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

CS Dacia
by Bill Glover


Telegraph Ship Dacia off the Silvertown Works (c.1869)

The Dacia was launched in 1867, and converted for cable use in 1869 by Sir Charles Bright, initially for use on the West India cables. The ship was cut in half and increased in length by 40 feet to provide room for a large cable tank amidships, and was also strengthened by a broad iron belt on her sides from stem to stern.

CS Dacia, date unknown

These records of the Dacia, from an article published in The Telegraphic Journal and Electrical Review on 10 June 1882, give an idea of the range of the ship's activities:

Undertaking Date left Silvertown Date arrived back at Silvertown
Chartered by GPO 4 May 1879 25 Jul 1879
Marseilles, France - Algiers, Algeria cable expedition and repairs to Lizard, England - Bilbao, Spain cable 3 Sep 1879 16 Nov 1879
Chartered by GPO 1 Jan 1880 Returned to Falmouth 9 Feb 1880
Repairs to Lizard - Bilbao cable Left Falmouth 13 Feb 1880 22 Mar 1880
Marseilles, France - Algiers, Algeria cable expedition 11 Sep 1880 18 Oct 1880
Mexican Telegraph Co cable expedition and repairs to the Havana - Key West cables 6 Dec 1880 26 Jul 1881
Chartered by GPO 14 Aug 1881 7 Nov 1881
Central & South American Telegraph Co expedition 15 Nov 1881 1 Jun 1882
During the period April - September 1880 Dacia underwent a major overhaul, which new deck housing, steam sounding gear, electric machinery and lights being installed.

For a first-hand story of life on Dacia in the 1890s, read Captain Basil Combe's diaries.

The ship had a long and successful career as a cable layer, but came to a sad end during the First World War. Although cable ships were merchant vessels they were considered legitimate war targets and a number were sunk during both world wars.

CS Dacia, at the time of her sinking during WWI, was in the process of diverting the German South American cable into Brest. The date of 3 December 1916 shown on the photographs below is correct; the date of 1915 given elsewhere is incorrect.

SS Dacia is on the left of the picture.

Inscription reads:
"SS Dacia antes da explosao 3.12.(1)916."
["SS Dacia before the explosion 3 12 (1)916."]

Inscription reads:
"SS Dacia no momento da explosao 3 xi (1)916."
["SS Dacia during the explosion 3 xi (1)916."]

Inscription reads:
"SS Dacia depois da explosao 3 xi (1)916."
["SS Dacia after the explosion 3 xi (1)916."

Dacia is already settling by the stern.

Inscription reads:
"SS Dacia 3.xii (1)916 Madeira."

Dacia's final resting place.

Further information on the sinking of CS Dacia may be found at the Madeira History website.

Last revised: 8 March, 2014

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