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 Anne Hitchcock Sims

 

[Extract]

London.                

Sept. 27, 1917    

My darling Sweetheart:

          This evening at 8-45, I am off for Queenstown with Admiral Mayo and his party— 11 in all.1 We arrive there about noon Friday, and the C-in-C leaves the next day at 8 P.m. for Liverpool where he takes the steamer for home.2 I will remain at Admiralty House3 for a few days, but not very long, as I must get back and see Cone,4 who arrives tomorrow.

     Just about the time the C-in-C leaves Queenstown, Winston will arrive there and remain a couple of days.5 I want him to see the flotilla, since he is writing up his impressions of things over here. He is preparing a letter to the Big Chief6 which should clear the air very considerably. I hope it will bring about a complete change of view. In fact, I think it can hardly fail to have this effect nous allons voir.7

     The C-in-C will go back with information which should clear the air, and which would do if the Big Chief had any confidence in the judgment of military people, which he has not. He has stated so in so many words — adding that the war will probably be ended as the result of suggestions made by amateurs!8

     Winston, being in the class of amateurs,9 may be able to convince him that the allied commanders are worthy of some confidence. . . .

     I enclose a clipping from the Daily Telegraph that will interest you. It will show you the state of the submarine campaign — rather optimistically, I think, but it may (and I hope will) prove true. It is “Piracy Campaign”, by Archibald Hurd, a naval writer of established reputation10. . . .

Your devoted           

Will               

I have never been in better health in my life. I haven’t even had a cold since I arrived here (I rap on wood)

     Captain Jackson (O.P.)11 is in hospital at Amiens. He is not yet out of danger but the doctors think he will be all right if infection can be avoided.

Source Note: ALS, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Container 9.

Footnote 1: Adm. Henry T. Mayo, Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet, had led a naval mission to Britain. For the members of his staff who accompanied him, see: Mayo to Josephus Daniels, 30 August 1917.

Footnote 2: Mayo sailed for home on 3 October aboard the steamer St. Louis.

Footnote 3: Admiralty House was the residence and headquarters of VAdm. Sir Lewis Bayly, Commander, Southern Ireland, at Queenstown.

Footnote 4: Capt. Hutchinson I. Cone, the newly-appointed head of the Navy’s aviation program in Europe.

Footnote 5: American journalist Winston Churchill. On his visit to Queenstown, see: Sims to Sims, 4 October 1917.

Footnote 6: President Woodrow Wilson.

Footnote 7: That is, “we shall see.”

Footnote 9: Churchill had graduated from U.S. Naval Academy but had not pursued a career in the military. On 22 October 1917, he sent a report to President Wilson that was critical of the British Navy’s leadership and initiative but was very complimentary to Sims. See: Churchill to Wilson, 22 October 1917.

Footnote 10: This article appeared in the 24 September 1917 edition of the newspaper.

Footnote 11: Capt. Orton P. Jackson, Mayo's Chief of Staff.

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