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TRUSTEE YACHTING INSPIRATION
riginally from Sydney, Australia and now
of Bangkok, Thailand writes:
Regarding the loss of the yacht in Trustee.. it is widely believed and I
think Shute acknowledged the fact that this was based on Miles Smeeton's
book Once is Enough. .... Smeeton was an intriguing person, he ran away with
the wife of his Commanding Officer in India when he was serving with the
British army and sailed from India to the UK.
John Henry also wrote:
The people (sorry their name escapes me at the moment) in TFTT were using
their boat as a vehicle to smuggle capital out of England at a time when it
was forbidden to do so. They did this by secreting precious stones in the
The Smeetons did much the same thing. They were pretty adventurous people,
Miles having been a Colonel(?) in some flash regiment and his wife, Beryl
having been a famous mountain climber, at one time holding a record for
After the war, disappointed with England, they wanted to emigrate to Canada
but could not take their capital out of England. They bought a boat,
spending most of their capital on it, with the intention of sailing it to
Canada and selling it. In other words, the boat itself was smuggling
They got to Canada, decided not to sell the boat and started a sheep farm in
Later they made a series of voyages including the one in which they were
capsized and dismasted.
Shute met them at a yacht harbor in Australia and became friends with them.
Later he wrote both the forward and afterward to their book.
They actually wrote, I think, 3 books. All three are excellent reading.
The more I read and read about Shute, the more I found was based on Shute's
real life experiences or real life experiences of others that he had gotten
more or less 1st hand. A truly amazing author.
I so enjoyed the (website Favourite Character) review regarding Noel
Strachan. There was a poignant quality about him I've always been taken by.
Joe was a fine man, but I'd have picked Noel. I think the same qualities
were present in the main character in Lonely Road. The actor who played Noel
in the video series was perfect for the role.
Editor's Comment: In the mini-series of Alice, Noel Strachan was played by
that brilliant British actor Gordon Jackson. That always-valuable movie
information resource: www.imdb.com reveals that Jackson was born on the
19th of December 1923 in Glasgow, Scotland. He worked consistently as an
actor from the age of 20 but the public didn't really discover him until
1971 with London Weekend Television's classic 'Upstairs Downstairs'. Gordon
Jackson died on the 14th of January 1990.
BRENDA, AMY, BILL AND CHUBBIE / PIED PIPER / SHUTE-RELATED MODELS
writes on several topics:
Amy Johnson / Brenda Marshall both gave names to their Moth's. Amy Johnson '
Jason' and Brenda Marshall ' Morgan la Fey'.
Did Shute actually meet Amy Johnson? She was from Hull, which is approx.
30/40 miles (kilometres not known!!) from Sherburn-in-Elmet.
Editor's Interruption: According to Henry Cutting, Shute met Amy Johnson
while at Airspeed in Portsmouth between 1933 and 1938. For the
non-metricated 30 to 40 kilometres = 18 to 24 miles.
There was a very interesting article in the Sunday Times (UK) yesterday,
29th February, in the magazine section entitled 'Love is in the Air' about
Bill Lancaster (Brit) & Chubbie Miller (Oz) and the murder trial in the US.
Were elements of this included in 'Rainbow & The Rose'?
The fact that Lancaster couldn't divorce his wife to marry Miller (because
his wife was a Roman Catholic) was a well known story in the 1930's -
strikes me as interesting.
Shute would certainly have known the story.
The photograph of Lancaster is how I imagine Stenning to look. (Lancaster &
Miller's aeroplane was called 'Red Rose' - which is the symbol for
Lancashire (UK) as opposed to a white rose which is the symbol for Yorkshire
(UK). Shute was secretary of the Yorkshire Aeroplane Club based at Sherburn,
whose symbol is a white rose. I, too, was a member of the Yorkshire
Aeroplane Club in the mid seventies, when they were based at Yeadon in
Leeds. Unfortunately, the only photograph of me wearing a YAC pullover is
more me and less pullover!
Editor's Interruption: If you search on the internet for Lancaster Miller
Murder Trial you should find stories relating to the above. When I read
about it I was even more struck that the writers of the movie The English
Patient (1996) must have been inspired by this story as many of the
characters and situations are very similar.
