Skip to main content

Captain Henry W. Grant, Deputy Director, Operations Division, British Admiralty, to British Admiralty


     I attended this conference1 and the decisions arrived at were that about 600 troops per day could be handled, or about 14,000 per month. Hutted accommodation can be provided in England for about 28,000 troops after the 4th November in certain rest camps. The difficulty arose entirely in the Cross Channel Service, which it was pointed out could not be increased beyond the present numbers unless the demand for Libertymen was reduced,2 or extra shipping for this purpose provided by the United States.

     I also mentioned that more escorting destroyers would be required. It is very doubtful whether the port facilities at Havre and Cherbourg could be increased, in which case I suggested that an additional route could possibly be found, say between Plymouth and Brest, or Weymouth and the Gulf of St.Malo, but this would entail the extra ships to be provided by the U.S. The opinion appeared to be that only certain very large ships might come to this country, and the number of troops would not be abnormal and could possibly be arranged by stopping or reducing the leave service for a day or two.

     Lord Derby3 said that he would forward his proposed reply to the First Lord4 for concurrence.



27 OCT. 1917  

Source Note: D, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/655. The two lines below the signature are stamps. In the left margin of the last paragraph is a handwritten asterisk with a corresponding note at the bottom of the memorandum that reads: “* his Office say this was not intended.”

Footnote 1: On this conference, concerning the possibility of housing American troops in England, see: William S. Sims to William S. Benson, 28 October 1917.

Footnote 2: By “Libertymen,” Grant was referring to British soldiers being brought to England from the front lines for leave.

Footnote 3: Edward G. V. Stanley, Earl of Derby was Secretary of State for War.

Footnote 4: Presumably, the First Lord of the Admiralty Sir Eric Geddes. In the end, the Americans did not house significant numbers of troops in England.

Related Content