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 Rear Admiral Leigh C. Palmer, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation

October 4th.1918.

My dear Palmer,

          Yours of September 10th1 concerning the only original Davy just received.2

          Long before this reached me Davy had been sent to Queenstown, and is now plugging away at sea. The reason he was down in our monthly list as on liaison duty for the Bureau of Navigation was probably a mistake.

          We kept him here at Headquarters for a while in order to reap the benefit of his experience in personnel matters and then we kept him for a little while longer so as to enable Stark3 to make a tour of the bases in France to bring back some necessary information. When this was done we sent Davy off to sea.

          With regard to the last paragraph of your letter in which you state that the returning members of the Naval Committee were making recommendations as to the characteristics of destroyers based upon the advice of Admiral Bayly,4 I may say that these gentlemen all seemed particularly desirous of going back to America with a bunch of recommendations on various subjects. In order that anything they recommended might not be misunderstood as having my support, I wrote Admiral Benson5 early in the game and told him that I did not intend to make any recommendations through any other channels outside the Navy Department. I was afraid that these gentlemen after talking with a good many hundred people over here might confuse the recommendations they received in various quarters, and might quote me as recommending this that or the other.

          I was told that one of the members of the Naval Committee asked Admiral Bayly what he thought of the design of our new destroyers. I think the gentleman asked the question in expectation of their being highly approved. Admiral Bayly stated very fairly their good points but stated rather energetically their defects, and I suppose it is from this conversation that the recommendations were compiled.

          With regard to Yarnell6 I originally objected to his being detached and replaced by a brand new man who was not in touch with the work over here or with similar work on the other side. But when the proposition was made that Yarnell and McNamee7 should change places it was quite a different matter. I not only agreed at once to this but was glad the suggestion was made.

          Everything seems to be going very well as far as personnel is concerned. If you can only hurry over the destroyers to this side we will be quite satisfied. They are very earnestly needed.

     Very sincerely yours,

Source Note: LT, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 77. Addressed below close: “Rear Admiral L.C.Palmer, U.S.N./Chief of Bureau of Navigation,/Navy Department,/Washington D.C.”

Footnote 1: This letter has not been found.

Footnote 2: Lt. Cmdr. Charles G. Davy, a member of the Detail Office in the Bureau of Navigation. For more on his mission with the Destroyer Force, see: Palmer to Sims, 26 March 1918.

Footnote 3: Cmdr. Harold R. Stark, personal aide to Adm. Henry T. Mayo, Commander-in-Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet.

Footnote 4: Adm. Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander, Southern Ireland. A delegation from the House Naval Affairs Committee had recently visited Europe and toured American installations there.

Footnote 5: Adm. William S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations.

Footnote 6: Capt. Harry E. Yarnell had been a member of the London Planning Section before returning to the United States to join the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations.

Footnote 7: Capt. Luke McNamee was replaced by Yarnell at Opnav and joined Sims’ staff as part of his Planning Section.

 

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