Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, Chief of Staff, Destroyer Flotillas, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

REFER TO NO. <6024-6>

UNITED STATES NAVAL FORCES

OPERATING IN EUROPEAN WATERS,

U. S. S. MELVILLE, Flagship.

JRPP/B.

     BASE SIX.

          26 March, 1918.

My dear Admiral:

     Admiral Wemyss, First Sea Lord,1 arrived at this Base at noon on Saturday, 23 Saturday, and I was very sorry that you were not able to accompany him. On Saturday afternoon, at Admiral Bayly’s request,2 I accompanied Admiral Wemyss and himself on an inspection of the Air Station at Aghada. I had arranged a performance at the Men’s Club on Saturday Evening, and escorted Admiral Wemyss Admiral Bayly, Commodore Brownrigg, Captain Marriot3 and other members of the dinner party, which Admiral Bayly gave for Admiral Wemyss on that night, to the performance. Admiral Wemyss was greeted with cheers by the men and responded to the greeting by making a very short and neat little speech.

     Admiral Bayly informed me that he desired Admiral Wemyss to make an inspection of the MELVILLE and of such Destroyers as he desired to see, on Sunday forenoon, and accordingly Admiral Wemyss was received on board the MELVILLE at 10:45 a.m. on Sunday. He made a detailed and thorough inspection of the MELVILLE accompanied by Commodore Brownrigg and Captain Marriot. Upon completion of the inspection, I entertained the party at luncheon, having invited all members of your Staff and all Commanding Officers, and officers in training for command, who were in port. There were about thirty officers at the luncheon. After luncheon, the STOCKTON was inspected, and upon completion of that inspection, I took the party to see the Recreation Grounds which have been turned over for our use at Ringaskiddy. We found a baseball game in progress upon our arrival, and Admiral Wemyss was much interested as it was the first game of baseball that he had ever seen. Commander Bryant4 and myself were at the Railroad Station when the party left at 3:25 p.m. yesterday, Monday, to bid them good-bye.

     Admiral Wemyss expressed himself to me in very complimentary terms as to the condition in which he found the Force in general, and the MELVILLE and STOCKTON in particular. Just before leaving, he made the following signal –

     “May I express to you and all your officers and men the very great pleasure it has given me to make your acquaintance and allow me to congratulate you and them on the active and efficient part you are taking in our Naval War. Good luck to you all.” –

and when I saw him at the train, he asked me to be sure to communicate its contents to the Force, which I have accordingly done in the form of a circular letter.

     As far as I can see, both Admiral Wemyss and Admiral Bayly are very much pleased that this visit has been made, and I am convinced that it will proved to be a very good thing for our mutual activities.

     My only regret is that you were not here to have accompanied him upon his inspections and to have seen for yourself the condition of things as he found them. I think I may say with perfect confidence that the condition in which he found this Force was very satisfactory, both to him and to ourselves.

Very sincerely yours,            

JR Poinsett Pringle    

Source Note: LTS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 79. Following the close, the letter is addressed, “Vice-Admiral Wm. S. Sims, U.S.N./30 Grosvenor Gardens,/London, Eng. S.W. 1.”

Footnote 1: Sir Rossyln Wemyss.

Footnote 2: Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander, Southern Ireland.

Footnote 3: Sir Douglas E. R. Brownrigg, Chief Censor, and John P. R. Marriot, Naval Assistant to Deputy First Sea Lord, Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel, VAdm. Sir Herbert L. Heath.

Footnote 4: Samuel W. Bryant, an aide of Pringle’s staff.

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