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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 Duchess Of Marlborough / Mexican
by Bill Glover


Built in 1874 by Barrow Ship Building Co., Barrow in Furness

Length 172.0 ft  Breadth 23.0 ft  Depth 12.5 ft  Gross tonnage 402

Purchased by the West India and Panama Telegraph Company from the Dublin and Glasgow Steam Packet Company in 1880 and fitted out for cable repair duties. Sold to the Mexican Telegraph Company in 1893 and renamed CS Mexican.

Sold in 1910 to Reid (Newfoundland) Ltd., for commercial trading, reverting to her original name. Based at Galveston until 1913 when wrecked off the coast of Nova Scotia.

In 1898, at the time of the Spanish-American War, the ship was commanded by Captain James W. Dickinson. His cable service is mentioned in his obituary in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle issue of 27 April 1942:

J.W. Dickinson, 90, Retired Mariner

Capt. James W. Dickinson, 90, a retired officer in the British merchant marine, died Saturday at his home, 132-39 83d St., Ozone Park. A native of Kensington, England, he went to sea as a boy and in 1882 received an award from the Danish Government for saving the crew of a ship off the coast of Denmark.

The victory of Admiral Dewey at Manila in the Spanish-American War was witnessed by Captain Dickinson, who at the time was in command of the cable ship Duchess of Marlborough, engaged in laying a submarine cable in the vicinity of Manila Bay.

Aided Goethals in Panama.

In 1904 Captain Dickinson was engaged in engineering work at Balboa, assisting General Goethals in the building of the Panama Canal. He was entrusted by the general with a particularly difficult task, in which other engineers had failed. His work evoked the highest commendation from Goethals.

Captain Dickinson retired from active service in 1910, but his interest in nautical affairs continued to the end, one of his red-letter days being a visit to the Normandie and the Queen Elizabeth when those two vessels were docked side by side in the North River.

Captain Dickinson is survived by a son, Charles W. Dickinson of the Royal Insurance Company of New York.

Last revised: 9 September, 2019

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