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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 John Pender (2)
by Bill Glover


Built in 1900 by Napier and Sons, Glasgow.

Length 317.8 ft. Breadth 41.2 ft. Depth 17.7 ft. Gross tonnage 2,336.

Built for the Eastern Telegraph Company and based at Aden for most of her working life. Fitted with four permanent tanks and one portable tank which could be erected in the forward hold. As the vessel was capable of laying cables up to 500 nm long this tank would be used in such operations. While on repair duties the hold would contain grapnels, ropes, buoys etc.

To lay cable a stern sheave and paying out gear was fitted aft. Two independent paying out-picking up machines were fitted on the forward main deck; all of this machinery was manufactured by Telcon. Sold in 1928 to the Central Marine Engineering Company of Antwerp for scrapping.



Shanghai - Tschifu


Kalamaki - Piraeus No 3


Piraeus - Syra No 3


Lagos, Nigeria - Cotonou, Dahomey


Bathurst, Gambia - Bissau, French Guinea

CS John Pender (2) in a 1908 sketch by H.G.E. Wightman

The sketch above shows a cable end buoyed off during a repair.

H.G.E. Wightman was First Officer of CS John Pender (2) in 1908. On 16 July 1908 he testified before the Injuries to Submarine Cables Comittee on damages to the cables of the Commercial Cable Company, stating that he had been employed by the Eastern Telegraph Company for eight years.

According to the evidence presented to the committee, between 14 April and 1 June 1908 the John Pender had made seven repairs to four of the CCC’s cables in the Atlantic Ocean, all damaged by trawlers.

In its issue of 10 June 1910, The Times reported that H.G.E. Wightman, formerly Sub-Lieutenant., R.N.R., had been promoted to the rank of Lieut., R.N.R. on April 19th.

Harold Wightman was later Master of CS Levant II during the First World War, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1916 for cable work during the Gallipoli campaign.

“Rendered good services in connection with the laying of the cable from Imbros to Suvla on the night of the Suvla landing, and in laying and repairing cables off the peninsula frequently under heavy fire.”

Last revised: 18 August, 2015

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