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Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves, Commander Cruiser and Transport Force, to Naval Transports


U. S. S. LEVIATHAN, Flagship.

6 November, 1917.

From:     Commander, Cruiser Force.

To:       Naval Transports.

SUBJECT: AEOLUS – Malicious damage to steering engine.

     1.   The following letter from the Commanding Officer of the AEOLUS1 is quoted for your information:-

“1.  Before leaving Morse Shipyard, South Brooklyn, New York, the steering engine was in excellent condition, having been inspected by the ship’s force after successful trial in the presence of the company’s officials.

2.   In route from Morse Shipyard to Robbin’s Dry Dock on October 26, 1917, the steering engine was operated and thoroughly tested out, and worked excellently. On October 29th, in the forenoon, the ship’s officers were notified by Mr. Cliff of the Morse Company2 of a statement he overheard in a crowd of Robbin’s workmen that something was wrong with the steering engine of this ship. An inspection was at once made and the following condition found: The holding-bolts were improperly secured, some of the bolts being bent, and the nuts of the bolts were badly chipped so that a wrench could not be used on them. The cover of the engine casing was removed and numerous pieces of glass, brass and steel chippings, and brass screws were found in the oil reservoir at the bottom of which the oil pump is located.

3.   Robbin’s Dry Dock workmen to the number of about 20 were in the steering engine room raising the rudder for examination. Secret Service men were furnished by the Commandant, Navy Yard, New York, and are conducting an investigation.

4.   If the steering engine had been operated in the condition found just prior to undocking it would have been wrecked.

/s/ C. S. KEMPFF”. 

Albert Gleaves.         

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document reference: “D-5-7.”

Footnote 1: Lt. Cmdr. Clarence S. Kempff.

Footnote 2: Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company, New York, NY.