With regard to 'Pied Piper', I had the privilege to know Bro. Maurice
McCluskey, a Catholic brother of the De La Salle order, who sadly died last
year aged 93 years on 31st January. Born in Liverpool in 1909 (like me - not
the same year!!) He was only 13 when he went to Guernsey and became familiar
with the French language. In 1927 he volunteered to go to France to become
a member of staff in the Brother's School in Nantes. In 1940 he experienced
'Dunkirk' leaving his beloved France for England on one of the last
evacuation troopships and landed in Plymouth (UK). As he arrived in Southsea
in 1940, and as a civilian, had worked his way through France (there is a
rumour - he brought French schoolboys with him) and that Shute was still
living in Southsea at the time.
Was he part of the inspiration for 'Mr. Howard'? Investigations pending -
will keep you posted!!
On Shute-related models: The Marquette model of the R100 was displayed at
UK2003 (the little plastic one). The airship itself is quite a good model,
but I have doubts about its accuracy. I think it is based on the ancient
Frog model of the R34 (the tail fins are the wrong shape for the R100). The
stand looks like a good idea - but doesn't really work!
For UK model makers - Hannants is your best bet (for a model of R100), as
that is where I purchased mine.(Others: Hannants do an international
service). I'm sure that if you contact
they will help you out.
Trumpeter are about to release a 1:48 scale model of the Wellington
(designed by Barnes Wallis and mentioned in 'Landfall', 'Pastoral' and
others). I feel that the guy from 'Rugrats' with his models of Courier
(Envoy) and Ambassador deserves a lot of credit. All are still available
through Hannants in the UK - as far as I know.
FOR SOME SHUTE WENT OFF
of Nelson Bay, NSW, Australia writes:
I have been following the newsletters for years now and was planning to
attend the get together in May but it now clashes with the Royal Wedding in
Copenhagen. I would love to join the NS boffins but will have to miss it.
Hope you all have a great time.
I bought my first Nevil Shute book in 1952 after the serialisation in the
Australian Womens' Weekly around that time.
I used to layby and pay them off 4/- per week?? However I now have of course
most of his books but stopped buying them after Requiem for a Wren. You
could say I went OFF the dear man's books though I will always treasure the
ones I have and go back every few years and have another read of them. My
favourite no doubt is A Town Like Alice. I have the video with Bryan Brown
as Joe having purchased it at the National Cinesound Archive and Museum in
Canberra a couple of years ago.
Editor's Comment: Jane is not alone out there. About 15 years ago I met a
woman on a bus who saw I was reading Nevil Shute. She had been avidly
reading the books as they came out from the 1940s. She complained similarly
that Shute had gone off the tracks with all the thought transference etc in
the 1950s. She remained an ardent fan of his the earlier work.
Incidentally, Shute was fascinated by the Lay-By purchasing system and he
considered it an Australian invention. When you bought something on a Lay-By
you gave the store a deposit and paid the item off weekly. When it was paid
off you could take the item home. Lay-By still exists but has been mainly
overtaken by credit cards.
THE ENIGMATIC HESSEL TILTMAN
When I think of Hessel Tiltman I have, up to now, only seen the negative
side of things as I understood that Shute and Tiltman's relationship ended
on a permanently sour note. I had read that one of the primary reasons Shute
left Airspeed was because of arguments with Tiltman. This seemed sad to me.
I have since come upon an interview with Tiltman's widow, Miriam, in The
Portsmouth News of Thursday April 22 1976. (please don't be impressed by
assuming I spend ALL my spare time combing through old copies of the
Portsmouth News - when I need a break I read the Encyclopaedia Britannica)
From the article I gathered that Tiltman had died. (I have no dates for him)
Miriam, who in The Tiltman's story came up with the name Airspeed after
Shute had only specified it should start with an A, said that Tiltman's
favourite design was Airspeed's radio controlled target plane The Queen
Wasp. (see the website's Photo Album for 1936) Apparently when WW2 started
the order for 19 Queen Wasps was cancelled. Tiltman said this was because
now there would now be enough live targets.
