Hurst Green


Warren Lane

PLUTO (end of line in Tandridge) For the invasion of Europe on D-Day, 6 June 1944 it was necessary to provide the tens of thousands of vehicles landed on the beaches on Normandy in the first few days with large quantities of fuel. In preparation for this, flexible 3 inch diameter pipes were invented which could be fabricated in lengths sufficient to, be laid like submarine cables across the channel in a few hours. The routes across the English Channel are from the Isle of Wight to Cherbourg and from Dungeness to Boulogne. The military code name for the system was PLUTO-PiPe Line Under the Ocean.  The fuel to the English terminals was provided by underground pipelines along which petroleum, from principally Avonmouth in the west of England, could be pumped. The route to Dungeness passes through Tandridge District and some of it is very easy to trace. It is marked with characteristic concrete posts which are generally painted white. To the untutored eye they resemble neglected fence posts. Otherwise they are immediately recog- nisable. In the event PLUTO was not available for D-Day but had to await the fall of Cherbourg. It was not therefore in position until 41 days after D-Day. The lines to Boulogne were not in operation until almost 1945 and played no  part at all in the actual invasion. In 1993 the pipe-lines for PLUTO was still in use but an ESSO underground pipe line had also been laid across Tandridge.


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