Sims, William Sowden, 1858–1936, American naval officer, b. Port Hope, Upper Canada (now Ontario), of American parents. After serving with the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, he was (1897–1900) naval attaché in Paris and St. Petersburg. While in Europe he sent numerous reports to the Navy Dept. urging the adoption of new ship designs and gunnery, and in 1902 he wrote to President Theodore Roosevelt criticizing the inefficiency of the navy. His letters had some effect and he was ordered to Washington, serving (1902–9) with the Bureau of Navigation and (1907–9) as naval aide to the President. After leading (1913–15) the Atlantic torpedo flotilla he was appointed (1917) rear admiral and president of the Naval War College. In World War I he commanded (1917–18) U.S. operations in European waters. He again became president of the Naval War College in 1919 and served there until 1922, when he retired. He was made full admiral by act of Congress in 1930. He wrote, with Burton J. Hendrick, The Victory at Sea (1920).
See biography by E. E. Morison (1942, repr. 1968).
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