2005-03/Mar 1, 2005
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CAPE COD WILL REVEAL TORAPLANE TRIALS FILM AND STILLS
John Anderson, who is researching the gliding torpedo Shute testing in 1939 - 1940 writes:
I received from the Imperial War Museum a video copy of their film MTE 601 "Burney Toraplane and Gosport". Some 15 minutes long, it contains footage of the assembly of the Toraplane, how the wings and tail unit were fixed to the torpedo. There are shots of the Toraplane mounted under a Fairey Swordfish aircraft and also film of a Swordfish taking off, and of trials themselves off the Isle of Wight.
Editor's Comment: John's presentation promises to be a highlight of Cape Cod 2005. Shute's work on the Toraplane Gliding Torpedo provided him with much of the background for Landfall.
35 NEW SHUTE-RELATED PHOTOS
I have recently added about 35 new photos to the website Photo Album. You can now see new photos of Amy Johnson who was the real Brenda Marshall, an R100 Spider Joint, the Airspeed Envoy's stylish interior, more DMWD projects, Burketown that was the real Willstown, the Avro Atlantic that was the real Ceres, and many others. Being Oscar Season I would like to thank The Academy and my agent but most of all I would like to thank our webmaster Oren Wolfe who inserted all this material.
REQUIEM PLAY SAUCER / WREN RISKS A DUCKING FOR THE KING
Jenny Knowles, whose finding a WW2 teacup saucer in the mud near Exbury House inspired her to produce a play of Requiem for a WREN, writes:
Yes the inscription is King George 6th.
Editor's Comment: Those who might attend the play in June at Exbury House are asked to contact Jenny at: Mail@DKFilms.co.uk
Matt Sheild's letter last month about the collected works edition prompted several replies:
From Mike Marsh of Australia:
The books Matt has were a Collection distributed by Heron Books and were sold in South Africa, at least, by a Club, which if I'm not mistaken was something to do with the Readers Digest. You got one a month and after a while they said "for $x you can get all the rest" - which is what I did. I was a poverty stricken youth and the monthly R7,50 or whatever was a real fiscal challenge in those days, earning R200 a month, but I never missed one. It's a complete works with the two early books Stephen Morris and Pilotage in one, titled Stephen Morris. 23 books in all. My set is complete and a bit "well read" in places but I like it.
From Dan Telfair:
You are correct that this is the illustrated Heron editions collection. The set does not include Vinland, nor of course, The Seafarers. Issued sequentially as a sort of book club offering in the late 60s, they were printed in different versions, by different companies, and at different times. Some of the editions combined titles under a single cover, and in others, all were published separately. A complete set in good condition goes for around $400 USD. That really isn't much as it amounts to less than $20 a book - not much more than a modern paperback.
From Brian Flanagan of Australia:
Three volumes, including two of the four which contain two titles, are proving hard to obtain in Australia, but are very expensively available from dealers in the UK. The year of publication of the series isn't given, but apparently was probably 1969 or 1970. No bookseller with whom I have spoken or corresponded in either Australia or the UK knows whether the volumes were released as a set or one by one.
Editor's Comment: Some correspondents have been nicer than others about the collected works as there is some debate about the quality of the bindings and the illustrations. However, it is the only collected works we have and there can be no quibbling the quality of the writing as every time I open a Shute book to research the answer to a question I inevitably find myself reading instead of just scanning.
Dan Telfair writes:
Regarding altered states of conscience (drugs, injury, sleep deprivation, trances) producing psychic phenomena:
30 SECONDS TO THE BEACH / PLAGIARISM / MURDOCH'S MUM / JP AND MOLLY - MARY - MOIRA
Ken England of Canberra, Australia writes
Just recently pay television here ran On The Beach. I don't have pay TV at home, I don't want Rupert Murdoch's hand in my pocket thanks, but I spotted it in a motel in Dubbo. Took me all of 30 seconds to work out what the film was though I hadn't seen it for the best part of 44 years. I still recalled the blind attached to the Morse key and the suicidal motor race.
