Book Review

2004-4/April 1, 2004

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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 boat.
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 highest woman.
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 capital.
They got to Canada, decided not to sell the boat and started a sheep farm in Western Canada.
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: 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.

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.
Gerard continues:
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.
Gerard continues:
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.

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.

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 Airspeed.
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 feelings.
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 can.
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.

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 often rain.
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 honour.
What was the previous name of the road ?
Rat Lane.
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.

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 London.
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.

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.

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

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 place?

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.

of the Departments Biochemistry or Physiological Sciences 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 through this.
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 K).
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

Editor's Comment: Being weak with equations, I referred our correspondent to these possibly informative articles on our website:
Maybe our engineers can help Nathaniel.
Nathaniel is encouraging his chemical engineering students to subscribe to the newsletter too so if we can help them with their equations we may also be fostering a new generation of Shute fans.

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:

Editor's Comment: I would encourage anyone who might be able to make it to attend. 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.

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.

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

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.

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 in 1927.
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.

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.

Nicola Wilding who works for an independent documentary making company writes:
We make history, science and social documentaries for UK and US terrestrial TV.
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 together.
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.

Editor's Comment:
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 flying nearby.
What was fantastic was that it was the same guy in the van !!! He was 30-ish then and was now 70-ish. It terrific.

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 sheds.
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 Yorkshiremen.
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
Richard Michalak
Nevil Shute Foundation Historian and Newsletter Editor
Please write to:

Nevil Shute Norway