After Shute left Airspeed, Tiltman stayed on to design The Horsa Glider but
was himself given the old heave-ho in 1942 when de Havillands took over
I get the impression that Tiltman was a quiet and studious man and the
reports of the departure of Shute suggested that considerable bad blood had
arisen him and Shute. I always assumed that the toughness and strong
headedness that Shute must have built up being a managing director of a
company in a continuing live or die situation may have hurt Tiltman's
Once people have died their relatives are sometimes a little less reserved
about speaking negatively about the deceased's relationships. However, in
this interview after both Tiltman's and Shute's deaths, Miriam Tiltman
affirmed that Tiltman had maintained an enduring faith in Shute. She did not
mention the falling out at all.
In his 2 volumes of diaries written in green ink, Tiltman had spoken of
Shute providing the Brains and Drive and making Superhuman Efforts at
Airspeed. Tiltman wrote that in times of financial crisis he had 100% faith
in Norway for, he wrote, If anyone can get us out of trouble, I think he
As they were now both dead I doubt if Miriam would have been so positive
about Shute if she had disliked him intensely because of a soured
relationship with her husband. On the other hand she may have been being
very English in not wanting to speak ill of the dead.
Miriam Tiltman lived in a flat on the seafront of Bognor Regis.
Dragging myself away from reading the giant library version of The Oxford
English Dictionary cover to cover, I did a little further research and found
Andy Burgess' review of Gerald Middleton's book about Airspeed on our own
website. Andy writes:
As a source for information on Nevil Shute Norway however, one has to read
between the lines due to Middleton's close association with Tiltman. By 1938
Norway and Tiltman were in conflict over the future of the company. This
resulted finally in Norway leaving to pursue his writing.
Middleton suggests that Norway was never an easy man to deal with, and
Tiltman originally decided to resign and wrote to inform Lord Grimthorpe.
When criticised for his action by Grimthorpe Tiltman reconsidered and then
put it to the board to decide between them. Norway went. The reason given is
that they could get a new Managing Director more easily than an aircraft
Designer, however Middleton states that Tiltman was then appointed Managing
Director. Relations between the two remained strained until Norway died
(Middleton erroneously states in 1962).
Clearly this was a turning point in Norway's life and this book is
interesting if only to study the background and lead up to this event.
Did Tiltman conspire to oust Norway who he may have felt was overshadowing
him in the company? In aviation terms Norway had a startling career. Working
up to be Project Manager of the R100 at only 30, then starting his own
company and being elected a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society at only
34. Tiltman, slightly older, appears to have been more of a 'back-room'
person, but was undoubtedly still ambitious and forthright. After de
Havilland took over control of the company there were disagreements and
Tiltman himself left Airspeed in 1942.
Middleton recognises Norway's strengths describing him as one of that rare
breed, a first class technical man with a good appreciation of marketing.
However when he recounts the use by Norway of the economics of the Airspeed
Ferry against rail travel he comments that Norway lost some 'commercial
sense' as he made no allowance for overheads or profit. I think Middleton
lacks some commercial sense himself, as there would have been little point
in using figures that showed rail travel cheaper. I think this actually
illustrates Norway's more cavalier tendencies in manipulating figures to get
an advantage for his company. Shades of Henry Warren in Ruined City. Not
illegal, however somewhat 'sharp' practice.
One interesting statement Middleton makes is that Norway was carrying out
market research for the original biplane project he planned for Airspeed
whilst in Montreal with the R100. Had he already planned to leave the
airship project before the R101 disaster?
I would definitely recommend this book as background to Nevil Shute Norway's
life and indeed as a generally good 'read', particularly if aviation is your
interest. The book is out of print and getting a copy might be difficult,
mine came from New Zealand. However it has a good quality binding and copies
should have survived well.
Anyone with more information about Hessell Tiltman in encouraged to contact
me. We have no photos other than what is on the website and no biographical
information on this interesting man. Some 19th Century communist of the same
name pops up when you search on Google but I have grave doubts he is the
same guy although a communist philosopher / aircraft designer working as a
partner to Nevil Shute is a very interesting combination.
AUSTRALIAN WEATHER / BEER-LESS PUBS
Dan Telfair writes:
In Slim Dusty's When the Rain tumbles Down in July, he describes the
flooding that can occur during that month - presumably in the wet. Nevil
Shute describes the rainy season in In the Wet, as being from December
through March. Obviously, we have two authorities of impeccable credentials
who are at odds. Is this a matter of different rainy seasons in different
parts of Australia?