Editor's Comment: In defence of Rupert Murdoch (as if he really needed my help), I have to say his mother is a lovely lady. When I was first trying to find Shute's home in Langwarrin I was directed to ask a local lady called Dame Elizabeth. I thought it would be some nice old duck who had been made a Dame for helping a charity but it turned out to be Dame Elizabeth Murdoch who is Rupert's mother. As a neighbour, Dame Elizabeth had known Shute in the 1950s and had also contributed to the building of the local church after Shute's death. Dame Elizabeth was very down to earth and friendly, had lovely roses, and directed me to Shute's home. In the rush I forgot to ask her for a free cable TV subscription.
Also of interest to some degree is what I scientifically call The Molly / Mary / Moira Thing.
Finally, Shute's mother's name was Mary. Of course, Mary has always been a popular name but is noteworthy that all these characters are good hearted and all are under some stress.
WEBSITE UPDATE - SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
Each year, the Foundation funds and manages a "Nevil Shute Norway Excellence in Aviation Scholarship", where by one or more selected recipients are awarded a scholarship to further their education toward a career in aviation. In 2003, a scholarship was awarded to 19 year old Australian Ben Lawrence, an aspiring commercial pilot who is receiving flight training whilst pursuing a Business Degree at Swinburn University and working full time as a cinema projectionist. We have just received an update from Ben where he describes how he has benefited from the scholarship. Full details about the scholarship program and Ben's update can be found on the website at: http://www.nevilshute.org/scholarship.php
I received an email asking what the unexplained abbreviation DAJAD in The Chequer Board means. I found the answer on the internet. DAJAD stands for Deputy Assistant Judge Advocate General This made sense in context.
THE OTHER DR SCOTT
Julie Porter wrote me a long email in which she praised both Shute and Dickens. Her favourite Shute novel was Trustee with Round The Bend and No Highway close behind. Julie continues:
There are research centers in the San Francisco area that host some brilliant minds. At the same time we have our eccentrics. One eccentric was Dr. Gene Scott. Dr Scott had a "religious" TV station. One of the "Public access bands." His transmitter was on a mountain south of San Francisco, so the coverage was large. One of Dr. Scott's favorite topics was "Pyramidology" combined with the second coming. He would lecture for hours, wear multiple pairs of glasses, and draw charts and other graphs explaining it all including the date September 1994. Of course no one ever admitted watching the crazy guy on TV, but the coincidence is just too funny. Even more so that I just looked up the date in the volume to see the name of the narrator. Dr. Scott! Along comes September 1994 and there IS a cult in the aerospace community at the time and several hundred do not show up to work the stated day. The radio mentions this weird behavior of the scientists with no reference to the source that event or to why that particular date.
Editor's Comment: I was unable to verify that September 1994 is mentioned in No Highway as a significant date as the usual thing happened and my scanning became reading. Next time I study an author in depth I will make sure he is not so readable.
PETTY CASH INFLATION
John Anderson writes:
When Mike Meehan and I were at BAE Heritage last summer we looked the files on the design of the Airspeed Ferry. During the design stage in 1931 it was evident that someone from Airspeed had made a visit to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. On the back of one of the calculation sheets whoever made the trip had added up the expenses in faint pencil (the handwriting is not Shute's). They were as follows:
Editor's Comment: This suggests that the Pound is currently worth about 1/32nd of its value in 1931. Here we have yet another good reason to go back in time with current Pounds or Dollars and buy up all the beachfront property and then nip forward in time to the early 1970s and invest in that nerdy Bill Gates startup software company.
From Robert Edwards :
I have just found your website and as a dedicated 'Shutist' am delighted with the content and the style. So I thought to thank you and make a small contribution by responding to the request to recommend authors with a similar approach to writing. I would list Robert Goddard. His novels are of an uneven quality and, to me, the earlier ones were the best. Having said that, I have enjoyed them all. Another author is Howard Spring; very old hat these days but he wrote books that I can return to and enjoy reading again after a few years. No one however has ever given me the same consistent level of enjoyment in reading a novel as Nevil Shute and I am grateful that people like yourselves work to ensure his work is not buried in neglect.
