Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Rear Admiral Mark L. Bristol, Commander, Submarine Chaser Detachment, Plymouth, to Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

U. S. NAVAL FORCES OPERATING IN EUROPEAN WATERS,

U. S. NAVAL BASE 27,

c/o G. P. O. London.

28 October 1918.        

Vice Admiral W. S. Sims, U.S.N.

     U.S.Naval Forces Operating in European Waters,

          30 Grosvenor Gardens, London S.W. 1

My dear Sims:

              Your letter of the of the 25th instant has been received.1 I will bear in mind the information in regard to the vessels you mentioned. I will determine how much truth there is in the reports and certainly stop, as far as it is possible, any misconduct.

              There was so much for me to get acquainted with down here, I did not feel that I could run away for the ceremony last Saturday. It was a great disappointment to me, for I am very fond of the Thomas’. I suppose the whole thing was a grand success. I see the Department turned down my request for Kincaid.2 I am not surprised at this though I am disappointed.

              I find everything in fine shape down here but there are not enough officers, especially experienced officers to run this game. There is no one down here that is suited for a personal aid besides, there is no one available. In view of this fact would you be willing to send a cablegram something along the following lines--“It is requested the Ensign C.B. Judge,3 be ordered to duty as personal aid <on> Rear Admiral Bristol’s Staff. This request is made because there is no officer available for this duty, Ensign Judge has had experience with Sub-chasers and further, is a Reserve officer and is <of> close English descent, all mak<ing> him particularly fitted for this duty”.

              There is required at this station, a good officer to take charge of the repair work. The Captain of the HANNIBAL4 now does this work and is doing it excellent<ly> but he needs an assistant. There is, at home, an old N.N.V. officer who was with me on the OKLAHOMA and is now on sick leave. He will be available for duty the last of this month. He is a wealthy man and in civil life owns and operates his own manufacturing plant. He was connected with the Naval Militia for a long time so is fairly familiar with naval methods. We were expecting to have him succeed the Chief Engineer of the OKLAHOMA. I have just had a letter from him and know he would like to come. He is fitted for shore duty but I am quite certain he will not be able to do sea duty. I give you all the facts in order that you may see that my request for him is reasonable. Therefore, would you send a cable something along the following lines:--Quote-“It is requested that Lieutenant J.H. Steedman, USNRF be ordered to duty at Base 27. This request is made because it is believed he will not be able to do sea duty and is <especially> amply fitted to take charge of shop and repair work urgently needed at the base”.

              At the present time, Judge is in command of a Sub-chaser at home and one that I do not believe is going to be sent abroad. I feel that these requests are reasonable and I have made them for that reason and also because they do not take regular officers or officers that could fill important billets at sea. Further, I feel that they could fill the jobs here very satisfactory<ily.>5

               I received some letters from Helen which were probably helped along by Mrs. Sims.6 She has evidently been using this route for some time. In view of this fact would you be good enough to let me know if you have received all your letters regularly because I am afraid some mail sent that way was lost on the OTRANTO.

              It was a great pleasure to see you again for a short time and I will hope to see you again in the near future, but at present there is lots to keep me busy down here while I get acquainted with the job.

              With the best <regards> of wishes, I am,

                             Sincerely yours,

                                  Bristol

Rear Admiral Mark L. Bristol, U.S.N.

Source Note: LTS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 50.

Footnote 1: This letter has not been subsequently located.

Footnote 2: Midshipman Earle H. Kincaid.

Footnote 3: Cyril D. Judge, U. S. N. R. F.

Footnote 4: Cmdr. Charles S. Joyce.

Footnote 5: Sims agreed to Bristol’s request, although with the end of the war imminent, Lt. James H. Steedman never received orders to report for duty at Plymouth.

Footnote 6: Sims’ wife, Anne Hitchcock Sims.

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