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

HMS Latimer
by Bill Glover


Built in 1941 by Lithgows Ltd., Port Glasgow

Length 425.0 ft  Breadth 56.0 ft  Depth 36.75 ft  Gross tonnage 6874

Used in the PLUTO operations during WWII.

First named Empire Ridley, a standard 10,000 ton cargo ship. Requisitioned in 1943 and converted for laying the 3 inch dia HAIS pipe and renamed HMS Latimer. Two tanks each 50 ft dia and each capable of holding 50 miles of  pipe were fitted as were  two sets of paying out-picking up cable gear, one forward and one aft.

Latimer’s first operational pipeline, under the command of Captain Treby Heale RNR., was laid on 12 August 1944 between Shanklin, Isle of Wight and Cherbourg, France. The Cross Channel laying was successful but on reaching Shanklin one of the escorting vessels caught the pipe in its anchor and this pipe was abandoned.

Handed back to the Ministry of Transport in late 1945 and sold to a Norwegian company in 1949. Converted to a cargo ship in Italy and then sold to an  Italian company and renamed Acheo.

Scrapped in Japan in 1964.


1944 Laid 3 inch dia HAIS pipes between England and France
1946 Engaged with other vessels on the recovery of the pipelines

Cableships Index Page

Last revised: 15 February, 2012

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