PLUTO

PipeLine Under The Ocean.........

I found this in a book recently and added it to my miniscule knowledge of D Day. I didn't know about it despite watching hours of Discovery/History channel!! Little bit on Wiki and a few other pages. What a fascinating snippet from amazing days.

A fuel pipeline running from Britain to France to pump fuel to keep the war effort going

pluto.jpg
 

Longlenny

War Hero
Book Reviewer
Parts of the PLUTO pipe can still be seen in Shanklin Chine on the Isle of Wight, also one of the fuel pumps that filled the pipe can be seen in Bembridge Heritage museum also on the Island. The original shed that the pump was in survives and is now an ice cream kiosk. Boring bastard ain't I?
 
Parts of the PLUTO pipe can still be seen in Shanklin Chine on the Isle of Wight, also one of the fuel pumps that filled the pipe can be seen in Bembridge Heritage museum also on the Island. The original shed that the pump was in survives and is now an ice cream kiosk. Boring bastard ain't I?
Not at all, it fascinated me when I was reading about it, in an American book.........Genius!
 

Gout Man

LE
Book Reviewer
Not at all, it fascinated me when I was reading about it, in an American book.........Genius!
It's amazing what technology went on in that period and how they managed that feat of engineering when a war going on. Was it a Yank project or British?
 
Parts of the PLUTO pipe can still be seen in Shanklin Chine on the Isle of Wight, also one of the fuel pumps that filled the pipe can be seen in Bembridge Heritage museum also on the Island. The original shed that the pump was in survives and is now an ice cream kiosk. Boring bastard ain't I?

IIRC it was built as an ice cream kiosk to disguise its true purpose. All part of the cunning plans too fool the Germans into thinking the invasion was coming further north. They needn't have bothered as, by this stage in the war, Hitler was sleeping till the afternoon and his personal astrologer was running the war.
 

Gout Man

LE
Book Reviewer
pluto.jpg


Anonymous1950, Jan 28. PLUTO" PIPKL1M. The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959), 3.

You can order a copy of the plans and blueprints from the national archives. It carried 200,000,000 gallons of petrol during the war.
 
I stumbled across this on the internet about Pluto a few years back, a deeply strange and disturbing detail, if it is true.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/10/a2818910.shtml


"Whilst chatting to my uncle, he revealed some interesting information that I have not heard before about PLUTO (PipeLine Under The Ocean).

My uncle was on salvage operations just after the war and was part of the team that recovered the PLUTO pipeline for salvage purposes, it contained a great deal of lead. He said that there were two types of pipe, one multi-layered that contained the lead and one that was made from steel. They had to oxy-actylene cut the steel pipe at the the previously welded joints after it had been raised and brought onboard ship.

At three of the joints they were surprised to see that something caught fire as they cut the pipe. It turned out that the flames came from wooden bungs, which must have been driven in during the construction phase by somebody to render the pipeline useless."
 

greyfergie

MIA
Book Reviewer
I stumbled across this on the internet about Pluto a few years back, a deeply strange and disturbing detail, if it is true.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/10/a2818910.shtml


"Whilst chatting to my uncle, he revealed some interesting information that I have not heard before about PLUTO (PipeLine Under The Ocean).

My uncle was on salvage operations just after the war and was part of the team that recovered the PLUTO pipeline for salvage purposes, it contained a great deal of lead. He said that there were two types of pipe, one multi-layered that contained the lead and one that was made from steel. They had to oxy-actylene cut the steel pipe at the the previously welded joints after it had been raised and brought onboard ship.

At three of the joints they were surprised to see that something caught fire as they cut the pipe. It turned out that the flames came from wooden bungs, which must have been driven in during the construction phase by somebody to render the pipeline useless."
From what I read it was pumping up to a million gallons a day so the bungs couldn't have been that effective..
"This amounted to over 1,000,000 gallons per day giving a total of 172,000,000 gallons delivered in total up to the end of hostilities. During the operation to lay the cables an HQ ship, several cable ships, tugs, trawlers and barges were employed on this specialised work - a total of 34 vessels with 600 men and officers under Captain J.F.Hutchings."
 
