PLUTO – Leaves for the Isle of Wight

Author: Gareth Owen

This is the point where PLUTO leaves for the Isle of Wight, passing under the Solent.

Operation Pluto (Pipe-Lines Under The Ocean) was a secret operation by British engineers, oil companies and armed forces to construct an undersea oil pipelines under the English Channel between England and France to supply much needed fuel and remove the dependency on oil tankers. The scheme was developed by Arthur Hartley, chief engineer with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.

Geoffrey Lloyd, the Minister for Petroleum, met Admiral Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations, in 1942 and then the Chairman of Anglo-Iranian. The operation was approved with the first line to France being laid on 12 August 1944 after successful trials.

The pipes pass through this location on its way to Lepe Country Park where it then travels under the Solent to the Isle of Wight and on to Shanklin Chine before crossing the English Channel on to France.

You can find out more about the New Forest’s vital role in D-Day from Mulberry Harbour, to holding camps, road widening, advanced landing grounds, PLUTO and Embarkation by visiting our main page on D-Day in the New Forest.

Date: 1944

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