Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Secretary of the Navy Josephus M. Daniels to Lieutenant Commander John H. Newton, Commander, Destroyer Division Five

May 18 1917

S E C R E T

 

 To: Commander, Division Five, Destroyer Force,

          Atlantic Fleet, U.S.S.PATTERSON, Flagboat.

 

   Subject:-Protection of commerce near British and French coasts.

     1.   The British and French Admiralties have requested the cooperation of American destroyers in the protection of commerce near the coasts of Great Britain and France.  U. S. Destroyer Division Eight is now operating in British waters.1  Destroyer Division Seven sailed from Boston for Queenstown 7 May.2  Division Six sailed from New York for Queenstown 15 May, via Halifax.3  U.S.S. MELVILLE left Boston for Queenstown 11 May.  U.S.S.MAUMEE is under orders to be in St. Johns, Newfoundland, 24 May to fuel Destroyer Division <5>.  Latest reports indicate St. Johns free from ice.

     2.   Your mission is to assist the naval operations of Entente Powers in every way possible.

     3.   Division Five Destroyer Force proceed St. Johns, Newfoundland, fill with fuel and, in company with MAUMEE, continue route to Queenstown, Ireland.  Replenish fuel from MAUMEE at sea.  Proceed to position Latitude 50 North, Longitude 20 West, to arrive at daybreak, thence to Latitude 50 North, Longitude 12 West, thence to Queenstown.  When within radio communication of the British naval forces off Ireland call G C K and inform the Vice Admiral at Queenstown by British General Code of your position, course, and speed.4  You will be met outside of Queenstown Harbor.  Upon arrival at Queenstown report to Rear Admiral W. S. Sims, U. S. Navy, for duty.5

     4.   Fuel will be furnishe<d> by MAUMEEat St. Johns and replenished by MAUMEE when at least 500 miles on your course from St. Johns.6  Base facilities will be furnished by the British Admiralty.

     5.   Report your arrival at, and departure from, St. Johns and the expected date of your arrival at Queenstown.  Make no reports to the Navy Department direct after arrival at Queenstown.  Copy of order by Train Commander to U.S.S.MAUMEE furnished Commander Division Five, Destroyer Force.

Josephus Daniels

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG45, Entry 517B. Document was copied to “Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fl. [Admiral Henry T. Mayo]/Commdr. Destroyer Force [Rear Admiral Albert R. Gleaves];/Comdg. Officer of each vessel/concerned.” Document has designator “Op-10” on the top left corner. Sections in triangular brackets were added in later in pencil by an unknown individual.

Footnote 1: Division Eight arrived in Queenstown on 4 May 1917 and began operating on 8 May 1917.

Footnote 2: Division Seven arrived in Queenstown on 17 May 1917.

Footnote 3: Arrived at Queenstown 24 May 1917.

Footnote 4: Similar instructions were given to the previous divisions including the use of the wireless signal “GCK” to notify British warships of their arrival.  V-Adm. at Queenstown was VAdm. Sir Lewis Bayly, RN.

Footnote 5: RAdm. William S. Sims was in Queenstown when these orders were issued, but he departed from Ireland on 28 May and returned to London before the division arrived on 2 June.

Footnote 6: The first four divisions of destroyers were newer, larger “1000-tonner” destroyers with sufficient fuel capacity for the trans-Atlantic voyage. Division Five was made up of older and smaller 742-ton Paulding-class destroyers nicknamed “flivvers.” Due to their limited fuel capacity (roughly 20-40 thousand gallons less than the larger destroyers), MAUMEE was required to refuel the vessels while underway so the Paulding-class destroyers could complete the trans-Atlantic voyage.

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