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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Rear Admiral Henry B. Wilson, Commander, Gibraltar Patrol Squadron

CABLEGRAM SENT  October 13, 1917.

To: Comrolfor, Gibraltar1   Serial No. G 101.

Via N.C.B.10.D   Prep. by C. of S.   Appvd. By N.C.T.2

File No. 25-1-3F

Copies to: C. of S. J.V.B.3

101.— I have under consideration the plan of assigning you to the command of forces operating on the French coast and transferring Rear Admiral Fletcher to your command. This matter has not been taken up with the Department and will not be until I hear from you. Cable me whether or not the change of duties would be agreeable to you and what members of your staff you would wish to transfer with you. You would have Headquarters on shore at Brest.4 18013


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. There are initials, presumably of the typist, in the upper right-hand corner. These are “JWB.”

Footnote 1: That is, Commander Patrol Force, Gibraltar.

Footnote 2: “C.of S.” was Sims’ Chief of Staff, Capt. Nathan C. Twining, who was also the approving officer.

Footnote 3: “J.V.B.” was Sims’ aide, Cmdr. John V. Babcock.

Footnote 4: At Fletcher’s court of inquiry in March 1920, Sims testified:

I do not remember the details of the transaction with Wilson, as to whether I wrote to him before that [the middle of October] or not. One of my staff told me that as early as the 1st of October I wrote to Wilson, but I cannot remember the letter nor have I been able to find it. Anyway he was telegraphed to before the middle of October, and the action was taken in ordering Admiral Fletcher home by reason of his failure to do the best with the forces available in the escorting out of the so-called Antille convoy, and he was not sent down to Gibraltar, because manifestly it would have been impropriety under the circumstances to send him to a base under one of the allies. Fletcher Court of Inquiry, DNA, RG 125, Entry 30, Box 246, p. 1736.