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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations


Date May 29, 1918

To   Opnav

Prepared by A-1          No. Simben 6


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Simben 6. British Government are sending Mission to Washington consisting of Major General Brancker, Colonel Semphill and Colonel Lee, all Royal Air Force. They leave England June first with orders to report to Lord Reading.1 Not known definitely what their Mission is but suspect that they may make representations looking to the unification of the U.S.Naval and Army Air Services. Although amalgamation may be desirable at some future date, it is thought that to combine Naval Air Service with that of Army at present time could be of no advantage to us on account of present condition of Army Air Service in Europe and its relations with British Air Service. Our Naval Air Service is operating with maximum efficiency and therefore strongly recommend that no unification with the U.S.Army Aviation Services be considered at this time.2


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Maj. Gen. Sefton Brancker, Royal Air Force, Col. William Forbes-Semphill, Royal Air Force, and Col. Charles Frederick Lee, Royal Air Force. The three men made up the British Aviation Mission to Washington, under the command of the British Ambassador to the United States, Rufus Daniel Isaacs, Lord Reading.

Footnote 2: The British amalgamated their Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Flying Corps into the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918. The mission did not push the organizing principle of amalgamation on the United States at that time. R.D. Layman, Naval Aviation in the First World War, (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1996), 196.

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