Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain Henry B. Price, Commander, Dixie, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

U.S.S. Dixie,

          November 9, 1918.

My Dear Admiral Sims:-

                        Your two letters of November 3rd, are received.1 I am grateful to Mr. Crane2 (which seemed to be the signature on the check) and you for the check for five Pounds. In point of welfare the Dixie is so very much better off than refugees in France, that we thought that five Pounds could quickest and most effectively get to work for welfare if it was spent for the alleviation of conditions of the French women and children in the areas from which the Hun has just been driven. Accordingly I have handed it over to Miss Voysey3 for the Queenstown War Work Fund for the above purpose, and trust Mr. Crane would not disapprove.

          While you were in Paris I got word to stand by for eventualities involving distant cruising and major actions by the destroyers. The last organization promulgated had become obsolete due to changes and detachments; therefore I at once made out and promulgated a new one, and included in it the PARKER and AYLWIN, since the previous secret orders on the subject contemplated sending all one-thousand ton destroyers hereabouts in case the eventualities should arise. This Flotilla Organization was made out in accordance with standing “Flotilla Doctrine” with regard to rank, and the characteristics of the vessels seemed in accord with this. However, I received a telegram criticising my action and disapproving it, and directing the interchange of the BALCH and STOCKTON in the organization. My information shows the contract speeds of the BALCH and STOCKTON to be <about> the same, and their tactical characteristics about the same. I presume the disapproval and order to change the organization was based on the assumption that the new destroyers from No.69 have the same speed and tactical qualities.

          We have notification from Lord Decies4 that nine prominent Editors of religious journals in the U.S., are coming here to see the Station next Tuesday. Admiral Bayly, with his usual whole-hearted cordiality, will have three of them at Admiralty House throughout their stay here, and all of them for tea and for dinner on Wednesday. I shall invite them all to luncheon on the MELVILLE and take them to the show at the Men’s Club Wednesday night, and show them all over our Station while here, as customary with our visitors.

          We continue fortunate in general health conditions here, and also fortunate in having the White Point Hospital. It is nearly filled, mostly with mild cases of influenza. We are making a general practice of sending all influenza cases to the Hospital immediately, both to prevent its spread and to afford the best possible treatment and comfort. Here, as elsewhere, this influenza has been unaccountably erratic. For instance, the STOCKTON particularly has made a specialty of airing bedding, thorough ventilation, and all known precautionary measures against influenza, yet she came in the other day with two officers and fifteen men with influenza, all taken within a couple of hours, while at sea. All were immediately sent to Hospital. The TERRY had about fifty-five cases, despite fumigation and special care. All were sent to Hospital, and I think all are mild. On <others> one of the other destroyers there ha<ve> been very few or no cases.

          It does look as though the Germans are about down and out, judging from newspaper accounts, especially relative to the mutiny in the Fleet. However, we are carrying on here in all respects exactly as though there was no sign of the end. It may prove unnecessary to continue building the Barracks at White Point, for example; but until there is something more definite it seems discreet to carry on and be prepared for any eventualities.

          We have figured out that Pringle5 should be back here Monday or Tuesday. I hope we may see you here sometime before very long.

Very sincerely yours,            

H. B. Price            

<Three of the important yeoman in Flag Office sick, but two are coming along all right. The other is expected to get well.>

Source Note: TLS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 79.

Footnote 1: Neither of these letters have been located.

Footnote 2: R. Newton Crane, President, American Society of London.

Footnote 3: Miss Violet Voysey, the niece of Adm. Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander, Southern Ireland.

Footnote 4: John Graham Hope Horsley de la Poer Beresford, 5th Baron Decies.

Footnote 5: Capt. Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, Chief of Staff, Destroyer Flotillas.

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