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 Secretary of the Admiralty Oswyn A. R. Murray

COPY

U.S. NAVAL FORCES OPERATING IN EUROPEAN WATERS.

30, Grosvenor Gardens,       

S.W.  1.           

Ref. AD. 41780                    22nd. October, 1918.

from – Vice Admiral William S. Sims, U.S. Navy,

          Commanding U.S. Naval Forces in European Waters.

to   - The Secretary of the ADMIRALTY.

Subject. Appreciation of service rendered by

              LIEUTENANT FRANCIS W. CRAVEN, RN.

          In rescuing American troops from H.M.S. “OTRANTO”.1

     1.   The Navy Department has directed that I convey to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty its high appreciation of the gallant and courageous conduct and very skilful seamanship displayed by Lieutenant Francis W. Craven, R.N. commanding H.M.S. “MOUNSEY”, which resulted in saving the lives of several hundred American troops upon the occasion of the loss of H.M.S. “OTRANTO”, and to express its sincere thanks for Lieutenant Craven’s notable services.

     2.   In complying with these directions I desire to express my own admiration, and that of the Forces under my command, for this most inspiring example of pluck, nautical judgement and seamanship. That Lieutenant Craven was able to take a relatively frail vessel several times alongside a sinking vessel within one and a half miles of a dangerous lee shore in a gale blowing ninety miles an hour; that he repeated this dangerous operation even after his vessel was leaking badly from inevitable collisions with the “OTRANTO”, and until this leaking and the presence of several hundred rescued men on board placed her in a dangerous condition of stability was, I believe, a feat equal to the best in the history of the British or any other Navy.

(sgd).    Wm. S. Sims.       

Source Note: Cy, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 45.

Footnote 1: For more on the loss of the Otranto, see: Andrews Speech, 14 October 1918.

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