Escher.gif (426 bytes)

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

HMTS Iris (2)
by Bill Glover


Built in 1940 by Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. Sister ship of HTMS Ariel, built in 1939.

Length 251 ft 8 in Breadth 35 ft 3 in Draught 16 ft 4 in Gross tonnage 1479

HMTS Iris General Arrangements (Scale 1/32 in. = 1 ft.)
The Post Office Electrical Engineers’ Journal, April 1946

Scan courtesy of Sam Hallas

Built for the GPO for cable repair work in British and Continental waters. Fitted with three tanks with a capacity of 16110 cubic feet, equivalent to about 700 tons of telegraph cable.

Foredeck of Iris, cables passing over leads and over the bow
Image courtesy of Mary Coulson, from Jim Coulson

Double combined picking up-paying out machinery was supplied by Johnson & Phillips along with two 3 ft 6 in diameter flat bow sheaves. Two swinging davits were fitted originally but these were later replaced with a bow gantry for handling rigid repeaters. Withdrawn from service in 1976 and scrapped when replaced by CS Monarch (5).

HMTS Iris (2) fitted with bow gantry for laying rigid repeaters

While serving on the Iris in the early 1940s, James Dooley made a violin; he later became a well-regarded instrument maker.

Cableships Index Page

Last revised: 31 August, 2021

Return to Atlantic Cable main page

Search all pages on the Atlantic Cable site:

Research Material Needed

The Atlantic Cable website is non-commercial, and its mission is to make available on line as much information as possible.

You can help - if you have cable material, old or new, please contact me. Cable samples, instruments, documents, brochures, souvenir books, photographs, family stories, all are valuable to researchers and historians.

If you have any cable-related items that you could photograph, copy, scan, loan, or sell, please email me: [email protected]

—Bill Burns, publisher and webmaster: