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

CS Duplex
by Bill Glover


Built in 1872 as the Nentwater for coastal trading, converted to cable use in 1893 and renamed Duplex.

Length 214.3 ft.  Breadth 30.2 ft.  Depth 17.1 ft.  Gross tonnage 874

CS Duplex

After her purchase from W. Dickinson of Newcastle in 1893, Duplex was used for repair work by the Eastern and South African Telegraph Company, mainly on the west coast of South Africa.

The ship gave good service in this work until 1913, when she was sold and used for commercial trading, finally being scrapped in 1931.

This cover was sent from Aberdeen, Scotland on 20 September 1894 to Dr. Charles Simpson on CS Duplex, Sierra Leone. It was redirected several times before the final postmark shows that it was at St. Vincent on 19 December.

Image courtesy of and copyright © 2007 Andrew Morris

The scan below of another cover addressed to Dr. Simpson at Sierra Leone in 1894 was provided by site visitor Philip Quirk in October 2022. It was posted from England on 13 September 1894, addressed to Cable Steamer Duplex, c/o Eastern Telegraph Company, Sierra Leone. As with the cover shown above, it was redirected via St Vincent (Cape Verde), St Thomas (Sao Tome & Principe) then back to Sierra Leone.

Both covers are postmarked at St. Vincent on 19 December, so it seems likely that after more than three months in transit from England, these two letters to Dr Simpson were finally delivered at about the same time, having almost certainly chased CS Duplex up and down the coast of West Africa while the ship was out on repair operations.

Image courtesy of and copyright © 2022 Philip Quirk

Postcard addressed to Miss Elsie Harvey, 11 Cobden Crescent, Edinburgh, Great Britain
From F.J.F. aboard CS Duplex - Sierra Leone
Dated 10/11/03, Postmarked 13/11/03

C.S. “Duplex”    Sierra Leone    10/11/03

My dear E.

We arrived here today after spend(ing) six weeks in the Jeba (Geba) river & Gambia etc, but we leave again early tomorrow morning for Lagos. We are hoping we may be back here for Xmas. I got your pc (Postcard) from West Linton & was glad to hear you were all well, you may guess I am very busy I would have written to you a letter, in case I have not time I wish you all a very happy Xmas but I may get a chance to write before then. I suppose you will be back to school again now & glad that the holidays are over!!

Please give my kindest regards to your Father and Mother, Mr and Mrs Turton & your brothers when you write & with love to yourself.

I remain

Your affectionate friend



Capt. Hunter:
1908 Zafarin - Nemours

Cableships Index Page

Last revised: 9 October, 2022

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