Speech Given By Rear Admiral Philip Andrews, Commander, United States Naval Base, Cardiff, Wales at a Luncheon for the Lord Mayor of Cardiff
U.S. Naval Forces Operating in European Waters
U.S. Naval Port Officer <Base>, Cardiff
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Here is a copy of a short speech I made today at a Lord Mayor’s lunch1 – a farewell to his friends before going out of office.
CARDIFF LORD MAYOR’S LUNCH OCTOBER 14, 1918.
Admiral Andrews: It is a very great pleasure to be at this lunch to do honor to the Lord Mayor near the close of his successful tour of office. It is a very great pleasure and honor to be in this country doing what we can to bring the war to a successful conclusion. The signs look good, and must be grateful to all Britons who have so nobly borne the brunt of the struggle in so many different parts of the world. We began with few vessels and few men. They have increased, and are still increasing at a very rapid rate due to the wisdom of your government in furnishing vessels for transport. But the main value our troops and vessels had for some time was their injection into a war worn area, of our optimistic spirit, our enthusiastic energy.
This is characteristic of our people, due to the sunshine we are blessed with. They said in France that our men’s boyish enthusiasm and eagerness to get at the Hun, threw a wave of hope and high spirit into our war worn British and French Allies. This infusion of optimism and energy has had no small part in recent successes.
We hear much of co-operation; and we are told that our vessels and our troops are co-operating. It is a poor attempt at a word to describe what has really been done. Our vessels have been under the orders of your Naval Commanders. Our troops have been put here and there in the line where they were needed. They have only recently been gathered together under our own Generals because of the great number we now have.
Our destroyers have done some good things and made some fine rescues. Working together with your own, each has spurred the other on to greater heights of achievement and daring.
Only the other day occurred one of the finest pieces of brave seamanship I every heard of – an apparently impossible feat.
I refer to the rescue from the “Otranto” of well nigh 500 souls who must have perished but for their rescue by a British Destroyer. The seas were enormous, going alongside seemed impossible. The Otranto’s Captain2 warned the destroyer Captain3 not to add to already certain disaster. But this brave lad had the true British spirit.4 Never give up – When anything is to be done; do it, and don’t talk about it. Wonderful piece of work.
Of course we can’t all work and fight together and then go to our several houses and forget about it. We are bound by the sacrifices we make together, to continue to work and fight together in peace as we have done in war.
We are told we are to have a League of Nations following the Victory and Peace which will come in time. In that League those Nations which have furnished the most and suffered the most, will lead.
The most powerful nations in moral and physical resources will guide that league of nations and furnish most of the force by which world peace must be preserved. This fact will make British and American union <unity> more necessary, and more certain.
Understandings between nations and individuals must be kept alive by communication, by interchange of visits and ideas.
Above all we must have a common standard of ideals, of justice, of action. The leading nations will keep Hun tendencies under control, and eventually perhaps educate them in to better ways.
Peace is coming – some time. But I would remind you that our President|5| said the other day, that nothing had occurred (and he referred to the German peace note) which gave the slightest reason for relaxing our best military efforts. On the contrary in his Liberty Loan speech, he urged the biggest response to the loan possible. He asked a big over-subscription. He said now more than ever was the time to show what our people felt about the war.
It would seem that the Germans are worse off than we thought; but for peace or a discussion of peace, we are bound to enforce guarantees which Germany may not yet be willing to concede. It is clear though that we are definitely approaching peace. It is only a question of time when Germany will surrender without conditions.
When Peace comes we will have great problems to handle which will take fine qualities of patience, justice and forbearance. Here we must have British and American <unity> Union, and it will surely come about that the great English speaking peoples will hand in hand lead the League of Nations along the path of peace; with malice toward none, and justice and charity for all.
F I N I S.
Source Note: DT, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 49.
Footnote 1: Amos Child Kirk.
Footnote 2: Capt. Ernest Davidson.
Footnote 3: Lt. Francis Craven, Commander, Mounsey.
Footnote 4: Otranto was the flagship for Convoy HX-50, transporting troops from New York to Queenstown. While in the northern channel of the Irish Sea, the convoy encountered a strong storm on 4 October that got even stronger over the next several days. By 6 October, the storm prevented accurate navigation and, as a result, Otranto collided with Kashmir, another troopship in the convoy. The high winds and heavy seas caused by the storm prevented the launching of any lifeboats. Nevertheless, Capt. Davidson decided not to abandon ship just yet in the faint hope that some passengers and crewmen might be able to swim ashore once the ship got closer. About a half hour after the collision, the British destroyer Mounsey appeared after searching for the convoy during the night. Despite Davidson's order to stand clear, Lt. Craven positioned his ship on Otranto's lee side to allow the men aboard the sinking ship to jump aboard. Several times the two ships struck, causing considerable damage to Mounsey. Nonetheless, Craven kept his small ship close, rescuing 300 American troops, 266 officers and crewmen of Otranto, one YMCA morale officer and 30 French fishermen, although many more men had been washed from the decks or crushed between the two ships. Despite the weight of the rescued men and the damage sustained during the rescue, Mounsey reached Belfast safely. For more on this incident, see, R. Neil Scott, Many Were Held by the Sea: The Tragic Sinking of HMS Otranto (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012), 85-100.
Footnote 5: Woodrow Wilson.