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The first Cableship "Alert" was originally named "Lady Carmichael"
1894 she was formally re-named "Alert".
She was a small paddle steamer fitted with disconnecting paddle-wheels. The bow sheaves were carried on oak beams on the forecastle head and her displacement was 760 tons. After being employed on the maintenance of submarine cables across the Straits of Dover, she was eventually sold out of service in 1915.
During the First World War the number of vessels required to upkeep and maintain the submarine cables had been increasing. In anticipation of this the Post Office had already prepared plans and specifications to replace the first "Alert". However, because the cableship Monarch was sunk before the "Alert" was sold, the proposed new ship was subsequently named "Monarch".