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

HMTS Alert (2)
by Bill Glover


Built in 1918 by Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd.

Length 196.7 ft. Breadth 31.4 ft. Depth 20.1 ft. Gross tonnage 941.

HMTS Alert (2) repairing cable, clearly showing the International sign for ‘Ship Not Under Control’, which at night, consists of
three lights, two red above and below one white.

Built as a cable repair ship for the GPO. Three cable tanks were fitted and although Alert was smaller than Monarch (3), because the No. 1 tank reached up to the main deck more cable could be carried. Total capacity of each tank was 3220, 3060, 3890 cubic feet.

When first built the ship was fitted out with the cable machinery from Alert (1). This was replaced by equipment manufactured and installed by the Telegraph Construction & Maintenance Company, which consisted of two independent combined paying out-picking up machines mounted on the main deck. Twin bow sheaves were fitted but no stern facilities were provided. In service until 24 February 1945 when she was torpedoed off the North Goodwin Sands with the loss of all hands.

See the story of Lionel Voss and HMTS Alert (2), with many more photos.

The Dover War Memorial site has further information on the sinking of the Alert, noting that “The Post Office Cable Ship Alert was repairing the Dumpton Gap-La Penne cable when it was sunk. All 59 crew members were lost.”

Cableships Index Page

Last revised: 21 December, 2019

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