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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval forces Operating in European Waters, to Captain Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, Senior Officer Present, Destroyer Flotilla


October 17th. 1917.

My dear Pringle,

     A telegram has just been received from the Navy Department approving our recommendation that our people man a mystery ship. This vessel is one of about 2800 tons, now being repaired at Devonport. She is one of Campbell's1 old ships.

     I will take the matter up with the Admiralty immediately and will write you officially forwarding all the information as to the conditions under which we take over the vessel.

     In this official communication you will be asked to send me the names of the officers who volunteer for service on the vessel. From these names I will designate the officers and issue their orders.2

     Of course I want to do the latter in accordance with advice from you and Admiral Bayly,3 but as I wish to assume the full responsibility for this choice, I think it should be understood that officially I will make the selection myself.

     The official communication above referred to will follow as soon as we can get it ready. In the meantime the information that we are going to man the vessel can be communicated to the Flotilla and the volunteers asked for. This will save time. We want to save time because I am informed by the Admiralty that, as the vessel will be ready about the end of this month, it would be desirable for the crew to be sent over before that time, not only in order that they may became acquainted with her, but also in order that they may suggest any changes which they think best.

     Please ask Admiral Bayly if he does not think it would be a good scheme if we could get Captain Campbell to give the crew of this vessel the benefit of his extended experience either before the vessel leaves Devonport or after she arrives at Queenstown. . . .

     . . . .I am delighted to learn by a telegram this morning that the CASSIN has arrived in port and that the casualties are not worse than at first reported. I have written a note to Vernou.4

Very sincerely yours,

WM. S. Sims

Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 79. Addressed below close: "Captain J. R. P. Pringle, U.S.N./U.S.S. MELVILLE./Queenstown. Ireland." Document Reference: “D8860.”

Footnote 1: Capt. Gordon Campbell, R.N. For more on the mystery ship, see: Pringle to Sims, 21 October 1917.

Footnote 2: See: Sims to Lewis Bayly, 17 October 1917.

Footnote 3: VAdm. Lewis Bayly, R.N.

Footnote 4: Lt. Cmdr. Walter N. Vernou, commander, U.S.S. CASSIN. Sims’ letter to Vernou has not been found, but he summarizes its contents in a letter to his wife. See: Sims to Anne Hitchcock Sims, 21 October 1917.