Tuesday 25 August 2020

Centenary of the Telegraph Service (Jamaica, 1970)

I do like a bit of lush colour on a stamp. This evocative image, we are told, is the telegraph cable ship Dacia. The Dacia is a bit of an unlikely heroine of the seas. She was originally launched in 1867 but was converted for cable laying in 1869; this conversion involved slicing her in half and adding an extra 40 ft section to carry the cables and adding some extra bands to strengthen her in general. She then started on her busy life laying cable, mostly in the Caribbean but also around the Mediterranean and the West Atlantic.

She came to her end in 1916 in World War I, sunk by the Germans whilst on a mission that’s just insane to read about (honestly, check the first link below!). The aim was to disconnect German communications cables and re-lay them so that they connected French and allied strongholds. Basically, a very complex job of stealing 1200 miles worth of German communications cable from under the sea to create a network for the French instead.

For a history of the electrical telegraph, hit the second link. But trust me, read about the Dacia first…

https://atlantic-cable.com/Cableships/Dacia/index.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_telegraph

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