Farewell Cable Restorer

It is always sad to see ships being broken up,  and a classic being chopped up is just so much worse. Back in South Africa the veteran cable ship Cable Restorer is rapidly disappearing and will soon be only a memory. I never saw her in person and the images that I have here were mostly taken by Patrick Gavin Worman

HMS Bullfrog © IWM (FL 4225)

She was originally built as HMS Bullfrog and launched on 26/01/1944 from the Neptune Yard of Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd (yard number 1802). Completed in June 1944 she used for harbour defence work during the Second World War, laying and maintaining ASDIC (Anti-Submarine Detection Committee) loops at main ports. Her sister was HMS Bullfinch, which was scrapped in 1976. 

After the war she was sold to the Cable & Wireless Company in 1946 and renamed Retriever. In 1961 she was once again sold to the Commercial Cable Company and renamed Cable Restorer.  In March 1969 she was stationed at Cape Town and finally purchased by the South Atlantic Cable Company in July 1972. Her registry changed from British to South African.

(1500 x 695)

She continued as a cable ship until 1993 when she was donated to the Simonstown Maritime Museum and even served as floating restaurant. Unfortunately this seemed to fall through and the vessel was scheduled for breaking up by 2018 with no real enthusiasm for her preservation.  However, her breaking up has only recently been ongoing.   Like the SAS Somerset  she should have been preserved but sadly enthusiasm for preservation is a very rare object in South Africa. 

**update 12/10/2021**

The shell of Cable Restorer has broken it’s back while still afloat. The balance of the ship should have been cut up in a dry dock but it appears that this was left too late and as a result the wreckage will now have to be removed to be cut up.  It appears as if the ship is having one last laugh. 

Cable Restorer being broken up. Image courtesy of David Hurwitz

Cable Restorer as at 27/06/2021. Image by David Hurwitz

Dimensions: 1524grt, 563nrt, 252.0 x 36.4 x 22.3ft
Engines: 2 x T3cyl (18, 22 & 36 x 24ins), 194nhp
Engines by: Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd
Propulsion: Twin Screw, 10.0 knots

DRW © 2021 – 2022. Created 26/06/2021. Images of Cable Restorer copyright to Patrick Gavin Worman. Image of CS being broken up by David Hurwitz. Thanks to Bryan for other images. 

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