Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Vice Admiral Lewis Bayly, R.N., Commander, Naval Forces, Southern Ireland
November 3rd. 1917.
My dear Admiral,
Your letter of the 31st.Oct.just received this morning.1 I have seen Admiral Jellicoe2 and the anti-submarine people concerning the AVONIAN. They tell me that she is expected to be ready in about a month. She is now being fitted out by an Admiralty crew but they will arrange to purchase her (she is a chartered vessel) and turn her over to us.
They will let me know very soon when she will be ready and I will communicate this information to you so that Hanrahan3 can take on the job and see to the completion of her fitting out.
I quite agree with you that the vessel should proceed to Queenstown and finish up the polishing part of her training there.
I have been partly incapacitated for the last three days with something the matter with my talking machinery – this to such an extent that I could not speak above a whisper. I was in perfectly good health in all other respects and was not the least bit unhappy remaining in my quarters and reading and so forth, in order to avoid using my voice. I am about all right again.
During this enforced rest I finished reading the first volume of Thomas Moore’s “History of Ireland”. This goes back to the very beginning of more or less authentic Irish history. I have found it very interesting, though there are tedious parts where the author takes great pains to explain the value of various historical data upon which he bases his conclusions.
If someone would take this book and re-write it, leaving out the discussion of all controversial matters, it would be just what the average person would like to read. However, I have been immensely entertained by the evidence this book contains of the long training in warfare and rebellion which has produced the Irishman of the present day. The book is in four volumes, and I will send you in a day or so, the first volume, to be soon followed by the second.
My loss of voice prevented me going with the Ambassador on a trip to Edinburgh.4
I had fully intended to take advantage of your kind invitation to pay another visit to Queenstown during November, but I fear that this may be impossible due to the fact that there is to be a conference either here or in Paris, about the 15th.inst.5 The delegates to this conference, including one of the Ambassadorial rank, one flag officer, one General, and of course a number of strikers, are now on the way. You will doubtless hear about them soon if you have not already done so. Just how long this conference will last or how long our officials will stay here after the Conference I do not know. All I know is that I will have to be in attendance upon them while there are here, and this may prevent my visiting you during November, or at least not until the latter part.
Very sincerely yours,
Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 47. Address below close: “Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, R.N./Admiralty House,/Queenstown.”
Footnote 1: See, Bayly to Sims, 31 October 1917, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 47.
Footnote 2: First Sea Lord Adm. Sir John R. Jellicoe.
Footnote 3: Cmdr. David C. Hanrahanwas subsequently given command of the mystery ship Santee. He later served as commander of the Northern Bombing Squadrons..
Footnote 4: Walter Hines Page, United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Footnote 5: For more on this conference, see: Sims to Sims, 1 November 1917.