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

COPY.                  -  S E C R E T  -                 (1)

Admiral’s Office, Queenstown.

23rd October, 1917.


              I enclose herewith a Resolution1 read to me in my office by the Lord Mayor of Cork in the presence of the other signatories, except Sir Stanley Harrington. I asked Captain Pringle of my Staff to be present.2

  2.-          After the reading of this document I asked the questions herewith attached,3 and received the answers written near them. I then informed the Lord Mayor that under the conditions I was unable to remove the restrictions that Officers below the rank (or relative rank) of Lieutenant Commander, and men were forbidden to visit Cork or its suburbs.

  3.-          I told the Lord Mayor that the last paragraph of the Resolution would be brought to the notice of the U.S.A. Ambassador in London4 in order that he might carry out the last part of the paragraph in such a way as he considered fit.

  4.-          I was asked by the Lord Mayor whether the men might be allowed to visit Cork during daylight hours; but replied that I could not consider such a proposition in which it would appear that the men were free to spend their money by day and then required to leave the town before dark.

  5.-          I have sent a copy of this letter and its enclosures to the British Admiralty and to Captain Poinsett Pringle of the “MELVILLE” for the personal information of the Officers in command.

I have the honour to be,     


Your obedient Servant,  




Vice-Admiral W.S. Sims,

  United States Navy,

       30 Grosvenor Gardens,

          L O N D O N.


October 22nd 1917.               


  Vice-Admiral Sir L.Bayly,

                   K.C.B., C.V.O.

  The Admiralty House, Queenstown.


          We the undersigned appointed at an influential meeting of citizens have been requested by them to wait upon you to express our deep regret at the unseemly and disgraceful conduct of some persons who attacked the Sailors of our gallant ally – The United States of America, and caused disturbance in the streets of our City.

          The persons responsible for this most regrettable conduct do not in any way represent the feelings and opinions of the respectable inhabitants of Cork.

          We deeply feel and protest against the slur cast upon the fair name of our City by such conduct.

          We respectfully ask you to permit the sailors of the U.S. Navy to renew their visits to Cork.

          We also desire to ask you to convey our expression of deep regret to the Admiral, Officers and men of the U.S. Navy, and through them to the American Nation.

          We have the honour to be your obedient servants –

  (Sgd)   T.O.Butterfield    - Lord Mayor of Cork

W.F. O’Connor       - High Sheriff of Cork

Daniel J. Lucy      - Chairman, Harbour Board.

A.R. MACMULLEN      - President Chamber of

                       Commerce and Shipping.

Alfred G. Dobbin (Knt)   -  Merchant.

Stanley Harrington (Knt)  - Merchant

John J. Hirgan      - Solicitor and Coroner.

John Day            - Merchant.

Questions asked by the Lord Mayor of Cork in

The presence of Captain Pringle, U.S.A. and the deputation.


Does this memorial include a request for British Sailors to be allowed to revisit Cork ?

                                    A. Yes.

Are the persons responsible for the most regrettable conduct still in Cork and at large ?

                                    A. Yes.

Is the notice that appeared in the papers requesting respectable people to be indoors by 8 p.m. still in force ?

If not , why has it not been publicly abrogated ?

A.  Yes – it is still in


Does the Lord Mayor guarantee that the British and United States’ sailors will not again be insulted or attacked in the streets of Cork ?  Does he speak in the name of all the inhabitants ?

                                    A. No! he cannot guarantee


Was the riot in Cork the night after the Convention left expected ?  If so, why were not steps taken to stop it ? If not, it may happen again ?

A.  It was not expected, and

it may happen again.

Is there a possibility of the King, the British flag, or the United States’ flag being hissed or otherwise treated with contempt at cinematographs or elsewhere in Cork ?

A.  The Lord Mayor was unable to say.

Is it true that Sinn Fein Volunteers assembled in Cork last Sunday contrary to the law ?

                                  A. Yes.

Is there any objection to publication of memorial if such should be desired ?

                                   A. No.

(Sgd) Lewis Bayly.


                        Commander in Chief.

23rd October 1917.

Source Note: Cy, UK-KeNA, Adm. 137/1410. With this packet of documents is a cover sheet noting that copies of this packet was sent to the British War Cabinet and the Chief Secretary for Ireland. Also in the packet is a letter to Bayly from the Secretary of the Admiralty Oswyn A. R. Murray dated 29 October 1917 conveying “their Lordships” approbation of Bayly’s actions.

Footnote 1: The resolution is attached. For more on the problems in Cork, see: Joel R. Poinsett Pringle to Sims, 5 September 1917 and Sims to Josephus Daniels, 11 September 1917.

Footnote 2: Capt. Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, the senior American officer at Queenstown.

Footnote 3: A copy of the questions follow this letter and the resolution.

Footnote 4: Walter Hines Page.

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