Rear Admiral Dudley R.S. De Chair to First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John R. Jellicoe
From Washington Date 5.2.1917
To Admiralty Recd. 5.15 pm
Following from Admiral for First Sea Lord.
Six destroyers leave for Berehaven this week six next week and eighteen are not being ordered to (?Seattle) to get ready to proceed as soon as possible.1 This will make total of 36. Two destroyer tenders MELIVLLE and DIXIE sail with them one of which will act as flagship of Admiral Sims.2 It is hoped six trawlers will also start over as soon as they can get them. French Commission much disgruntled at these concessions to us.3
Source Note: CCy, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/655.
Footnote 1: The destroyer divisions were prepared for “distant service” at various navy yards on the east coast of the United States. See: Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to Henry T. Mayo and various Division Commanders, 1 May 1917; and Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to Navy Yard Commanders, 7 May 1917.
Footnote 2: Mellville became the flagship for the American destroyer squadron, but was used by Capt. Joel Roberts Poinsett Pringle, the commander of American forces at Queenstown and chief of staff to British Adm. Sir Lewis Bayly, the commander at Queenstown. RAdm. William S. Sims continued to operate out of headquarters in London.
Footnote 3: American naval leaders feared this would happen. See: De Chair to British Admiralty, 27 April 1917. In his diary entry of 1 May 1917, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels wrote that as VAdm. Paul Louis Albert Chocheprat, the admiral heading the French delegation, called on Daniels to say good-bye he added “bluntly” that he hoped American “good sentiments would be followed by acceding to their [i.e., French] claims for practical help.” DLC-MSS Josephus Daniels Papers, Diary, Roll 1. In the end, American destroyers and small anti-submarine warfare craft were sent to France as well. See: Bernard A. de Blanpré to French General Staff, 6 May 1917.