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our Newsletter Page at: http://www.nevilshute.org/newsletter.php
On recently becoming the newsletter editor I nearly succumbed to the
extraordinary power that comes with the job. Suddenly I had the chance to
sway public opinion, influence politicians, pervert the course of justice
and maybe buy a football team of my own.
Annoyingly, I was simultaneously struck by the age-old tradition of
high-minded journalism. Might I not now march side by side with journalist /
statesmen like Benjamin Franklin and Winston Churchill ? Was this not a
chance to do good, change society for the better and to lead my people to
But then I realized I was editing a newsletter for the fans of Nevil Shute
who were already great people so my grab for world domination was unlikely
Anyway, neither Nevil Shute himself nor Keith Stewart in Trustee From The
Tooloom would have approved so Rupert Murdoch's empire is safe from me ....
for the moment.
Still, in pursuing my revolutionary New World Order policy I have run riot
and, wildly drunk with power, decided that because the vast bulk of the
articles are generated from mail, the separate letters section will be
eliminated entirely and all the letters will now be incorporated into the
main body of the newsletter.
Happy New Year to everybody.
Long time Shute fan
of Sydney, Australia, (formerly of The UK)
has recently married Luanne, his partner of many
years. The wedding reception was at the RAF Duxford Officers' Mess in the
same dining room that legless WW2 RAF fighter pilot hero of The Battle of
Britain, Douglas Bader used when he was commanding 242 Squadron. Derek says
that the whole building just oozes history and has not been changed since it
was built in the mid-thirties.
ISLE OF WIGHT AVIATION
of Portsmouth in the UK writes:
I recently came across a book which may be of interest to Shutists.
The Vectis Connection, Pioneering Isle of Wight Air Services by Peter
Newberry is a history of commercial aviation on the South coast of England
in the inter-war period.
There were various joy-riding concerns run by ex RFC/RAF WW1 pilots mainly
using Avro 504s (very Stephen Morris). The book has details of the
establishment of South coast Airports and air transport companies. There is
a chapter devoted to Portsmouth Airport and there are many references to Sir
Alan Cobham and Airspeed. There is only one specific reference to Neville(!)
Shute Norway but there are many interesting photos of Airspeed aircraft many
of which I have not seen before. There are also some excellent colour
reproductions of advertising posters from the period.
On a totally different point, I was interested in the discussion on the AS31
and the location of the cockpit. Having the pilot sit at the rear of the
aircraft reminded me of the Fireflash airliner in Gerry Anderson's
Thunderbirds where the crew sat in the tailplane. (directly below the atomic
And finally I recently discovered that there is a pub called the Clarence in
Southsea in more or less the right location for Landfall, behind Clarence
Parade pier. The building is modern but I'm trying to find out if it
replaced an earlier pub of the same name.
ELEVEN MILES OF TUBING
Andy Banta of Orangevale, California in The USA writes:
As I often do, I was browsing a used book store the other day and found a
book simply titled R100 in Canada by Barry Countryman. It was published in
1982 by the Boston Mills Press. It is a very interesting book with many
pictures of the R 100 under construction and in flight. It talks about many
details of the construction of the airship. For example it tells how 11
inch wide by 0.056 inch thick strips of Duralumin were spiral wound into
tubes with a riveted joint; the R 100 had 11 miles of this tubing in its
frame. There is a very long and detailed section on the flight from the UK
to Canada and back. There are many references to N. S. Norway throughout
the book. It even has a copy of the sheet music for The R 100 with the words
in both English and French; according to the book there were two recordings
of this song. If you are interested in the R 100 I would suggest looking
for a copy of this book.
THE OTHER AIRSPEED AMBASSADOR
of Otford, Seven Oaks, Kent in the UK writes:
Recently I bought the December 2003 issue of the British magazine Aeroplane.
It is honoring the centennial of Wilbur and Orville Wright's first powered
flight on December 17, 1903.
The Bishop's Boys are two of my great heroes. Heroes that include our dear
On page 18 in the Skywriters section is a line drawing of the Airspeed AS 14
Ambassador. The AS 14 was a very attractive twin-engined high-wing single
tailed passenger plane. Unfortunately, this Ambassador never got off the
drawing board. After WW II the concept was resurrected and became the AS 57
Ambassador with a stretched and pressurized body and triple tail. Twenty of
these graceful birds entered service with British European Airways in 1952.
