Marconi Books

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Where PLUTO Crossed the Path

By John Farthing and Tim Wander

Picture of Tim wander
Tim Wander

A new book that will turn the established history of the Second World War on its head.

Four years ago two Isle of Wight historians came together to reassess and reappraise the famous PLUTO project and to understand exactly what happened with this hugely ambitious, but ultimately doomed project. They quickly realised that there were many problems with the written history, many questions and many statements that didn’t make sense.

Their new book is really two books in one. It offers a new explanation of the PLUTO project and provides the reader with 23 guided walks and detailed maps so they can literally find the clues and signs of the great pipeline and the pumping stations that have been all but lost over the past 75 years.

But their research turned up some-thing else. The published histories are wrong. PLUTO was not the success that saved the allied invasion. Indeed, immediately after the war a propaganda campaign actively sought to hide the truth and possibly justify the huge expenditure of man hours and resources just before the invasion and D-Day. Even Churchill and Eisenhower added to the subterfuge.

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Operation PLUTO (Pipe-Lines Under The Ocean) - was a highly ambitious engineering project to design, develop and construct undersea pipelines to carry petroleum fuel under the English Channel to support Operation OVERLORD, the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6th June 1944.

The route that PLUTO took across the Isle of Wight started at the Thorness beach terminal, and via a pumping station at Whippance Farm it then took a 14 miles’ route across the Island. The pipeline looped around Parkhurst Forest and Newport to eventually arrive at the huge storage tanks hidden in Hungerberry Wood above Shanklin. From there pipes fed two pumping stations. One was housed in a derelict hotel in Shanklin, the other in a part demolished Victorian fort and a golf clubhouse at Sandown. Today, 75 years on, the route of the pipeline and the buildings associated with PLUTO have all but disappeared. But if you look closely there are tantalising clues spread across the Island and those clues tell a far different story of the PLUTO project on the Isle of Wight.

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Limited number of books available signed by both authors for £14.95 plus £3.95 p+p