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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 Recorder (3)
by Bill Glover & Barry Waterhouse


CS Recorder (3), 22 July 1954
Image courtesy of David Griffiths

Built in 1954 by Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd.

Length 340 ft 5 in. Breadth 45 ft 2in. Depth 18 ft 6 in Gross tonnage 3430.

In April 1955, eight months after her launch, Recorder was moored on the Thames at Greenwich, loading cable at the Telegraph Construction & Maintenance Company works at Enderby Wharf. The short film below, “Through the Sea We Speak”, directed by Olive Negus and released in 1955, was made around this time, and one segment shows three children, accompanied by their father (who remains mostly in the background), making a tour of the ship and viewing the equipment and operations.

It seems likely that the father, who is never named, worked in the cable industry, as while in the test room, one of the children mentions that “some of the instruments were the same as we had seen at the cable station in Cornwall.” This would have been the Porthcurno facility of Cable & Wireless.

The cable gear at Enderby Wharf, with Enderby House and the now-demolished Greenwich gas holders coming into shot as the camera pans left, can be seen starting at 8:45 into the film, as the ship begins loading cable from the factory.

Through the Sea We Speak

Thanks to site visitor Ozzie Williams for bringing this film to my attention and scanning it for his YouTube channel.

Recorder (3) was used by Cable & Wireless Ltd. for cable repair work, eventually replacing Stanley Angwin at Singapore. There Recorder was responsible for repair work, covering an area from Colombo, Sri Lanka, to Vancouver, Canada.

Fitted with three cable tanks capable of holding 21,000 cubic feet of cable. Combined picking up/paying out machinery supplied by Johnson & Phillips. Three 3ft 6in bow sheaves fitted but no stem sheave.

Scrapped at the end of 1985 when replaced by CS Retriever (5).

Ship's shield: CS Recorder (3)

"We speak through the sea"

Ship's shield: CS Mercury

"The ocean shall not divide us"

These shields belonged to Captain Charles Goodsir, late Royal Signals Corps. Mercury was the emblem of Cable & Wireless, owner and operator of the Recorder.
Thanks to Mabel Goodsir for kindly donating the shields to the Atlantic Cable website, and to retired Royal Signal Corps Major Derek Wood for making the connection.


1964 SEACOM 2 Carried out a route survey from Hong Kong to Australia with CS Mercury in areas covering some of the deepest parts of the ocean
1964 Laid SEACOM 2 shore ends at Sabah
1964 Recovered a large amount of cable from the USA - Hawaii - Guam - Philippines route belonging to the Commercial Pacific Cable Company which had ceased trading. The cable was used for repairs.
1971 BRACAN Carried out a route survey with Retriever (5)

CS Recorder (3) off Fiji, c. 1975
Image courtesy of John Crocker

Barry Waterhouse, who served on Recorder (3) on her first cable voyage, shares the following memories:

My first ship at sea was the Recorder (a new building) and I joined her as a junior engineer of 21 on the 16th August 1954 under Tyne Bridge at Newcastle after her acceptance trials. About 10 days later we sailed for the Thames and the Telcon works to load cable before sailing for Singapore to relieve the Stanley Angwin.

The Captain was Capt. Muccleston from Louth, Chief Engineer "Thunder" McKinley, Second Engineer Denis Dawson, and the bo’sun was Harold Yon, who hailed from the island of St. Helena. The crew was Spanish.

However, during fog in the Thames estuary (it must have been the 27th August 1954), we were in collision with a Danish ship, the Uruguay, sustaining severe damage to the starboard side in line with the break of the poop deck. The collision destroyed the hospital on the boatdeck, one of the lifeboats (stained and varnished at that time – not white as in the photograph below), and several crew cabins.

CS Recorder (3) moored on the Thames at Greenwich in September 1954. The damage caused in the collision can be seen towards the stern.

The damage was temporarily repaired by, if I recall correctly, Siley, Cox & Weir on the Thames, and we then returned to the Tyne for permanent repairs, which involved renewal of about 22 plates, accommodation repairs, and a new lifeboat etc. We were there about 5 - 6 weeks.

After repairs we sailed down to Greenwich, but then, instead of going to Singapore, we were based on the Gibraltar station, spending a lot of time operating out of Falmouth and were actually in Falmouth for Christmas 1954.

The Recorder did eventually take up the Singapore station but when I’m not sure.

I left the Recorder in April 1955 after about 8 months, while she was in drydock in Grimsby, and was transferred to the Edward Wilshaw.

Another view of the damage caused by the collision

See also the Stamps page on CS Recorder (3)

Cableships Index Page

Last revised: 19 December, 2023

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