Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain Nathan C. Twining, Chief of Staff to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Secretary of the Admiralty Sir Oswyn A. R. Murray

U.S. NAVAL FORCES OPERATING IN EUROPEAN WATERS

U.S.S. MELVILLE, FLAGSHIP.

TELEPHONE, VICTORIA, 9110                30, GROSVENOR GARDENS, 

CABLE ADDRESS, “SIMSADUS”                       LONDON, S.W.1

REFERENCE No. O-1___ <11176.>                    18 March, 1918.

From:     Force Commander,

To:       Secretary of the Admiralty,

Subject:       Convoy Routes for outward bound Convoys.

     1.   The following letter has been received from the Commander, U.S.Naval Forces in France1:-

      “The Commander U.S.Naval Forces in France is kept informed of the movements of all convoys bound for England in order that outward bound convoys from France may be routed clear of them.

     In view of the instructions which have been received to dispatch empty troop and store ships Westward with as little delay as possible, these Westward bound convoys cannot be sailed on regular schedules, but must be dispatched as soon as escorts are available after ships are ready to sail.

     In order that these convoys may be routed clear of the outward bound convoys from England it is requested that information be forwarded as to the movements of these outward bound convoys in a manner similar to that now in force for convoys bound for England.

     Messages have been intercepted which would indicate formation of H.E.convoys.2 No information is at present received from the British Admiralty as to their routes”.

     2.   At a conference with Admiralty officials it was arranged that the Senior Naval Officer in France stationed at Brest3 would be given the routes of all inbound convoys, and that when convoys were ready to be sailed from French Atlantic ports a tentative route would be cabled to me and checked on the Admiralty chart to ascertain whether the route was clear of all convoys.

     3.   As no regular convoys have been established on the French coast other than the Verdon convoy, and as there is great pressure to escort out empty troop transports, the method arranged would result in considerable delay, particularly as the exact date of readiness of the transport is not known until a few hours in advance, and if destroyers are available, as frequently happens, one or two or more transports are immediately given escort and sailed to the westward.

     4.   Information is requested as to whether it is practicable to furnish the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in France with the routes of outward convoys.4

N C Twining   

Captain U.S. Navy,

Chief of Staff,

Signed for Vice Admiral Sims

in his absence

Source Note: DTS, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/1621. The lines below Twining’s signature are a stamp. The letter is on printed stationary.

Footnote 1: RAdm. Henry B. Wilson.

Footnote 2: An H. E. convoy would indicate homebound to England.

Footnote 3: Capt. Henry H. Hough.

Footnote 4: On 23 March, the Admiralty replied that “arrangements have been made, as requested.” Ibid.

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