PLUTO pipe line under the ocean

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by High Wood, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I thought that you might like to see this snapshot from my collection. Presumably taken in England as the pipeline appears to be still coiled around the drum.

    I am not sure of the date of the photograph but the fact that civilians are posing in front of it in what would have been a military area suggests that it might be slightly post war and certainly post D Day.

    Attached Files:

    Paul Reed likes this.
  2. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Here is the caption from the back of the photograph.

    Attached Files:

  3. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    I would have thought that a photograph of a Pre D-Day PLUTO Bobbin would have been taken only by an official source.

    As this photo appears to be private in nature, perhaps this was one not used and ended up beached?

    Looks like slight damage to the flange.

  4. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member


    it is probably one that wasn't used. It may have been damaged or had broken loose in a storm and was too big to move or, moving it wasn't a priority. As the caption says," it had 30 miles of 4" pipe" that no one could think of a use for. There was almost certainly a hose pipe ban that summer and nobody dared touch it.

    It probably lay on the beach for years.
  5. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

  6. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  7. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    Another amazing bit of history - this forum shows how little I know.
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Some of the pumping stations for PLUTO still survive today near Dungeness in Kent
  9. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    If I am reading this right: What was D-Day?

    The IWM calles the "D-Day PLUTO Bobbins" a "large drum of pipe called a ‘Conundrum’ "


    Bringing over fuel
    To provide enough fuel for the thousands of vehicles in France a plan was devised to lay a pipe under the sea and pump the petrol across from Britain. This was less risky than transporting fuel in ships which were vulnerable to German attack. This photo shows petrol pipes wound around the large drum of pipe called a ‘Conundrum’ ready to be laid on the sea floor. Pluto was a success, guaranteeing a fuel supply for Allied vehicles.

    Just to see what else they have on "Conundrums": Search | Imperial War Museums

    They do have a bit of film too...
    WAR PICTORIAL NEWS NO 217 [Main Title]

    Which is currently (as at mid May 2018) available to view online, 10mins or so of Newsreel film, and there is a description of its contents etc. mentioning "Pluto bobbins" and "HMS Conundrum":

    Object description
    An edition of the British official newsreel "War Pictorial News", produced by the Ministry of Information, Middle East.
    Full description
    I. 'NEWS FROM ENGLAND.' A map of South East England and Northern France shows the direction (via Dungeness, Boulogne, Calais) of the undersea pipe line for oil and petrol supplying the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe (PLUTO- Pipe Line Under The Ocean). Panoramic footage shows the PLUTO pumping station at Dungeness which has been designed to look like a holiday camp complete with "Brown's Ice Cream" parlour and dummy holiday chalets. Interior footage shows PLUTO pipeline being manufactured. Male factory workers unwind steel pipe from a large industrial bobbin. Insulation tape and hot bitumen is applied to the steel piping to protect it from corrosion by sea water. Tugs of the Royal Navy (RN) manoeuvre the bulky sea-going PLUTO bobbin which has been dubbed HMS Conundrum by the RN. PLUTO pipeline is unwound from the floating bobbin and marker buoys are deployed from the stern of an RN tug. A map shows the fuel pipe lines extending to Ghent, Antwerp and Eindhoven. A member of the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) plots PLUTO flow direction and pumping pressures on a wall-mounted chart. Stock shot footage shows British infantry carrying Lee-Enfield No.IV .303-inch rifles and reloading canisters for a PIAT (Projector Infantry Anti-Tank) as they walk past an M4 Sherman tank fitted with extra-wide track links. FIDO (Fog Intensive Dispersal Of) equipment is ignited at a fog-shrouded Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command airfield. Heat rises from the petrol-fuelled FIDO burners as fog is slowly dispersed. Aerial footage shows parallel lies of FIDO burners acting in their secondary role as runway markers. An Avro Lancaster bomber aircraft lands between FIDO burners (no squadron codes).

    Full description
    III. 'JERUSALEM-KING'S BIRTHDAY PARADE.' Lord John S S P V Gort, High Commissioner for Palestine and Transjordan takes the salute at a march-past in Jerusalem (Palestine) held in celebration of King George VI's birthday. Civilian crowds sit on the roof of a nearby building owned by Shell International to get a better view of the parade. Humber Mk IV 4x4 armoured cars and White M3A1 4x4 scout cars drive past the saluting base. Contingents drawn from the Royal Navy (RN) and army march past as Royal Air Force (RAF) Consolidated B-24 Liberator aircraft overfly the event. Members of the Transjordanian (Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan) Camel Corps and Arab Legion bring up the rear of the march past.
    Aixman likes this.
  10. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    There's a piece of it outside the library where I live (Marden in Kent). I'll take a photo on my way home tonight.
  11. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    If you visit the Museum in the Chines on the Isle of Wight, you can see an original piece of pipeline that was used on D-day as it was laid across the channel from that location.
  12. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Whats was D-Day

    this bloke was involved
  13. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  14. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    A section outside the Marden Library.

    Attached Files:

    High Wood, Ramiles and Seroster like this.

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