Editor's Comment: In southern Australia July is a winter month and there is
In the northern tropical areas they just have The Wet and The Dry. The Wet
is roughly from December to March.
Slim Dusty is a famous Australian country singer who died recently having
recorded over 100 albums. His first big hit and one of Australia's most well
known songs came out in, I think, 1957 and was called The Pub With No Beer.
Shute would doubtless have heard the song.
We have recently discovered the location of Airspeed's company records in
England and a mini-team of dedicated UK Shute researchers will be scouring
them soon. Watch this space.
Researching a 1981 Portsmouth News article on Flora Twort has revealed that
Portsmouth Council probably placed the plaque at 14 Helena Rd in 1981.
Even more research (I was rather bored at the time having finished
translating all of Confucius from the original Chinese into hieroglyphics)
has revealed that in 1961, a year after Shute's death, the Portsmouth
Council renamed a road at Portsmouth Airport from its original rather
dignified and commercially attractive name to Norway Road in Nevil Shute's
What was the previous name of the road ?
With no offence to Shute intended, I am not surprised they wanted to rename
this attractive and prestigious address and were probably desperately
searching around for someone, anyone, to honour.
RUINED CITY WAS TO BE FILMED AS ROMAN CITY
of LeHigh University writes:
As I now have access to a searchable record of NY Times editions starting in
the 1800's, I naturally searched on Nevil Shute. Among the many hits, I
learned that after the publication of Kindling, MGM acquired film rights and
was moving ahead to film this story.
From the April 25, 1939 edition:
Robert Donat Gets the Lead in 'Roman City, to Be Made by Metro Studio in
Robert Donat will be starred in Nevil Shute's Kindling to be made in London,
Metro announced today.
The picture, known for a time as Ruined City, has been retitled Roman City.
King Vidor will direct.
Clearly this never came to fruition. Too bad -- Donat was an accomplished
actor, and Vidor directed some outstanding films. I suspect that the start
of WW II put an end to this project. I wonder if MGM still has the film
rights? I wonder if a script was ever written? I wonder why Roman City?
Editor's Comment: Robert Donat (1905 - 1958) was one of those great stars of
the 30s who are relatively unknown now but were very good. He starred in The
39 Steps (1935) and Goodbye Mr Chips (1939).
Ruined City was published as Kindling in the USA.
I would encourage any of you who have signed up for special search
privileges to do a similar search to Beall's and share the results.
A TOWN LIKE ALICE - A MINI-SERIES SET IN A DVD AND VIDEO DESERT
of Pennsauken, NJ, The USA writes:
Recently my family and I purchased my grandmother a DVD player, something we
hope she'll use well. Her biggest concern with the conversion from VHS to
DVD is the inability to play perhaps her favorite film of all time, A Town
Like Alice (1980, PBS Mobil Masterpiece Theatre Mini-Series Version). After
speaking with AnchorBay Entertainment, those who distributed the film years
ago, they claim to no longer have the rights to produce the DVD. In hopes
that this film can be saved and remastered - is it known who has the rights
to the film (i.e., A company? Or is it an individual?). I am curious as to
whom for I hope to contact them (if a company) and find whether or not they
plan in releasing the film in the near future, or at least to make it know
there is interest (though it is doubtful it may be considered).
I thank you sincerely, for your time and any help you can give.
Editor's Comment: So far we can't help Jeffrey but if anyone ever sees a DVD
of Alice please let us know asap.
WEBSITE - MODEL ENGINEERING PAGE
Steph Gallagher is considering updating the Engineering section of the
website to include a page dedicated to MODEL ENGINEERING. If you have some
thoughts on what you would to see included on such a page, or would like to
contribute and/or help design it, she would love to hear from you. Write to
ALICE - A TRUE STORY ?
Nicola Wilding writes:
I've been an absolute fan of A Town like Alice, both book and film for
almost 20 years now (having first read it when I was 10). I know that the
novel was based on a true story but I wondered if your foundation knows
anything more about the true events that inspired this work? Who were the
real characters involved for example? How much of the book did actually take
Editor's Comment: A Town Like Alice is, like most of Shute's books, a
gathering of Shute's own experiences and his understanding of the
experiences of others. A tour through the website album will explain a lot
about many of his books. Please go to
In there you will find that Jean Paget's father's death was modelled after
the death of Shute's old friend Tom Laing, who died in 1948 by falling
asleep at the wheel and hitting a railroad bridge.