In the days before the Imperial War Museum was re-vamped (not necessarily for the better,) they had a sizeable and interesting permanent exhibition about PLUTO. I don't think the exhibit is still around.
 
OneTap -

I would not rely on the entries you linked. He says lead is not a pure metal but a mixture of various metals. Lead is an element and is available pure. It is also available in various alloy mixtures also but lead itself is a pure element.
 
D

Deleted 4886

Guest
IIRC it was built as an ice cream kiosk to disguise its true purpose. All part of the cunning plans too fool the Germans into thinking the invasion was coming further north. They needn't have bothered as, by this stage in the war, Hitler was sleeping till the afternoon and his personal astrologer was running the war.
............ can I have a '99' please- and a million gallons of fuel to go!
 
I stumbled across this on the internet about Pluto a few years back, a deeply strange and disturbing detail, if it is true.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/10/a2818910.shtml


"Whilst chatting to my uncle, he revealed some interesting information that I have not heard before about PLUTO (PipeLine Under The Ocean).

My uncle was on salvage operations just after the war and was part of the team that recovered the PLUTO pipeline for salvage purposes, it contained a great deal of lead. He said that there were two types of pipe, one multi-layered that contained the lead and one that was made from steel. They had to oxy-actylene cut the steel pipe at the the previously welded joints after it had been raised and brought onboard ship.

At three of the joints they were surprised to see that something caught fire as they cut the pipe. It turned out that the flames came from wooden bungs, which must have been driven in during the construction phase by somebody to render the pipeline useless."

[/QUOTE]
I suspect this is a mixture of myth and fact.

There were two types of pipe used; the flexible HAIS pipelines which were predominantly lead and were laid as continuous lengths from the cylinders mounted on board the laying ships and the HAMEL pipelines which were steel and were laid from massive towed drums. (The acronyms were taken from the main engineers names).

Both types of pipe were pressurised during manufacture and sealed with a soldered copper bursting disc which was designed to rupture when fuel was pumped. The ends of each section were protected with bungs to prevent the bursting discs from being damaged during handling. These bungs were removed by the jointing crews.

We tend to believe that there was only one pipeline; until I started reading up on PLUTO, I always understood there to have been two pipes, one which was successful and one which failed. I suspect there is an element of wartime propaganda in this common view; in fact, there were two PLUTO routes, not two pipelines. There were 4 "D-Day lines" from the IoW to Cherbourg (two of each type) and a further 17 (11 HAIS and 6 HAMEL) between Dungeness and Boulogne

The Dungeness to Boulogne lines were laid in very strong tidal conditions and the flexible HAIS lines often fouled the much more rigid HAMEL ones and they often got fouled on seabed obstructions. When this occurred, the lines were cut and plugged and new sections let in. I don't have any reference, but I also suspect there were a few failures during laying so many pipelines across the channel and it is quite likely that sections had to be abandoned without being connected and with their plugs intact.

I don't believe there was anything sinister about the wooden plugs!
 
The troube is people think of these as just a pipe. There were tecnological marvels of the day. Concieved, built and tested in a very short period under strict secrecy and trying circumstances. Well done grandads and grans.
 

Spacehopper383

War Hero
IIRC there was a large scale model in the Royal Engineers museum in Chatham, when I went for an Officer acquaint course in 1989. I've never been back, but if it is still there it was an amazing model showing everything from the pumps to the pipelines on the seabed and still being laid; to storage facilities in France.
Does anyone know if it is still on display.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
RIP
My late father in law was involved in this. He had been working as an engineer for Tufnol which is a laminated paper material useful (amongst other things) for underwater bearings as it does not require lubrication. During the war it was used for PLUTO and human torpedoes and in the Lancaster bomber and elsewhere.

http://ahistoryoftufnol.org/
 
My late father in law was involved in this. He had been working as an engineer for Tufnol which is a laminated paper material useful (amongst other things) for underwater bearings as it does not require lubrication. During the war it was used for PLUTO and human torpedoes and in the Lancaster bomber and elsewhere.

http://ahistoryoftufnol.org/
Hard-wearing Tufnell pulley blocks, deck treads, etc., were (and possibly are) also used on board HM warships.
 

Latest Threads

Top