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Inside Operation Pharos: The War Journal of Major Cyril Cooper, Royal Engineers

Judith A. Fortney with Francis O’Keefe

Pages: 308
ISBN: 978-145753-171-2
List Price: 25.00
Category: Nonfiction
Available: June 2015
Edition: Perfectbound

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In late 1944 the war-ravaged Allies needed a base from which to press their growing advantage in the Far East. On a remote coral atoll in the Indian Ocean they launched a top-secret plan to build an air fi eld right under the noses of the Japanese. Code name: Operation Pharos.

Inside Operation Pharos: The War Journal of Major Cyril Cooper, Royal Engineers describes the efforts of the men who, with inventiveness and typical British pluck, but limited resources, managed to accomplish this feat in a few short weeks.

Major Cyril Cooper (the author’s father) was responsible for fuel installations on the airfi eld. He left behind a paper trail of documents and photographs that tell a magnifi cent story of his experiences and the challenges – both engineering and logistic – facing the Sappers in their task. Though the war ended within a few months of completion of the base, the Royal Air Force, as well as the air forces of several other nations, made many bombing and reconnaissance raids over Malaya, Burma, Singapore and the Dutch East Indies from this base and loosened the Japanese stronghold in the Indian Ocean.

Judith Fortney was a small child when her father left for the Far East. She discovered many of the documents leading to the writing of this book after her father’s death in 2002. Staff Sergeant Francis O’Keefe, served in a different unit from Major Cooper during Operation Pharos; his team of divers built the all-important undersea pipeline which carried fuel from ships to the waiting airplanes.