Nova Scotia Archives

Halifax and Its People / 1749-1999

CS MacKay-Bennett in Dry Dock, Halifax, between 1885 and 1922

The Cable Ship MacKay-Bennett, launched in 1884, was named for two founders of the Commercial Cable Company, John W. MacKay and James G. Bennett. The vessel arrived in Halifax in March 1885, based here to facilitate the at-sea repairs of underwater telegraph cables in the North Atlantic. This photograph was possibly taken in 1894, when the MacKay-Bennett was in dry dock, 19 September to 24 December, being sheathed with greenheart, a wood used to protect the hull from ice damage.

The vessel is most famous for its part in the RMS Titanic disaster, when it was hired by the White Star Line to recover bodies from the mishap. Departing Halifax on 17 April 1912, the MacKay-Bennett returned on 30 April, having recovered 306 bodies, of which 116 were buried at sea and the other 190 brought into port. The vessel continued at Halifax until 1922, when it was retired to Plymouth, England and used as a cable-storage hulk. Bombed and sunk during World War II, it was refloated and used again as a hulk until 1961, when finally scrapped.

Photographer: Notman Studio

Date: between 1885 and 1922

Reference: Notman Studio Nova Scotia Archives  no. 1113  / negative: N-5142

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