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Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Captain Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, Commander, Destroyer Flotilla, Queenstown

23rd October, 1917.    

My dear Pringle,

          I have had a long talk with Sir Douglas Brownrigg – Chief Censor – who incidentally is a very important personage in the Admiralty – a typical American – and who has co-operated with us from the very beginning perhaps better than anyone else whom we have encountered.

          Brownrigg seems to think that you are making a mistake in the stand that you have taken regarding three male entertainers. It seems that these entertainers have been all up and down the Western Front, on the front on the Balkans and in fact, as far afield as Egypt and Mesopotamia. Their general direction has been under the supervision of a prominent actress – whose name has slipped my mind but whose work in this line has been so extraordinary that she was one of the first ladies to receive the new decoration for women called “The Order of the Empire” or something like that.1

          Brownrigg says that he doesn’t see any possible trouble or objection to having them comedown the same as they go to the front and elsewhere. Of course, Admiral Bayly2 may offer some objection but perhaps if you are converted to the idea yourself, you might likewise convert him.

          Brownrigg also says that if we are to utilise the services of these entertainers we will have to follow more or less the procedure adopted elsewhere in respect to them. That is, as I understand it, he refers to the fact that they are paid for their time while on any designated trip and that therefore you could have them appear every night for a sufficient number to make their trip worthwhile.

          I am further inclined to agree with Brownrigg but I don’t propose in any way to dictate to you as you are the man on the spot and your final decision will be mine.

          I will say this, however, that Brownrigg is an excellent officer and gentleman upon whose judgment you may safely rely. He is a real sailor and what we call at home “a good scout”. He is showing an excellent spirit in wanting to help us out in any way and I have expressed my deep appreciation of his action.

          Whatever you do remain cheerful,

Very sincerely,

Source Note: TL, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 79. Following the close, the letter is addressed, “Captain J.R.P.Pringle, U.S.N./U.S.S.MELLVILLE.”

Footnote 1: The award to which Sims is referring is the Order of the British Empire, which was established in 1917. The "prominent actress" Sims refers to is probably Lena Simpson, who was named an Officer of the Most Sacred Order of the British Empire for her work as an “Organizer of Entertainment for Troops,” Supplement to the London Gazette, 24 August 1917.

Footnote 2: VAdm. Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander, Naval Forces, Southern Ireland.

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