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Admiralty to Vice Admiral Heathcoat S. Grant, Senior Officer, Gibraltar

Operation Orders of Force Movements, etc.

Secret Routes for Vessels.

     TELEGRAM No. 800

From Admiralty

To: S.N.O. Gibraltar     Date 21. 9. 17.     Sent 2154.

     In view of submarine activity to West of Gibraltar following proposal should be considered in conjunction with Admiral Wilson1 (fullstop)

     Special service vessels “LAGGIN” “RULE” “ACTON” “UNDERWING”, “MASHFORT” and “PUMA2 to be temporarily based at Gibraltar for duty as zone escort, and for operations for which they are specially designed (fullstop) Utilize U.S.Cruisers and gunboats “SACRAMENTO” “SENECA” “OSSIPEE” “MANNING” “YAMACRAW  as ocean escorts inlieu. (fullstop) It is very doubtful in any case whether special service vessels can continue ocean escorts during winter months (fullstop) If you concur in this proposal Commodores will be essential for each convoy and it may then become practicable to convoy the Outward Gibraltar vessels as far as Gibraltar without dispersing them when clear of British immediate s/m danger zone as at present (fullstop) Report by wire if you concur.


Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Copies sent: “War Registry (cypher)/Convoy [Mercantile Movements Division]/D.O.D.[Director, Operations Division]/M [Military Intelligence Division].”

Footnote 1: RAdm. Henry B. Wilson, Commander, United States Patrol Squadron Based at Gibraltar.

Footnote 2: Special Service ships were heavily armed merchant ships with concealed weaponry They were designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks, which gave the special service ships (also called Q ships) the chance to engage and sink them.

Footnote 3: RAdm. Sir Alexander L. Duff, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff.