Escher.gif (426 bytes)

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

HMS Persephone
by Bill Glover


Length 200.0 ft  Breadth 35.0 ft  Depth 21.1 ft  Gross tonnage 2988

Began life as Admiralty Hopper Barge No 24 and when converted, at HM Dockyard, Portsmouth, for trials of the 3 inch dia HAMEL pipes was renamed HMS Persephone. The conversion consisted of fitting a drum with a barrel diameter of 35 ft and a length of 15 ft. The flanges at either end of the barrel had a diameter of 48 ft.

On 4 June 1943 a trial lay of one mile of HAMEL pipe was successfully carried out across the Solent. Though not having the capacity to cross the Channel, Persephone laid 16 HAMEL pipes across the Solent.


1943 Laid 1 trial and 16 actual HAMEL pipes across the Solent


Developed from HMS Persephone were the ‘Conundrums.’ These were drums 90 ft wide, with a barrel 40 ft dia and 60 ft between flanges, which were themselves 52 ft dia., and fitted with outer teeth to enable the drum to be rotated, by machine, while loading was taking place. Capacity was about 80 miles of HAMEL pipe. They were towed across the Channel with the pipe unrolling as they went.

The six Conundrums (Nos. I-VI) successfully laid two pipes from the Isle of Wight to Cherbourg and six between Dungeness and Boulogne.


Laid 2 HAMEL pipes IOW - Cherbourg
Laid 6 HAMEL pipes Dungeness - Boulogne

Cableships Index Page

Last revised: 15 February, 2012

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: