Our Colonies in the War: No. 4 - Ascension

The War Illustrated, Volume 7, No. 177, Page 682, March 31, 1944.

Thirty-four square miles Ascension Island occupies an important place in the war effort of the British Empire. Discovered by a Portuguese, Joao da Nova, in 1501, on Ascension Day, it remained uninhabited until after the arrival of Napoleon as a prisoner on St. Helena, when it was garrisoned by the British Government and administered by the Admiralty, who names the island H.M.S. Ascension. In 1922 it became part of the dependency of the colony of St. Helena and passed into the jurisdiction of the Colonial Office.

Most vital role played by Ascension Island is a wireless station relaying messages from all parts of the word. The company of Cable and Wireless Ltd. are in charge of this important work; they control a 300,000-mile chain of telegraph routes. Except for a handful of native guano workers, the cables staff, their families and servants, are the only inhabitants: they have transformed this island of 39 craters, dominated by the 2,500-ft. Green Mountain, into a habitable link in the chain of the Empire. Position of Ascension is 2,000 miles from W. Africa, it is equi-distant between W. Africa and S. America and is 3,350 miles by air from the nearest West Indian port.

It has also become a ferry-point for Allied planes; a U.S. aircraft comes in to land through a cloud of sooty terns or Wideawake birds. U.S. Army tents in an area where engineers have hacked out of the mountainous terrain runways for the planes passing through the island.

Articles in the Britain's Colonies in the War category