Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Forces Operating in European Waters to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Cablegram Sent Novr 2, 1917.
To Opnav, Washington Serial No. 1219
Via: N C B 10 ADR Prep. by GLS Appvd. by NCT
Copy to GLS
1219. Your 925. Admiralty Committee has investigated bases for Northern mine barrage and Admiralty’s full report on suggested organization of bases for assembling American mines is being forwarded. Plan calls for U.S. base at Invergordon handling two thousand mines per week and at Inverness handling fifteen hundred. Combined personnel required from U.S. is approximately one hundred and eighty two mechanics, six hundred and twenty skilled laborers, six hundred and ninety laborers, forty clerks and for dock working parties, twenty five boatswains mates, twenty five cox[s]wains, four hundred seamen and ordinary seamen. Most important that all these be enlisted men to insure military discipline and control and to avoid labor complications here. Commanding officers at depots should be rank of commander and each should have fire [i.e., five] or six other officers as assistants. Large distillery buildings will be taken over but there will be small amount new construction required shops must be fitted up. Scarcity machinery, cranes, etc. in this country would make a very welcome arrangement if U.S. could furnish some of these. At least one of officers sent for conference mentioned Opnav 925 should have had experience in manufacture mines in U.S. Navy Yards as Naval Constructor Knox has had. Some of the Depot staffs should come at same time as officers who return after conference so they will be in touch with work from beginning. Intended ship some mines by LOCH ALSH and rail via Dingwall but ships for Kyle must not exceed two hundred eighty feet length nor twenty feet draught. Other mines will come via Fort William and by barge through Caledonian Canal. British Rear Admiral will be senior officer in general charge joint operations these and British bases in Firth of Forth. Admiralty desires verify immedi<a>tely understanding that sinkers as well as mines will be furnished from U.S. Furnish information concerning general character eight mine layers sailing 1 February and whether anyother craft will be used for mine laying. Would also like to learn approximate number and kind of mine carriers. Will reply concerning OLD COLONY later. For localities mentioned see B.A. charts 115, 2182 B. 2167, 2635, 2676, 3547.
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Document is an: “Action Copy.”