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 Admiral William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations

Action Copy.

Cablegram Sent     Oct 24, 1917.     

To Opnav Washington.                            Serial No. 1041

Via N C B A 18             Prep by J.V.B. Appvd. by N.C.T.1

Sent                         Initials      File No.

VERY SECRET

Copies to: J.V.B.

1041. Proceeding Paris to meet Wilson and establish Cone (stop)2 Absence together with administrative demands on staff will delay usual general reports (stop) Marked increase in tonnage losses past week (stop) Too early to determine whether increase actually due to change in enemy policy (stop) Principal increase in losses is in Mediterranean English Channel and Yorkshire Coast (stop) Unusual number large submarines probably four in Channel probably due to heavy weather outside (stop) Losses in Channel principally outward bound through channel to rendezvous (stop) A number of losses in convoy particulars not received (stop) Losses Yorkshire coast due primarily to heavy weather restricting air craft patrols and transfer aircraft to France as result popular demand for reprisals against air raids over England (stop) This last very secret (stop) Administrative demands on staff growing daily (stop) Impossible to use Twining as planned for cooperation with Operations and planning division of Admiralty (stop) Request detail of Commander to relieve Twining of general charge office administration which cannot be neglected (stop) Suggest Sexton, Hepburn, Jessop, Morton or Trench. (stop)3 Full report necessities for other increases in staff will be forwarded next mail. 06424

SIMS.        

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. The date code, just before Sims’ signature, is a stamp.

Footnote 1: “J.V.B.” was Cmdr. John V. Babcock, Sims’ aide who handled intelligence; “N.C.T.” was Sims’ Chief of Staff, Capt. Nathan C. Twining.

Footnote 2: RAdm. Henry B. Wilson had just been transferred to Brest from his command at Gibraltar in order to become the Commander, Patrol Squadrons, French Waters. Cmdr. Hutchinson I. Cone had recently been installed in France to oversee matters concerning aviation. For further information about the arrival of both these men, see: Sims to Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, 19 October 1917.

Footnote 3: Lt. Cmdr. Walton R. Sexton, Cmdr. Arthur J. Hepburn, Lt. Cmdr. Earl P. Jessop, Cmdr. James P. Morton, and Cmdr. Martin E. Trench. Sims’ request was approved, as Sexton became Assistant Chief of Staff working directly under Twining; Sims, Victory at Sea, 249-250.

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