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Lieutenant Commander Charles R. Train, United States Naval Attaché at Rome, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

Naval Attache

Telegraphic Address



19th March 1918.  

Dear Admiral,

          Your letter of February 23rd has been duly received and I indeed appreciate the extract into your usual weekly letter to Admiral Benson.1 I trust that it will bear fruit.

          Your telegram to come to London2 reached me when I did not think I could very well leave the office, but I certainly appreciate your thought of me. I shall never leave the office if I do not feel that the conditions would permit.

          There has been a shake-up in the High Command in the Italian Navy and a lot of dead-wood has been put on the shelf. Sending Cusani3 to sea in command of the fleet was a good move as he is young, active and able. He relieves the old man, Vice Admiral Cori4 that talked so much at the conference here in Rome. They have changed the Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief from Taranto to Brindisi which is as it should be, and although he leaves the battle fleet at Taranto he assumes direct charge of the Adriatic. Cusani was a great friend of mine here in the Ministry, but his duccessor [i.e., successor], Rear Admiral Triangi5 I have known for some time and I do not believe I shall lose by the exchange. I offered my services to Cone6 in order to save him sending an officer to look out for aviation matters here in Rome and I am glad to say he will not send anyone here for the time being, and I will look out for his end of the job. I suppose O.N.I.7 would have a fit if they knew that I was handling other people’s business.

          My first tug, the PENOBSCOT, has arrived, and the NAHANT is due in a few days both bringing large Italian sailing ships along with them.

          The paper has announced the second airship raid on Naples a few days ago, but this was a false alarm and although they wounded several by their own shrapnel fire, the airships turned out to be passing clouds.

          I had a talk with Brig. Gen. Peppino Garibaldi yesterday.8 He is just down from the front for a few days. He tells me all losses in artillery due to the Caporetto disasters have since been made up, but that the enemy are superior in medium calibre guns. He further tells me that the Austrians will not make an offensive before July or August. (In his opinion)

          With kindest regards to all hands,

Yours respectfully and sincerely,

                                      C. R. Train

                                      Commander U.S.N.

                                      Naval Attache.

Source Note: LTS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 23. At the top of the page is typed, “Admiral Sim’s Personal File” and the identifying numbers “1/5/6/J/Q” in columnar fashion. Following the close, the letter is addressed, “Vice Admiral William S. Sims, U.S.N./Force Commander/30 Grosvenor Gardens,/London, S.W./England.”

Footnote 1: For Sims’ letter to Train, see: Sims to Train, 23 February 1918. The letter to Benson that Train mentions here has not been located.

Footnote 2: This cable has not been located.

Footnote 3: RAdm. Marchese Lorenzo Cusani Visconti had been serving as Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff prior to his promotion.

Footnote 4: VAdm. Camillo Corsi (“Cori” is a typographical error).

Footnote 5: Rear Admiral Arturo Triangi de Maderno.

Footnote 6: Capt. Hutchinson I. Cone, Commander, United States Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service.

Footnote 7: Office of Naval Intelligence.

Footnote 8: Giuseppe “Peppino” Garibaldi, II, grandson of Giuseppe Garibaldi, one of the main architects of Italian unification.