A little late for piston engined airplanes. The Ambassador and the original
Lockheed Constellation were far and away the most beautiful airplanes of the
Also on the same page as the drawing is the following letter titled The
SIR - I can add a tiny piece of the history of the lovely Airspeed
Ambassador (Database, April Aeroplane): there was a pre-war Airspeed design
also called Ambassador. It was then a high-wing twin (radials, I think) not
unlike the D.H. Flamingo, but with a single fin.
How do I know ? A. Hessell Tiltman's son Peter was at prep school with me,
and I was staying with them before the 1939 war. A.H.T. took us around the
factory, and in to meet the formidable N.S. Norway, who talked about the
design from the scale model on his desk.
THE MOST SECRET CURE FOR COLDS
I am just recovering from a nasty Christmas cold. On its third day I found
myself getting a bit testy and impatient at being confined to bed and couch.
Fortunately, I took up Most Secret and was swept away to wartime England and
the adventures of the motley crew of fire breathers. Miseries forgotten I
spent most of the day on the edge of my seat - hard to do lying down -
existing in the world so evenhandedly described by Shute.
This is particularly impressive to me, because I have read this and most of
his books five to ten times each over the
past thirty years. He and Jon Hassler are about the only authors I can
reread with such pleasure.
Delighted to find your website. Please put me down for the newsletter.
THE UNSINKABLE LADY MACKWORTH
of Mitcham, Surrey, The UK writes:
I noticed a mention of Lady Mackworth in your first newsletter. My parents
(and Aunt) worked for Lady Mackworth, but I have only very recently taken up
the challenge of finding out about her. I know she was on the Lusitania when
it was torpedoed, and a little bit about Welsh mining, but not much else. If
you have any information, or a contact who might, I would be very
Editor's Comment: The Lusitania !!! - It seems to me that you only have to
learn a little about Nevil Shute and his friends to learn the complete
history of the first half of the 20th Century. Lady Mackworth, who I believe
is still alive and well, was a contemporary of Shute's in the 1940s at
THE RAINBOW AND THE ROSE COUNTRY
of Tasmania, Australia write:
Chris had a good voyage down from Brisbane in March with a crew of three
aboard (the Morton's beautifully crafted, home built yacht) An Old Captivity
and we're looking forward to a few good outings in the summer season.
We were sorry to miss UK2003. Sounds as though it was every bit as good as
OZ2001, but retirement has left us on a more limited budget so we'll have to
enjoy future gatherings vicariously.
It has been exciting to have had so many synchronistic happenings regarding
The Rainbow and the Rose over the past few months, and to have our
suspicions confirmed by Heather (Mayfield - Nevil Shute's daughter), that
her father loved the Port Davey area and definitely used the King family
(and their settlement, Melaleuca) as his inspiration for the book.
of the UK writes:
I received a book called 'Backroom Boys' for Christmas which includes a
passage as a front piece from Samuel Smiles, Industrial Biography, 1863 as
'Kings, warriors, and statesmen have heretofore monopolised not only the
pages of history, but those of biography. Surely some niche ought to be
found for the Mechanic, without whose labour and skill society, as it is,
could not exist. I do not begrudge destructive heroes their fame, but the
constructive ones ought not to be forgotten; and there IS a heroism of skill
and toil belonging to the latter class, worthy of as grateful record, - less
perilous and romantic, full of the results of human energy, bravery, and
The rest of the book is quite interesting as well!
of Melbourne, Australia writes:
I taught myself to reverse a tractor and trailer by using the `Shute method'
i.e. visualizing the whole unit from above. Once one does this, reversing
Editor's Comment: John is referring to the AS31 aeroplane design idea and
also a scene in In The Wet. In both of these the pilot is able to observe
and accurately control the plane from above and behind.
of Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA wrote to
subscribe. He also noted:
Remember .... Never let any mechanical object realize that you are in a
My question in last months newsletter about how to find the equivalent
amount today of prices from the past generated more mail than I thought
possible. Perhaps we should become an economics newsletter instead. (ho ho
I learned a lot of interesting stuff. I hope non-money-obsessed Shute fans
don't mind if I report some of the details that are quite irrelevant to
Nevil Shute but kind of fun anyway.
told me that a US Navy Chief Petty
Officer was paid $157.50 in 1940 after 16 years service whereas a 16 years
of service Able Seaman only got $26.25. (I don't know if this is weekly,
fortnightly or monthly) In 1942 Allans brother worked in a grocery store for
$5- a week, a school teacher earned $495 per year. $495- would buy a new
1939-40 model Ford coupe. A brand-new Piper Cub aeroplane cost no more than
wrote that in 1972 a new
Nissan/Datsun 240Z coupe sports car with air conditioning was priced at
$4567- Australian. A few years before that the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
was priced at about $25,000 in Australia.
About 1966 Ken bought a pair of Florshiem men's shoes for something more
than $17 Australian.
I (Richard Michalak) bought a good meal for two at The Larkspur Inn near San
Francisco in 1976 for $17.76. I remember the price because it was the USA's
Bicentennial Year and 1776 was everywhere so we rolled about laughing when
we got the bill.
You can find calculators and tables for these values on the following
of Albuquerque, New mexico
recommended this excellent calculator at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve
Bank site for US Conversions of past amounts to present day values,
Other useful websites are:
US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Table Containing History of CPI-U U.S. From 1913 to Present:
There are many good links at:
THE NEVIL SHUTE FOUNDATION
Happy New Year to All from the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation Board of
NSN DISCUSSION BOARD
The Nevil Shute Norway discussion board is nearly ready to be launched. Our
Webmaster Jack Calaway has been working very hard behind the scenes setting
up a framework for the discussion board. When launched it will make the
site the ultimate source of information on all things Shute, and will
provide a valuable forum for the exchange of news, views & books, et al.
Watch This Space as they say!
NEVIL SHUTE TRANSLATIONS
The Translations section of the website has been updated to include details
of Nevil Shute books in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish & Japanese.
Many thanks to the dedicated Shutists who have provided information for
this. If you have anything to add, please mail Steph Gallagher directly at
THOUGHTS FROM UK2003
There was talk at UK2003 of several ideas to increase our membership. One
was to ask House of Stratus and other current producers of Nevil Shute books
if they would consider including a Foundation Bookmark in any Nevil Shute
books that are shipped. Has anyone followed up on this and, if not, are
there any volunteers to contact publishers, produce bookmarks, etc.? Any
other ideas to be pursued ? If so, please mail Steph Gallagher directly at
UK Shutists are very eager to organise an informal get together some time in
spring/summer. This will not be on the scale of UK2003, but probably will
be held over a weekend. To date Oxford and York have been mentioned as
possible venues. If you would like to get involved in organising this
event, have ideas as to what it should contain, or would just like to know a
bit more, please contact Steph Gallagher directly at
NEVIL SHUTE LIBRARY, UK BRANCH
The UK branch of the Nevil Shute library is now open for business. Full
details of the holdings can be found on the website within the BIBLIOGRAPHY
section. All items can be borrowed for free, however borrowers are asked to
make a contribution towards postage & packaging. Other branch libraries can
be found in the USA and Australia. Details of these are also on the
Unfortunately, a series of delays has been experienced and the Library will
likely not be opened again until sometime around the end of January. Please
be patient and consult the Lending Library page on the Web Site for progress
The six copies each of A Town Like Alice, Landfall, Round the Bend, and
Trustee from the Toolroom have been received by Dr. Bloy, our new Librarian
in the Peoples Republic of China, and are already being put to good use by
her students (and by Dr. Bloy and her colleagues). Future plans call for
follow up gifts of audio books of these four novels plus a video set of the
A Town Like Alice Masterpiece Theater series.
DONATIONS AND BEQUESTS
Donations to the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation, either through the PayPal
button on the web site home page, or through email@example.com are
Also, anyone interested in leaving a bequest to the Nevil Shute Norway
Foundation is encouraged to contact the Foundation Secretary at
That completes this month's newsletter.
I live in the very beautiful city of Sydney, Australia, which was once
described by a delayed, frustrated and Customs-infuriated Nevil Shute as An
Ugly Town, Full Of Drunks or AUTFOD.
All the best from AUTFOD
Nevil Shute Foundation Historian and Newsletter Editor
Please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org