite 100% and I would very much like to have him back here. His engine room staff must be excellent by the way they have kept her going.
(Q) “Although Troop Convoys are our special care, there are other to be escorted with sufficient strength of escort, - namely, the LEVIATHAN, OLYMPIC, MAURETANIA and AQUITANIA.”
A If 12 destroyers were transferred to Brest, there would be left at the moment 24 destroyers at Queenstown and 6 sloops which are employed to meet the big ships and the convoys assigned to Queenstown. Even with the reduction of 3 destroyers contemplated for the Mediterranean and the PATTERSON due to go home on the 4th June, there would be left 20 destroyers and 6 sloops, which are sufficient for the convoy work now assigned to Queenstown, although there would be a slight reduction in the number of destroyers available for hunting.