On December 17 1948 Shute met Jimmie Ringer Edwards at Glenmore Station in
Queensland. Later Edwards inspires Joe Harman in A Town Like Alice. Jimmie
was effectively crucified by the Japanese for 63 hours
as punishment but survived. The other two prisoners with him died. This
crucifixion of 3 with one surviving to live again was a very biblical image
and Shute liked biblical images. On another occasion Jimmie was sentenced to
death but released when his last meal request of beer and chicken was
unobtainable. All this made its way into Alice.
In the album is a photo of the real Strand Hotel where the real Nevil Shute
ate his meals when in Cairns and the fictional Joe Harman and Jean Paget
drank beer on the balcony.
There is also a photo of the swimming pool in Alice Springs beside which
both the real Nevil Shute and the fictional Jean Paget relaxed with Mrs
Connellan / McLean and other young Alice Springs women. McLean Airways in
Alice is modelled on the real life Connellan Airways based in Alice Springs.
On February 10 1949 Shute met Mrs Geysel-Vonck who was the wife of the Shell
representative at Palembang on Sumatra. During WW2 Mrs Geysel-Vonck and a
group of women had a difficult time being shunted from prison camp to prison
camp by the Japanese.
There is no Willstown where it is described although the location is real,
but the description of it before Jean transformed it was based on relatively
nearby and equally desolate Burketown.
Most of the elements of Shute's stories were essentially true in spirit but
sadly for diehard romantics, the people who were the inspirations for Jean
and Joe never met.
A LITTLE PROBLEM
of the Departments Biochemistry or
University of Stellenbosch in South Africa writes:
I have a little problem...will you solve it for me, please ?
I cannot seem to find the right equations that will enable me to work my way
About 70 years ago hydrogen gas was used to fill gas cells for great
airships that were used to travel across the Atlantic Ocean. The mass of
such a ship is 40 metric tons (1 metric ton = 1 000 kg) - this includes the
ship's contraction material, the mass of the passengers and their baggage,
but it excludes the mass of hydrogen gas. Flight height is 3 000 m above sea
level, where air pressure is 72 kPa abs. and temp is 8 degrees Celsius (281
This pressure and temp is also applicable to the ship's hydrogen filling.
1) What is the volume of the ship's hydrogen filling in cubic meters?
2) What is the mass of hydrogen gas in kg?
Data: R = 8 314 J/kmol K
M (air) = 29 kg/kmol; M (hydrogen gas) = 2 kg/kmol
UK R- 2004 LOOMS
Preparation for the R-2004 re-union meeting at York in May is going well.
We have 15 people attending and a full programme for the weekend.
Further details can be obtained for the following Web Pages:
We are not yet fully booked, so if anyone else is interested please contact
me at: J_C_Anderson@btopenworld.com
Editor's Comment: I would encourage anyone who might be able to make it to
It is very gratifying to, for once, not see people's eyes glaze over when
you talk about Nevil Shute. (but then again I am gratified when people's
eyes don't glaze over whenever I talk to them about anything)
We 500 Shutists worldwide comprise only 0.0000001% or one ten millionth of
the world's population so we have to stick together and give each other
moral support whenever and wherever possible.
REQUIEM-RELEVANT BOOK LAUNCH
Those of you who were fortunate enough to meet the author John Stanley at
Exbury during NSN 2003, may remember he mentioned his forthcoming book which
details the shooting down of the plane in Nevil Shute's novel, Requiem for a
Wren. The book 'The Exbury Junkers: A World War II Mystery', should be
published fairly soon.
The de Rothschild's have kindly agreed to host a reception at Exbury Gardens
on Saturday 17 April, to mark the publication. The date has been chosen to
coincide with the 60th anniversary of the German bomber crash.
UK Shutist David Dawson-Taylor will be attending the book launch on behalf
of the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation and has very kindly offered to obtain
some signed copies on behalf of foundation members. If you are interested
in obtaining a signed copy (cost likely to be £9.95 + p&p), please contact
directly as soon as
possible and by 13th APRIL 2004 at the very latest. When paying David, you
will need to let him have a cheque in £sterling, drawn against a UK major
bank, however, please do not send him any money until you have corresponded
with him and he has instructed you on payment. After the launch, the book
will be available via mail order from the publisher and we will provide
contact details for that on the website and in the May 2004 newsletter.
