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

James Joseph Cope and CS Faraday (1)
Siemens Brothers, Woolwich, London

Introduction: James Joseph Cope served as assistant engineer on CS Faraday between 1910 and 1913, and again in 1921. CS Faraday was the first purpose-built cable ship, launched in 1874 and owned and operated by Siemens Brothers of Woolwich, London. In 50 years of cable work Faraday laid a total of 50,000 nautical miles of cable. The ship was sold in 1924 for scrap but remained in service as a coal hulk and store ship, finally being broken up in 1950.

Here John Cope, the grandson of James Cope, shares his grandfather's seaman's record books and other papers, which give an account of Cope's nautical career and detail some of the cable-laying and repairing voyages he sailed on.

--Bill Burns

Siemens letter

Before his cableship service on CS Faraday, James Cope had worked for Siemens Brothers as an "Improver (Fitter and Turner)" from 1900 to 1906. He was employed again by Siemens from 1908 to 1913, the period which included his shipboard service, leaving on 31 December 1913, after which he signed on with the Mackay-Bennett.

When Cope left Siemens, the company wrote him a letter of recommendation, which noted his service as a "Deck Engineer" on Cable Ship Faraday on five expeditions.

The Siemens Magazine for March 1928 records the death of James Joseph Cope on January 31st of that year.

Other members of the Cope family also worked at Siemens in Woolwich. In the previous generation James's father, John Cope, entered the works in 1897 and retired as foreman of the Blacksmiths Shop in 1928. James's wife, and his children Joe, Jack, Bert, and Olive, were all at Siemens at some point. John Hearsham (Jack) Cope, the father of the present John Cope, worked there as a Fitter from 1922 to 1928; Bert worked for Siemens from about 1930 through World War II; Olive was head of the typing pool.

James Cope's Continuous Certificate of Discharge (images below) shows voyages dated from 1910 through 1914 as follows:

Name of ship and official number, Port of registry, and tonnage Date and place of engagement Date and place of discharge Description of voyage
Faraday 68535 London 2933 25/5/10
North Atlantic
Cable G.S. Faraday 68535 3122 Tons 600 HP 22 Oct 1910
Poplar London
10 Nov 1910
Poplar London
Cable S.S. Faraday 68535 3122 Tons 600 HP 18 Aug 1911
Poplar, E.
7 Sep 1911
Poplar, E.
North Atlantic
Cable S.S. Faraday 68535 3122 Tons 600 HP 17.4.13
Poplar, E.
15 Nov 1913
Poplar, E.
Dutch East Indies
S.S. "Mackay-Bennett" 89965 Glasgow 984 Tons, 300 H.P. Jan 1st 14
Halifax N.S.

Cable Operations

S.S. Swansea Trader 888858 London 247 Tons 30-3-14
Halifax N.S.
30 Apr 1914
Halifax N.S. to U.K.

All except the last voyage were cable related. The Faraday voyages listed as "North Atlantic", and the 1914 Mackay-Bennett voyage were most likely repair operations. The North Atlantic route had many cables, and repairs were a substantial part of the work for cableships in that part of the world.

The voyage listed as "Arendal" in 1910 was to lay a cable connecting Newbiggin by the Sea in England to Arendal in Norway. The cable was laid by Siemens Bros for the Norwegian PTT and the British GPO, and was 411 nm in length.

The 1913 cable noted as "Dutch East Indies" was laid by Siemens Bros for the government of the Netherlands East Indies. The inter-island cable system was established in 1882, and the cable of 1913, 1347 nautical miles in length, was an extension to the existing network.

Continuous Certificate of Discharge, dated from 1910 through 1914


1910 Certificate of Discharge from CS Faraday


1921 British Mercantile Marine Identity and Service Certificate


1921 United States of America Alien Seaman's Identification Card

Document images copyright © 2005 John Cope.
Used by permission.

Copyright © 2007 FTL Design

Last revised: 27 February, 2008

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