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 Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander, Southern Ireland

              October 2nd 1918

My dear Admiral,

     Your letter of the 30th just received.1 I was glad to get the only Pringle2 permission to go with the First Lord.3 When I asked the permission the First Naval Secretary4 replied, much to my amusement, that Pringle would make the thirteenth member of the party, and would I therefore send another officer to make them fourteen. Of course I did so. I hope this expedition of the First Lord will prove successful. It has to do with an agreement as to both our military and merchant building program. I think we may be sure that Pringle will come back on time and resume his former duties. His going with the recommendation of Admiral Mayo5 will practically assure this.

     I have telegraphed to Washington explaining how useful some additional submarines of our ‘O’ and ‘E’ classes would be. I am assured by Constructor Land, who has recently come over from the other side, and who makes a specialty of submarines, that these boats are really efficient. I think the more submarines we can send out after the Hun submarines the better. There is nothing they fear more than the presence of enemy submarines in their operating area. Today there are no less than seven submarines in the latitude of Brest and between longitudes 9 and 12. The Admiralty intends to base six submarines on Falmouth and keep three in the area of this concentration until it is broken up. They are only waiting to make an agreement with the French, as these submarines were allocated by agreement to a certain position in the Channel.

     I quite agree with you that we should have more experienced officers for our chasers. I think I told you that I had applied for twenty-four such officers, and I have written some pretty drastic letters protesting against the experience of officers being in proportion to the displacement of their commands and not in proportion to the importance of their duties.6 Whether this will have any effect or not I do not know.

     I am in entire agreement with you as to the triple turrets. These turrets are no more efficient than the double turret when everything works successfully, that is, when there are no misfires or other delays. If there are any such delays they immediately become quite inferior to the double turrets.

     You may be sure that I will try to pay a visit to Queenstown in October If I can get away. Just now, and for the past couple of months, there has been a rather continuous flow of principle dignitaries. The last one to come through was the Assistant Secretary of War, Mr. Ryan,7 who is specially charged with trying to straighten out our Air Service tangle. I wish you could meet this man. I have seldom been so much impressed at first sight. He is one of the handsomest men I have ever seen and his whole physiognomy and attitude express a quiet and determined power.

          Always very sincerely yours,

Source Note: LT, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 24. Notations “Admiral Sims/Personal File.” and “1/3/J” appear at the top of the page. Addressed below close: “Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, R.N.,/Admiralty House Queenstown.”

Footnote 2: Capt. Joel R. Poinsett Pringle, Chief of Staff, Destroyer Flotillas.

Footnote 3: Sir Eric Geddes. Geddes travelled to the United States in the fall of 1918 to discuss the war at sea and the allocation of American naval forces. See: Geddes Memorandum, 19 September 1918; Benson to Sims, 23 October 1918; and Trask, Captains and Cabinets, 300-12.

Footnote 4: Oswyn A. R. Murray.

Footnote 5: Adm. Henry T. Mayo, Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet.

Footnote 7: John D. Ryan served as director of the Aircraft Production Board. Beaver, Newton D. Baker, 164.

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