Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Admiral Lewis Bayly, Commander, Naval Forces, Southern Ireland

November 22nd. 1917.

My dear Admiral

          Your telegram concerning Mr.Paine1 has just been received and replied to. I am sorry that I will not be here next week to see Mr.Paine and his articles. I understand he represents the NEW YORK EVENING POST. That is the paper of the highest literary merit with us, and I would always feel sure that any of their representatives would be very fine men. I am glad to know that you approve of what Mr.Paine has done in the way of articles, and I have not the slightest doubt that there can be any objection at this end of the line. The Chief Censor2 is very well disposed towards that sort of thing. As he always asks us to look over articles before they come to him, I think it would be well for Mr. Paine to see Captain Twining3 and let Capt.Twining assure thecensor that the articles are all right.

          I have just written a personal letter to Mr.Daniels4 explaining to him that it was very difficult to do business with such a conceited and bad manneredperson as Conolly,5 the correspondent of COLLIERS WEEKLY. He passed through here the other day like a bull inside a china closet. He has absolute confidence in his ability and in his own judgment and he has the manners of a drunken Gloucester fisherman.

          I am very sorry indeed to hear of the loss of the trawler. The only neice6 mentioned it in a letter which I have just received. It is very admirable indeed the way these men stand up under the grilling and dangerous work they have to do. When this war is over and their deeds come to be written up they will furnish a fine record of the fighting quality of the Anglo-Saxon.

          We are having considerable trouble on the French coast, and are in considerable anxiety about the safety of the vessels that we have to convoy out of the French ports. Some of the big transports that have been discharging troops in Brest will have to be convoyed to a British port for coal. A considerable number of supply vessels are now on the way, and they must be gotten safely off the coast. Of the destroyers we have at Brest now one of them has been in collision and will not be repaired for some time, and another is not very reliable.7 I think therefore that I will have to order one of the flivvers now at Queenstown to Brest. Her place will be taken by the Duncan, and that will leave you with 35 destroyers. Admiral Benson8 has telegraphed to send the MANLEY as soon as possible. She is one of the new boats with a continuous sloping deck, and as it is desirable that her sea keeping qualities be tried out off the coast of Ireland, I think I will transfer to her as soon as she arrives for one of our most experienced captains and let the MANLEY’S present captain take his boat. This appears to me about the only practical way to get as as soon as possible a comparison of the sea-keeping qualities of the two types of boats. This comparison is desirable for the possible benefit it will be in making certain changes in the design or equipment of the large number of new destroyers that are being built.

          We are doing all that we can and Admiral Benson is helping us, to expedite the departure of the new destroyers from the United States. I am sure we can depend upon Johnson, Taussig and Vernou9 to get their boats out here with the least practicable delay.

Very sincerely yours,        

Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 47. Addressed below close: “Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly./Admiralty House,/Queenstown.

Footnote 1: Albert B. Paine.

Footnote 2: Brig. Gen. Frank McIntyre, U.S.A.

Footnote 3: Capt. Nathan C. Twining.

Footnote 4: Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels.

Footnote 5: Christopher P. Connolly.

Footnote 6: Miss Violet Voissey, niece of VAdm. Lewis Bayly, R.N. The letter has not been found. Three British trawlers were sunk off the coast of Ireland in November 1917. Deliverer on the 3rd, Thuringia on the 11th, Morococala on the 19th. "Morococala," Uboat.net, Accessed 2 November 2017, https://uboat.net/wwi/ships_hit/4252.html; “British Naval Vessels Lost at Sea: part 1 of 2,” Naval History Home Page, Accessed on 2 November 2017, http://www.naval-history.net/WW1LossesBrRNA-L.htm.

Footnote 7: The two destroyers that returned to the United States in November of 1917 were the Perkins and the Walke. See: Taussig Diary of 17 November 1917.

Footnote 8: Adm. William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations.

Footnote 9: Lt. Cmdr. Alfred W. Johnson returned with the Kimberly, Cmdr. Joseph K. Taussig later commanded the Little, and Lt. Cmdr. Walter N. Vernou later commanded Sigourney. DANFS, and Josephs K. Taussig Diary of 1918, RNW, Joseph K. Taussig Papers, Mss. Coll. 97, Naval Historical Collection, Box 6.