Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander, Coast of Ireland, to United States Navy Department

TELEGRAM            OUT

     NO. 40

To N.A. Washington1                  Date 25.5.17 [25 May 1917]

Sent 1100 [11 A.M.]

L2

     40. Following from Admiral Queenstown for information of Navy Dept.

          begins:-

     There is evidence that enemy was informed concerning recent movements of U.S Naval Forces. On day 1st. Division Destroyers was due Queenstown3 entrance was found mined for first time since 7th.March last. Torpedo was fired at 2nd.Division outside areas in which S/M’s were then assumed to be working and proved dangerous to two destroyers.4 Prior to U.S.MELVILLE arrival, Berehaven was mined for first time during war.5 One possibly 2 destroyers located ?off Kinsale to-day 24th.on approach of 3rd.Division.6

     Admiral Sims7 concurs and suggests that a copy of this telegram be sent to Washington.

                              ends.

                         J.R.J.

Source Note: Cy, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/655. There is a columnar list (without punctuation) at the bottom of the cable copy giving who in the British Admiralty received this cable. That list includes: “1st. L; 1st S.L.; D.O.D; D.A.S.D; D.I.D.” That is First Lord of the Admiralty (Sir Edward H. Carson); First Sea Lord (Adm. Sir John R. Jellicoe); Director, Operations Division (RAdm. Thomas Jackson); Director, Anti-Submarine Division (RAdm. Alexander L. Duff); and Director, Intelligence Division (Capt. William R. Hall).”

Footnote 1: Commo. Guy R. Gaunt, British Naval Attaché at Wasington, D. C., who delivered the cable to the U.S. Navy.

Footnote 2: This means that cipher “L” was used to encode this letter.

Footnote 3: Division Eight was the first destroyer division to be sent to Queenstown (Cobh); it arrived there on 3 May.

Footnote 4: Division Nine was the second destroyer division to arrive, arriving at Queenstown on 17 May.

Footnote 5: Melville arrived on 22 May. Berehaven was a small port on the southern tip of Ireland on Bantry Bay and some seventy-five miles from Queenstown. It was used as an advance base for the force stationed at Queenstown.

Footnote 6: Presumably, Bayly means submarines. Kinsale is a port on the southern coast of Ireland in County Cork, some 20 miles west of Queenstown. The third division of USN destroyers arrived at Queenstown on 24 May. See, Diary of Joseph K. Taussig, 24 May 1917, RNW, Joseph K. Taussig Papers, Mss. Coll. 97, Naval Historical Collection.

Footnote 7: VAdm. William S. Sims, Commander, United States Destoryers Operating from British Bases, also served as the American liaison to the British Admiralty. In his diary entry for 25 May, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels wrote: “Sims wired Germans knew of our torpedoes [i.e., destroyers] going over & had mined the harbor where they had their base. Necessary to be vigilant to keep movements secret. This shows it to be needed.” DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, Diary, Roll 1.

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