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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Commander Frank D. Berrien

June 15th. 1918.

My dear Berrien,

          Your letter of June 13th. from Liverpool has just reached me.1 As I assume that youare sailing before a reply can reach you. I will address this care of the Navy Department, hoping it will reach you without delay.2

          It is very gratifying indeed to have such a letter as you have written me. I consider that we have been fortunate in having the services of a number of our old experienced torpedo men on this strenuous job over here. You know of course that you have been one of the most successful of the old Flotilla people.3 Just this morning I have received a letter from Admiral Bayly4 in which he says. “I am writing a service letter in favor of Berrien who has just left; to recommend him. Out of the thirty-four troop convoys we have escorted he has had command of the escort of about twelve and has done it very well indeed. In fact I think that the U.S. destroyers over here deserve well of their country as having escorted thirtyfour troop convoys without losing a single ship, or a life as far as I remember.”

          I hope that you will promptly get a new vessel on the other side and bring her back on the job.5 It is true that the unexpected may happen and peace terms may be under discussion before many months are passed. Also this war may continue for a very long time yet. As it is always best to be prepared for the worst, I hope that our people at home will make all their provisions upon the assumption that the war is going to last a long time.

          It is hardly necessary to say that I envy you greatly the opportunity of seeing your family. It is a great deprivation to me to be away from Mrs.Sims6 and our fine band of youngsters. I hope you will succeed in getting to Newport and seeing them all and giving Mrs. Sims a first hand account of our doings over here, as there is of course very much that it is not proper to put in writing.

          Please be so kind as to present my best respects to Mrs. Berrien,7 and believe me,

Always very sincerely yours,      

Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 49. Address below close: “Commander F.D.Berrien. U.S.N./c/0 Navy Department/Washington. D.C.”

Footnote 1: Berrien’s letter has not been found.

Footnote 2: As part of the Queenstown patrol, Berrien had commanded the U.S. destroyers Nicholson and Wiles and was being rotated to the United States to take command of one of the new destroyers then under construction.

Footnote 3: Berrien has served under Sims as commander of the destroyer Trippe when the latter was commander of the U.S. Destroyer Flotilla. “Berrien, Frank Dunn,” Modern Biographical Files, Navy Department Library.

Footnote 4: Adm. Sir Lewis Bayly, R. N., Commander-in-Chief, Southern Ireland.

Footnote 5: Berrien did not receive a new combat command before the war ended. Just before the November 1918 armistice he served as captain of the hospital ship Comfort on a cruise from New York to Brest, France. Immediately after the armistice, he became the naval port officer at Bordeaux, France. Ibid.

Footnote 6: Anne Hitchcock Sims.

Footnote 7: Mary Elizabeth Whittelsey Berrien. Ibid.

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