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Captain Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, Commander, Destroyer Flotilla, Queenstown, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters


[Queenstown, Ireland] 23 November [1917]

My dear Admiral:-

          Cone,1 has just arrived and gave me your greetings for which I thank you. He said you told him to tell me that you would come down here before long and I hope you will as we would all be the better for a sight of you and you would enjoy seeing the spirit of pep that now pereades [i.e., pervades] this gang. Young Carpentder’s exploit have put them all on edge2 and well it might, for it was a very fine performance all around. Berrieu’s performance, I think was also pighly [i.e., highly] officer like and proper –3 he signaled to Fanning to pick up the prisoners and take them into port and then escort on with his convoy and never made a single other signal on the subject. With the Arvonian coming on just at this moment you can imagine the added impetus it gives to the spirit.4 When you see Admiral B. you must be sure and tell him that you hear the United States Navy gave him his first salute as an Admiral.5 Last Saturday he went down to the boone6 in his barge to see the Bridge leave as she passed out with her crew drawn up at quarters she gave him four ruffles and femishes7 and he told me that it was very appropriate that the first salute should have come from Our Service.

          Mr. Ralph Paine has been a great success and his first article is, I think, very good. He has done considerable work in the Department, came highly recommended and I think he will do us justice and do it in good style.8 From what you wrote me some time ago, it looks as though Admiral Benson would not get down here and though we are all sorry that he cannot make it, we understand that both you and he have plenty to do.9 Please make my respects to him. We have not had any calls for sugar from you lately so presume that your stock is holding out well. We have plenty on hand in case you should need it. The two recent articles in the Telegraph about the “Tonnage Question” seem rather disturbing but from such correspondence of your as I have seen, they must be true.10 Daniels sends you his regards.11 He is a corker, full of good judgment and can do more work than any man I ever saw. Please give Twining my regards and ask him where he keeps his clothes these days.12

               Hope to see you here soon,

Very sincerely yours,


Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 79. Note at the top of the page: “Admiral Sims’ personal files.” Identifying number in columnar fashion in top right-hand corner: “1/3/J/D.”

Footnote 1: Capt. Hutchinson I. Cone, Commander, United States Naval Aviation Forces, Foreign Service.

Footnote 2: “Young Carpentder” was Lt. Arthur S. Carpender; the exploit was the capture of U-58 by Carpender’s U.S.S. Fanning, which Carpender commanded. See: Carpender to Sims, 18 November 1917. By “on edge” Pringle meant filled with enthusiasm and a desire to emulate.

Footnote 3: Pringle meant Berrien; Lt. Cmdr. Frank Berrien commanded the U.S. destroyer Nicholson, which helped capture U-58.

Footnote 4: Arvonian, renamed U.S.S. Santee, was a mystery or Q ship that the British turned over to the Americans at Queenstown to use.

Footnote 5: Adm. Lewis Bayly, R.N., the British commander at Queenstown, was promoted to the rank of Admiral on 23 October 1917.

Footnote 6: This is a typographical error. According to Joseph K. Taussig, Bayly and his party went to the boom protecting Queenstown harbor to view the department of U.S.S. Bridge on 16 November. “When we passed the barge at the boom, Riddle [commander of Bridge] had the bugle sound four flourishes. I think this is the first time Admiral Bayly had been saluted with four flourishes as him commission as Admiral has come recently.” RNW, Joseph K. Taussig Papers, Mss. Coll. 97, Naval Historical Collection.

Footnote 7: Presumably, ruffles and flourishes; ruffles are played on drums; fanfares on bugles.

Footnote 8: Ralph D. Paine worked for the Committee on Public Information and the U.S. Navy. In 1918 his essays were collected in a book, The Fighting Fleets; Five Months of Active Service with the American Destroyers and their Allies in the War Zone (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1918).

Footnote 10: The Telegraph was a leading British newspaper. For Sims’ views on the “Tonnage Question” see: Sims to Josephus Daniels, 15 November 1917.

Footnote 11: Cmdr. Joseph V. Daniels, Sims’ liaison officer with the destroyer flotilla.

Footnote 12: Sims’ chief of staff Capt. Nathan C. Twining.

Footnote 13: Presumably, the typist who prepared this copy misread Pringle’s signature; it is Poinsett, not “Pournell.”

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