Editor's Comment: My experience is that if you are faintly interested in
books like these with limited publishing runs you must order now as later
you may find copies scarce. John has put a lot of love and hard work into
his book and I am sure it will be a great read.
SHUTE'S RELIGIOUS BELIEFS PONDERED
In a new website article the Rev John Wilcox has written a fascinating
article titled What did Nevil Shute Norway Actually Believe? This article
can now be viewed in the Etcetera section of the website at
A LOT TO SAY
I first came to know Mr. Norway's writing in school. In 1965 I was an
American 13-year-old kid in a "public school" -- a boarding school -- at
Bembridge in the Isle of Wight. My parents lived in south Iran, near
Kuwait, so I was familiar with air travel across Europe and at least part of
Asia. The school's library had a shelf of Shute books, which I worked my way
through. These books had a lot to say to me. Recently I rediscovered the
same books in a public library in the US.
Is Tharwa the Royal Residence of Australia? If so, did Somerset from
Wangaratta design it? If so, is there a clue how Nevil Shute Norway knew
about him? For the health of my soul, I've just reread In the Wet to help
me with the pancreatic cancer death of a beloved friend. Again I am cheered
by the accuracy and insight of Norway's predictions of the future.
Editor's Comment: Tharwa is a small village just at the southern extremity
of modern day Canberra. There is no Royal Residence or Government House type
building at Tharwa and I can find no evidence of an architect called
Somerset from Wangaratta on the internet. It seems that these were Shute's
inventions. However, Shute must have talked to town planners at the time
because the suburb of Letchworth in Queanbeyan, near Canberra, that David
Anderson describes was built 20 years after the publication of In The Wet in
1953. I visited Tharwa a few years ago and I think I located the site of the
Royal Residence, which is still grazing land. It would still be a great
setting for a grand home.
SHUTE AND BARNES WALLIS
of The UK writes:
I am reading for an MA in maritime history at the Greenwich Maritime
Institute in London; my thesis is about airships. I would like to know where
the Shute archives are deposited and wish to explore the relationship more
fully between Barnes Wallis and the writer. ...
I am looking at NS's relationship with Barnes Wallis, with Vickers, his
views on Government meddling, anything to do with the rumbustious Cmdr.
Burney and the Airship Guarantee Company, and the disastrous and competing
R101 backed by Lord Thomson and the Government.
Editor's Comment: Subscribers who would like to assist John are asked to
write to him directly. If you do, could you copy to me so I don't waste time
doing double research. I assume we will all get a free ride and a cup of tea
on his giant motor yacht when he graduates.
There are no centralized Shute archives as such but we are gradually
building up a store of information.
Any chance of completing the Bibliographic details in the Bibliography
section? That is, add place of publication and publisher to date and title
Editor's Comment: Although this sounds a very simple, reasonable and basic
request, further study reveals that there have been many, many, many
editions of Shute's books over the last 77 years since Marazan was published
We are currently seriously considering gathering all the information for the
website but by the time we multiply out the various first editions for each
country in which they were published and then add the multiplying factors of
hardback, paperback, foreign language translations, abridged children's
versions etc etc it may be almost impossible to know when to stop. Even if
you are only interested in first editions in English there are first
editions for at least 3 different regions: The UK, The USA and Australia.
However, to be brief, my understanding is that while Marazan and So
Disdained were originally published by Cassel in The UK, all the rest were
published by Heinemann in the English speaking world and were published by
William Morrow in The USA. (ho, ho, ho)
Steph Gallagher is considering sinking herself into this abyss as I type.
SIGNED SLIDE FIRST
I have a first edition signed by NSN of Slide Rule, I think to a friend of
his who he met or spent time with in
Bognor England, It needs a bit of repair but is all there, Is it worth
spending money on to make it perfect??
Has it got any interest to any one? It is my most prized book;;
Editor's Comment: Can any of our members who know about book values please
advise Henry ?
