Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain Charles P. Nelson, Commander, Submarine Chaser Detachment Two, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

U. S. S. Leonidas.

Base 25 [Corfu, Greece]

Oct 26. 18.

My dear Admiral

     I assure you that I felt very happy and proud when I received your splendid letter of October sixteenth about the Durazzo party,1 and to properly express my appreciation of the sentiments you set forth would certainly overtax my meagre knowledge of the English language. therefore I won’t try, but I shall always treasure your letter, and, as always, shall feel that any success I may achieve or may have achieved is due to the indoctrination I received while serving with you in the past. I have tried very hard to live up to your standards and justify the confidence you reposed in me by giving me this splendid command and hope I shall never give you cause to regret your action. It has been a real pleasure to work with these chasers, for you have never seen finer spirit under very trying conditions and they are all on their toes and full of pep. Their duty has been very trying and tedious at times due to distances and weather conditions, also lack of base facilities when in port. However never a kick. I have tried continuously to get some aggressive fighting started for them, but without much luck, as a rule. Watchful waiting seemed the order of the day. However Durazzo put new life in the whole force and they are ready for anything, even in spite of severe influenza epidemic which has practically broken up many of the chasers crews and necessitated a constant changing of the experienced personnel to enable barrage operations to go on without interruption. I know the chaser force stand very high with the Allied Forces in the Mediterranean and I am proud to say have never been called on for any duty, either with or for any Ally, that a prompt affirmative could not be given and the French C in C2 has repeatedly commented upon the fact. Your name and reputation is so high down here that it makes it all the more imperative that this forces every action shall reflect nothing but credit on its famous Commander in Chief. It makes us all feel very proud to hear your praises sung as we do continually on every hand. Once more allow me to express my deepest appreciation of your kindness and with sincerest regards to yourself and Mrs Sims, also with all best wishes for an immortal reputation, believe me ever.

          Most sincerely Yours.            

C.P. Nelson        

I am sending you one safety fork from each pattern of depth bombs dropped on the two submarines destroyed3 at Durazzo, and these are really bone fide.                   C.P. Nelson

Source Note: ALS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 75.

Footnote 1: See: Sims to Nelson, 16 October 1918. On the action at Durazzo, see: William A. H. Kelly to Sims, 4 October 1918.

Footnote 2: VAdm. Dominique-Marie Gauchet.

Footnote 3: No enemy submarines were destroyed in the Durazzo battle.