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

Charles Skilliter
CS Faraday, HMTS Monarch (3)

Introduction: Charles Skilliter, born in 1887, served as third mate on CS Faraday in 1912, and as an officer on HMTS Monarch (3) in the 1920s. Nothing else is known about his cable service.

Thanks to Nick Rees for sharing his grandfather's documents and photographs.

--Bill Burns

Charles Skilliter
Two stripes - First Officer

Nick writes: My grandfather, Charles Skilliter, served on the Faraday from 13 May 1912 till 27 July 1912 as 3rd mate, in the North Atlantic. He did have his master's certificate, number 040292, but as far as I know was never master. His service on the Faraday was at the same time as that of James Cope.

His continuous certificate of discharge only goes up to 1913, when he was serving on the Hurunui. There is nothing from this date, but I was always told he was on a cable ship, and a note on the back of the photographs of Monarch shown below dates them to the early 1920s .

He died in mysterious circumstances in the mid 1920’s in Alexandrovsk, either shot or committed suicide. Nobody knew. The only record, found in foreign office papers from 1926 in the National Archives at Kew, is “Charles Skilliter death certificate.”

2012 Follow-up

In January 2012 the Atlantic Cable website received an inquiry from Who Do You Think You Are? magazine about Charles Skilliter. The magazine was researching a request from reader Rosemary Booth to find out what had really happened to him in Russia. I was able to put the researcher in touch with Nick Rees, and some of the photos shown on this page were used in an article on Skilliter published in the February issue of the magazine.

In a website piece on the story, the magazine very kindly gives credit to the Atlantic Cable site for help in the research, and provides a link to this page for further information.

And the outcome of the story? Sadly, further documents found at the UK National Archives by the magazine's researcher included a copy of a letter signed by the ship's officers and local officials certifying that Charles Skilliter had committed suicide on board ship by gunshot wound. No note was found.

The article published in the February 2012 print edition of the magazine has further details.

 

Charles Skilliter next to the paying-out machinery
at the bow of HMTS Monarch (3)
Three stripes? - Chief Officer?

Officers of HMTS Monarch (3), 1920s
Charles Skilliter is the tall figure at right rear - two stripes

Cable sheaves at right centre.
HMTS Monarch (3) was used primarily as a repair ship.

Charles Skilliter is the tall figure in the centre of the back row

Charles Skilliter's Continuous Certificate of Discharge
beginning on 9 May 1904

Entry in Charles Skilliter's Continuous Certificate of Discharge
showing discharge on 13/5/12 from “Cable S.S. Faraday, North Atlantic”

Letter of commendation from Siemens Brothers after the
conclusion of Charles Skilliter's service on CS Faraday

Charles Skilliter's WWI Medals Certificate

See also the main page for CS Faraday

Last revised: 18 February, 2013

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Research Material Needed

The Atlantic Cable website is non-commercial, and its mission is to make available on line as much information as possible.

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.

If you have any cable-related items that you could photograph, copy, scan, loan, or sell, please email me: billb@ftldesign.com

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