Porthcurno telegraph station

AddressPenzance, Cornwall TR19 6JX, UK
Location typeOther
AccessPublic Access
Site Ownership and Access InformationThe remains of some of the cables can still be found under the sand at Porthcurno beach to this day. The beach is open to the public. This site was the largest telegraph cable station in the world. Today it is the only working cable station in the world.
Contact detailsSee Porthcurno Telegraph Museum for more information

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Communications by cable was essential during World War Two because it was a safer means than by radio messages which could be intercepted. Cable & Wireless operated the 355,000 mile network which connected the British Empire, Porthcurno being the most important station as it was the centre of the entire network. Using this network many different parties such as governments, military leaders, newspapers & broadcasters, and families of servicemen could co-ordinate strategies, sent out orders to units and keep in touch with news from the front respectively. Communication between Britain and her Allies – particularly the USA – was vital for the progress of the war. The Allied leaders met in person only very occasionally, and most communication between nations was by telegraph.

The underground telegraph station at Porthcurno was built between June 1940 and May 1941. It was constructed because the Fall of France meant that the existing above-ground facilities were vulnerable to attack from an enemy only 80 miles away. Between D-Day and the final surrender nearly 85 million words were transmitted via Porthcurno from London.

View on the D-Day On Your Doorstep map