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

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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