I like a well read copy of a book and was appalled to hear that the most
valuable book to many collectors was one that nobody had ever read and
hadn't even been opened. In the old days you could tell if a book had been
read because you had to cut the pages to read old fashioned books and so an
un-cut, un-read first edition had the most value. To me that would mean it
hadn't come alive either unless the words had penetrated someone's brain.
However, I don't think this form of binding applied to any of the editions
of Shute's books.
GREAT SHUTE-ISH DOCUMENTARIES
Nicola Wilding who works for an independent documentary making company
We make history, science and social documentaries for UK and US terrestrial
2 years ago we made a documentary about the Dambusters (this won the Royal
Television Society award here in the UK) so I was interested to see Barnes
Wallis make a cameo appearance in Shute's life !!.
For the doc, we managed to get some of the old boys from 617 Squadron back
We also got Barnes Wallis junior to recreate his dad's famous marbles in the
bathtub experiment in his own back garden.
We have also made history documentaries on the River Kwai, and recently we
made a documentary called ' the Real Great Escape' - here we managed to find
one of the original tunnels that was used in the escape and discovered some
wonderful artifacts still down there.
More recently we've just finished producing a three part series on Victorian
Engineers for Channel 4 in the UK called Men of Iron.
Nicola's company's documentaries sound just wonderful.
Nicola's descriptions of the re-enactments in her documentaries reminded me
that in the British documentary series called The Secret War, which included
Shute's DMWD Grand Panjandrum they did the best re-enactment of all.
Made in the mid 1970's, they showed how, 40 years before, in 1935, a man in
a van with some radio equipment had parked near an early TV transmitter and
found could detect the TV signals bouncing off nearby aircraft.
This proved Radar was viable and helped win the coming war.
In the 1976 re-enactment they parked their re-enactment van near the same
transmitter with similar re-enactment radio equipment and detected aircraft
What was fantastic was that it was the same guy in the van !!!
He was 30-ish then and was now 70-ish.
NEW CAPTIVITY WEBSITE
of beautiful Cape Cod, The USA writes:
John Fowles of the New Jersey Chapter has developed a great web site about
Cape Cod and An Old Captivity. He has maps and pictures of Cape Cod relating
to the descriptions given by Shute in the book. It can be accessed by
Editor's Comment: Art confirms that on their boat tour they could identify
every location in the book leading them to Prince Cove. Little had changed
except that the little cottages had become millionaire's mansions.
The cove where Ross and Alix find the stone has hill or bank all around but
with no easily identified knoll.
Shute indicates that they landed in over the eastern shore which may
indicate the stone was found on the eastern shore but maybe he meant they
flew over the Eastern shore and landed across to the western, or maybe the
southern shore ? So the mystery continues. I can't wait to visit. Maybe I
will find a second Haki and Hekya stone similar to Art Cornell's.
I strongly recommend you attend the UK 2004 weekend if you can.
There are some lovely drives around the York region.
R100 was constructed at nearby Howden. Although the site is now covered by
the Boothferry golf course, you can still walk on the course and find where
the giant shed's front doors were. I will try to dig up my diagram showing
The original Airspeed Bus Garage factory site still stands in the centre of
York. At least it was still there last June. Sadly you can't get inside to
see the upper area where Shute looked down on his workers.
You can also drive along the idyllic River Derwent that Shute floated down
in a motor cruiser as a young man.
At Stamford Bridge you can see the inspiration for Coldstone Mill in
Pastoral. In Pastoral Shute moved it to Oxford on the fictional River
Fittel. Stamford Bridge was where King Harold beat the Vikings in 1066 just
before Norman The Conqueror did him in the eye at Hastings.
You can visit Elvington Air Museum with the Barnes Wallis exhibit. This
exhibit houses an excellent model of R100 and some rare, remaining, small
parts of R100 not to mention a bouncing bomb. Sadly I couldn't detect it
bouncing when I saw it last year though I watched closely for over an hour.
You can drive through Thorganby, home of the fictional Dog and Duck pub and
maybe glimpse Johnnie Pascoe kissing Brenda Marshall in the carpark.
Shute was very fond of the whole area and those wild, untamed and crazy
On the way there or back you can see the giant R101 twin airship sheds at
Cardington near Bedford. If one of them is still available for rent you
could lease it to house your full size model of R100.
That completes this month's newsletter.
All the best from AUTFOD
Nevil Shute Foundation Historian and Newsletter Editor
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