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

U.S.S. MELVILLE,         

11 March, 1918.   

My dear Admiral:-

          I should have written you before to express to you my thanks for all your kindness to me while I was in London, but I am not only head over heels in work since my return, but have also been endeavoring to cure a first <rate> straight cold, and my general temperament and disposition has not been of the best. I enjoyed every minute of my visit in London, and of course I have you to thank for it.

          I have made arrangements with Miss Voysey1 to be allowed to copy all the messages that went back and forth on the memorable occasion, and will forward them to you shortly.

          Admiral Jellico<e>2 arrived on Thursday last, and I think that he left much pleased with his visit. He came aboard here at 11:00 o’clock on Friday and inspected the MELVILLE from truck to keel. He was very complimentary concerning the general condition and cleanliness, and told me that she was quite the most advanced ship of her type of which he had any knowledge. He then lunched with me and met the skippers of all destroyers in port, also Price, Sypher and Todd.3 There were about 25 in the party and I rather think it pleased him, After lunch I took him on board the CALDWELL and turned him over to McCandless4 who took him all over the ship and inspected all her featureswith the greatest care. Admiral Jellico<e> was very much impressed with the system of director firing as installed on board the CALDWELL, and told me afterwards that he would like to send a Captain<,> (whose name I did not catch) now serving at the Admiralty<,> to look over the CALDWELL. I told him to send his Captain along and I would look out for him and see that he had the chance to find out all he wanted. From the CALDWELL we went to the Barracks which he also inspected, and from there I took him home to tea. In the evening he, together with Admiral Bayly and Miss Voysey, <w>sent to the performance at the Men’s Club and enjoyed it tremendously. Some of the little arrangements that we made on account of this visit were amusing, and when I next see you I will tell you of them. In the meantime, you may or may not, recollect, that in answer to a telegram sent from London by me I was informed that I would be met at the Queenstown Station at noon on Tuesday, 5 March. This was maneuver A – there were others.

          I am in receipt of a latter from Hanrahan5 stating that he has had a conversation with you regarding giving up the SANTEE and returning to duty with the destroyers. I think we would be well advised to turn the SANTEE back and bring her officers and crew back to their employment <in> to the destroyer force for the following reasons:

(a) The usefulness of the SANTEE type is past so far as the “Q” ship game is concerned.

(b) Hanrahan is of the above opinion and desires to return to the destroyer service.

(c) We are losing the services of those officers and men for a considerable period of time, during which time they are doing no useful work whatever.

(d) When the ship does start work again, we cannot hope for any better luck then we have had in the past, because the game is up, so far as that type of ship is concerned.

          The whole truth of the business is, that we got started too late in the “Q” ship game and we have never yet paid any dividends on our investment. The SANTEE was torpedoed on 28 December, and even assuming that she will be ready on 1 July, the officers and men of her crew will have then been immobilized for six full months. Hanrahan does not wish to go home, but wished to return to the destroyer service, and under the circumstances there is no doubt in my mind but what it will be beneficial both to the destroyer service and for Hanrahan for him to do so.6

          Mr. Henry <Sheehan> Scheen of the Atlantic monthly turned up yesterday. I had him to lunch, found out what he wanted to do, obtained permission from Admiral Bayly to send him out on a destroyer, and will probably send him to sea for a trip on the BENHAM in the near future. He loaned me a book that he has written and which I read with diminishing interest; I hope for the best.

          Your letter regarding Doctor James <Cannon> Cameron and Doctor E.J.Moore, officers of the Anti-Saloon League of America, was duly received and I will endeavor upon their arrival so to handle the matter as to give them every facility for <such> an investigation as they desire to make, and at the same <time> to express to them views similar to those which you write me you have already communicated to them.7

          Everything is moving along satisfactorily I think, and now that the good weather season may be said to be approaching, I hope that we will soon get some drafts of men for training at the Barracks and proceed with that work.

          You will excuse this typewritten letter as I have so many to write just at present that I cannot get around to them in long hand.

          Thank you again for your kindness, and believe me.

Very sincerely yours,  

JR Poinsett Pringle

Source Note: TLS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 79.

Footnote 1: Violet Voysey, niece of Adm. Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander, Southern Ireland.

Footnote 2: Former First Sea Lord Adm. Sir John R. Jellicoe.

Footnote 3: Cmdr. Henry B. Price, Commander, Dixie; Cmdr. Jay H. Sypher, Commander, Queenstown, and Cmdr. Chapman C.Todd, Jr., Commander, MacDougal.

Footnote 4: Lt. Cmdr. Buron McCandless.

Footnote 5: Cmdr. David C. Hanrahan, Commander, Santee.

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