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 the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

Information Copy.

Cablegram Sent      Oct. 13, 1917.

To Opnav Washington          Serial No. 889

Via Q 24              Prep. by Roys   Appvd. by N.C.T.1

 File No.

VERY SECRET.

     889. Class B.2 Torpedoed and sunk October 11th L474 Latitude 48,47 N longitude 4,34W October 12th C271 latitude 51,30 N longitude 5,05 W C299 Latitude 51,30 N longitude 5,05 W Sunk by gunfire September 29th Percy B. latitude 45,00 N Longitude 11,00 W October 9th M163 in Luce Bay previously reported on October 10th as sunk.3 Submarine sighted October 10th latitude 43,24 N Longitude 2,49 W October 11th latitude 53,08 N longitude 1,43 E latitude 48,35 N longitude 5,8 W October 12th latitude 50,26 N Longitude 3,35 W Latitude 54,30 N Longitude 8,20 W.

     Class. A. British Destroyer PARTHIAN reports ramming and dropping depth charges on submarine about one hundred miles south of Cape St. Vincent . Submarine damaged and probably sunk.4

     Class B. Admiralty Queenstown report Sloop BEGONIA which has been missing for some days must now be regarded as lost.

     Class C. Norwegian steamer BYGDONES was captured on Oct. 4th in 34 N 14 W. Vessel may now be operating with S/M or may attempt to get to Germany with prize crew. The description of BYGDONES is as follows: Norwegian BYGDONES (ex-ODYSSEUS  ex CASTELMOOR) Length 306. Beam 41'7" Depth 21'2" Tonnage 2849 gross 1831 net. Masts two steel raking aft wooden topmasts to cut off. Funnel one raking aft painted black blue between 2 white bands, letter H painted white inside Poop & forecastle. Barely visible above bulwarks which run fore and aft. Hull painted black, Bottom red. Bridge single; chart house underneath. Houses painted white. Engine casing painted dark brown. Companion on poop, doors aft painted white. Forward of this is a teak skylight. Awning stanchion painted white. 23513.

Sims

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Someone went through and crossed through several misspelled words and handwrote the correctly-spelled word either on top of the misspelling or as an interlineation. Where the original misspelling could be read, the editors have included it as a cross through followed by the corrected spelling in angle brackets; where the original misspelling is unreadable, the editors have included only the corrected version in angle brackets.

Footnote 1: Lt. Cmdr. John H. Roys, who had been sent from Washington to serve as a liaison officer with British Naval Intelligence. “N.C.T.” was Sims’ Chief of Staff, Capt. Nathan C. Twining. “Q. 24” was presumably the code used to transmit this message.

Footnote 2: In the report of 6 October, Sims explained that Class B meant approximate location while Class A was exact location. Class C is presumably a captured vessel.

Footnote 3: Luce Bay is in Wigtownshire, southern Scotland.

Footnote 4: While several German U-boats were sunk around this time, none was sunk by depth charging. Kemp, U-Boats Destroyed, 35-37.

Footnote 5: H.M.S. Begonia, which had been converted to a Q-ship (disguised merchantman) sank in a collision with a German submarine. “Flower Cless Sloop,” Battleships-Cruisers.co.uk, Accessed on 27 September 1917, https://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/flower.htm.

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