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History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network

John Curley
Purser, HMTS Monarch (4)

Introduction: Margaret Coulson shares these stories of her late uncle, John Curley, and has very kindly presented his ‘Monarch Arms” sign to the Atlantic Cable website.

--Bill Burns

John Curley

Margaret Coulson writes:

Purser John Curley

In my early teens, before global communication arrived as we know it today, my uncle seemed a very romantic person to be travelling the world. John Curley was Purser on HMTS Monarch (4), and saiiled the Atlantic, North and South, the Pacific, and maybe even the Indian Ocean. He visited many countries and said once he had visited every continent. He served in a cavalry regiment during the First World War and it may be medals from there that he is wearing on his uniform

We remember some of his stories:

Being visited by King Neptune, shaved first, and then ducked - this was to celebrate his first time crossing the equator.

Storms so fierce that no-one was allowed on deck and very little in the way of food or drink could be prepared.

A savage storm off the coast of Newfoundland which lasted a fortnight - the ship had to drop cable and run and then return when the sea was calmer and retrieve and carry on.

Parting with loads of money at various ports bailing out drunken sailors and paying for damage to premises.

He gave us a wooden name plate which says “Monarch Arms”, which apparently came from the bar on board the Monarch.

"Monarch Arms" sign
38cm x 11cm

John Curley served on the Monarch from the late 1940s through the 1950s, and retired because of ill health in the early 1960s.

John Curley and shipmates in tropical uniform

Last revised: 5 September, 2012

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You can help - if you have cable material, old or new, please contact me. Cable samples, instruments, documents, brochures, souvenir books, photographs, family stories, all are valuable to researchers and historians.

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—Bill Burns, publisher and webmaster: Atlantic-Cable.com