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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 Faraday (2)
by Bill Glover

Official Number 147458

Built at Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Company Limited, Hebburn-on-Tyne and launched 16th February, 1923.

Length 394.3'  Breadth 48.3'  Depth 34.6'  Gross tonnage 5533

CS Faraday (2) moored in the West India Docks, London, c. 1924

Owned by Siemens Brothers and retained by them when they joined with the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company to form Submarine Cables Ltd. The ship was then chartered to the new company. At the onset of WW2 in 1939, Faraday was laid up at Falmouth until December and was then chartered by the Admiralty to recover 265 nm of German cable lying between the Varne Bank and Ushant. It was successfully recovered and unloaded at Greenwich for reconditioning. The idea was to use the cable to link the UK to Narvik, Norway where British troops had landed but the subsequent evacuation stopped this. With nothing to do the ship was moved to the River Dart and laid up. Shortly after this the Admiralty stepped in, requisitioning and renaming the ship HMS Faraday, intending to use it for training naval ratings. A small party of the original crew stayed on board to maintain the cable equipment.

This scheme was dropped when Faraday was chartered for a cable expedition to deliver cable to depots at Freetown, Sierra Leone; Cape Town, Mombasa, Aden and Alexandria, Egypt. The cable was brought from Woolwich to Falmouth by two coasters, a third having been sunk by enemy aircraft. Faraday then received instructions to join a convoy of 25 ships which were due to leave Falmouth on 25 March 1941 for Milford Haven. Due to severe weather only five ships, including Faraday, sailed and, because of poor visibility they soon lost contact with each other. Faraday came under attack at about 7.45 pm from a Heinkel 111 which dropped two bombs and strafed the ship with machine gun fire, killing eight of the crew and injuring twenty five. The bombs exploded in the oil bunkers, causing a serious fire and the crew abandoned ship, which eventually ran aground off St Anne's Head. The Heinkel was shot down by Faraday's gunners. Most of the cable on board was recovered by CS Marie Louise Mackay of the Commercial Cable Company and the GPO cable ship Alert (3).

The wreck of the Faraday now lies in depths of water between 5 and 16 meters under the cliffs at Hoopers Point, Pembrokeshire.


1923 UK - USA New York - Canso section
1924 Barbados - Demerara
  Barbados - Trinidad
  Barbados - Turks Island
  UK - Netherlands (Aldeburgh - Domburg) 2 (Telephone cable)
  St Vincent, CVI - Fernando Noronha (Brazil)
1926 Pacific "loaded" cable Fanning Island - Fiji section
  Balboa - San Elena
  Dumpton Gap - La Panne 1 (Telephone cable)
1929 Ballyhornan - Isle of Man 1
  Ballyhornan - Isle of Man 2
  Blackpool - Port Greenhaugh
  North Atlantic cable repairs
1930 Dumpton Gap - La Panne 2 (Telephone cable)
1932 St Margarets Bay - La Panne 5 (Telephone cable)
1935 Australia - Tasmania (Telephone cable)
  Rottnest Island - Cottesloe (Perth)
1937 UK - Holland (Two telephone cables)
  UK - Ireland (Two telephone cables)
  Aber Geirch - Howth (Two telephone cables)
  Aldeburgh - Domburg 4 & 5 (Telephone cables)
  Port Kale - Donaghadee 4 & 5 (Telephone cables)
  Aber Geirch - Howth 2
1938 UK - Guernsey - Jersey (Telephone cable)
  Jersey - Pirou 2 (Telephone cable)
  Aber Geirch - Howth 3
  Tunis - Beirut
  Nabeul - Beirut

During the lay of the 1926 Pacific cable, Siemens Brothers head office sent a postcard dated 27th October 1926 to a Mrs. Hunt in East Dulwich to advise her that “C/s Faraday left Honolulu noon yesterday for Fanning Island. All well.”
Perhaps Mr. Hunt was a member of the crew or cable staff of Faraday and wanted to send a reassuring message to his wife.

The CS Faraday (2) presentation album shown below, issued by Siemens Brothers to mark the launch of the ship in 1923, is from the collection of Angela Staiger. Her father, Robert Fergusson, was Assistant Purser on the Faraday from May 1924 until May 1927.

C.S. "Faraday"
Siemens Brothers & Co., Ltd.
London & Woolwich

Views of
C.S. "Faraday"
Built and engined by
Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Co., Limited,
Jarrow and Hebburn-on-Tyne
Siemens Brothers & Co., Ltd.
London & Woolwich
Launched at Jarrow, 16th Feb., 1923.

General view of C.S. "Faraday"

After Deck, showing Dynamometer and Stern Sheaves

Shelter Deck, showing Cable Troughing

Main Deck, showing Picking-up Machine

After end, showing Paying-out Machine

Main Deck, showing hatchway of Cable Tank

Shelter Deck, looking forward, showing Cable Tank hatch

Navigating Bridge

From after end of ship, looking forward over Boat Deck

Boat Deck, looking aft from Bridge

Dining Saloon

See the Cable Stories section for several personal accounts of life on board CS Faraday (2).

Last revised: 31 January, 2021

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