PLUTO Pump-houses at Shanklin, Isle of Wight

A picture from the Illustrated London News, showing a cut-away diagram, revealing the main features of a PLUTO pumphouse. "Pluto," Britain's Latest War Secret: How a Million Gallons of Oil Are Daily Pumped across the Channel. Illustrated London News, 02 June 1945, Issue 5537. Camouflaging

A picture from the Illustrated London News, showing a cut-away diagram, revealing the main features of a PLUTO pump-house. “Pluto,” Britain’s Latest War Secret: How a Million Gallons of Oil Are Daily Pumped across the Channel. Illustrated London News, 02 June 1945, Issue 5537. Camouflaging

In 1942, in preparation for D-Day, the crucial issue of fuel supply for the tanks and vehicles of the Allied forces became a vital consideration for the military staff, charged with the planning of the landings in Normandy and the subsequent advance through France. It was realised that a reliance on oil tankers might bring with it problems…

via Isle of Wight History Centre

Illustrated London News May 15, 1943—General Alexander

illuslondnewsheaderalexanderalexandertext

THE BRITISH “ALEXANDER THE GREAT”: GENERAL SIR HAROLD ALEXANDER, WHOSE SUPERB STRATEGY IN THE BATTLE OF AFRICA HAS BEEN HAILED BY OUR ALLIES AND BY NEUTRAL STATES AS EPOCH-MAKING.

A second triumph has come to General Alexander; with Montgomery in the field, he planned the campaign that started at El Alamein, and now, as chief strategist of the Tunisian campaign, he has used the men of the Eighth Army, the First Army, the Second American Corps and the Corps d’Afrique with brilliant results. He has completely out-generalled von Arnim and helped to bring about the repaying of the Dunkirk debt.  General Alexander was appointed C.-in-C., Middle East, in 1942, after fighting, as G.O.C., Burma, the brilliant delaying action which saved India by giving us time to reorganise. It was he, too, who was in command at last on the beaches of Dunkirk, and on that occasion as well, no  little credit is due to him as a master strategist. Now these bitter memories will be wiped out, and he has the satisfaction of knowing the enemy are suffering the same as our men at Dunkirk.

Reading the above, which is from my original edition of The Illustrated London News, 15th May 1943, the one thing that strikes me above all is the clue the last sentence gives about the reality of Dunkirk. Only the brain-dead would not have realised that that episode of the war had been an unmitigated disaster.

© Sarah Vernon

New Year’s Day 1942

Pacific Paratrooper

Carl Mydans, "Life" mag. photographer Carl Mydans, “Life” mag. photographer

While the people of Japan celebrated New Year’s Day in their usual fashion, debts were paid, people thronged to the Meiji Shrine to throw coins at midnight and for good luck, red daruma dolls were purchased, all this was topped off with the news of military success against the Allies.  But all this gaiety did not please the military.  They were aware of just how arduous the war was going to be and strict discipline must be maintained.  General Muto said:  “The first step is to replace Tojo as Prime Minister.”  (Tojo had been opposed to the military aggression.  He had to go.)

Japanese visiting Yasukuni Jinja during the New Year's period. Japanese visiting Yasukuni Jinja during the New Year’s period.

The Japanese in the Philippine Islands celebrated differently.  They closed in on Manila from two directions.  The southern troops were slowed about 40 miles out due to the amount of bridges that had…

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