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Vice Admiral Henry F. Oliver, Chief of War Staff, to Commodore Guy R. Gaunt, British Naval Attaché at Washington, D. C.

TELEGRAM.            No. <49>


To Naval Attaché


It is noticed that Hospital units numbering a few hundreds each are being sent to this country from the U.S. in various passenger ships.1 You should represent to the Navy Department that the Admiralty has not always been informed and consequently it is difficult to arrange protection in the danger zone. It is suggested that it would be more convenient and add to their Security if these units were collected and embarked in one ship and the admiralty given timely warning so that arrangements can be made to fix a rendezvous where destroyers can meet and escort to destination. If desired the ship might be able to join a convoy of troopships from Halifax.2


27.5.17 [i.e., 27 May 1917]

Source Note: Cy, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/655.

Footnote 1: As soon as the United States entered the war, the British Army made an urgent plea for American medical support. They requested sixteen base hospitals and additional medical staff to assist their forces. Quickly six U.S. Army base hospitals were mobilized and sent to France. Presumably, these are the units Oliver is discussing. Jonathan H. Jaffin “Medical Support for the American Expeditionary Forces in France During the First World War”(M.A. thesis, US Army General Staff College, 1990), 95-102.

Footnote 2: The American base hospital units that followed the first group remained attached to American forces so presumably they did travel to Europe in American troopships. Ibid.