Dan Telfair writes:
A dear friend and dedicated Shutist, Jerre Schermerhorn, recently passed away.
JERRE JENNINGS SCHERMERHORN
Born September 10, 1931
Died January 29, 2005
Survived by: Husband James R. Schermerhorn, daughter Kim Taylor, son Eric Wilkinson, daughter Karen Schermerhorn, son Peter Schermerhorn, five grandchildren, and many, many friends.
Jerre's was an indomitable spirit, full of warmth and sympathy for others, and with a marvelous, puckish sense of humor.
She was endlessly creative, and never hesitated to share her skills and insights with others. She affected others' lives profoundly.
Jerre overcame many obstacles in her long, remarkable life. Many would have broken under the pressures she faced, or retreated into themselves. Jerre's spirit was tempered like fine steel by her challenges, growing stronger and shining brightly.
Jerre passed away quietly at home, as she wished, with loved ones at hand. She was under hospice care, and we made her as comfortable as possible. Her pain was well-controlled, and she drifted away in her sleep. Jerre asked that no memorial service be held for her. Instead, she asked that her friends and family think about her, and remember all the good things and good times we've had with her. She's gone to join Julie and see what tricks they can get up to together--they're sure to be good ones!
She will be sorely missed.
NORTHWEST GROUP EXPANDS BY 50%
Bob King writes:
The Shute group Northwest continues to grow. We now have six but can't believe that there's not more in this heavy boating, engineering, and aircraft area. Still no specific plans to meet regularly but that'll come in time. I'm thinking of a name for our outfit i.e. NWNSNAS - or the North West Nevil Shute Appreciation Society. How does that grab you?
Editor's Comment: Soon this group will have more members than initials. If you are in the Pacific Northwest and want to get together, drop Bob a line.
STILL MORE PHANTOM FILMS
I have had more computer / email problems and lost this correspondent's name and address but they write: Some years ago I was turned on the TV late at night and got watching the end of a movie, black and white best I can remember, which after a few minutes I realized must be NSN's Requiem For A Wren / The Breaking Wave though I never saw the title. I've never been able to find it under either title in any film directory, and was interested, on discovering your fine website, that it had no mention of it either. Do you know anything about it?
Editor's Comment: Clearly there has been a lot of 'inspiration' going on amongst screenwriters over the years. We know of no official film version of Requiem For A Wren / The Breaking Wave.
THE DEATH OF NEVILLE NORWAY
Brian Flanagan of Queensland, Australia writes:
Many thanks for emailing the newsletters. I must admit to being extremely tempted to make the journey from Brisbane to the New Forest in June. I have been unable to obtain Airspeed, the Company And Its Aeroplanes by D.H. Middleton or The Death of Neville Norway by John Froland; do you think either of these, or the video of the 1980 mini-series production of A Town Like Alice will become available through the Australian library?
Editor's Comment: I found the Airspeed book in the State Library in Sydney but have never seen the other. Has anyone out there ever read
The Death of Neville Norway?
On our own website I found the following transcript of a talk by Shirley Norway about Neville Norway, a relative of Shute's who was murdered in the late 1830s. Shirley Norway is Nevil Shute's daughter.
Editor's Further Comment: I suspect that this story from his own family helps explain some of Shute's willingness to believe in thought transference and revelation through dreams etc. I am embarrassed to say that although the story was on our own website I had been unaware of it till now.
wrote to Dan Telfair:
COLORADO CHAPTER VISITED BY PRINCE CONSORT
Babette Hills of Colorado in the USA writes:
Chapter Founder and CC2005 Coordinator Art Cornell would like everyone to know that the Colorado Nevil Shute Chapter is an active, fun-loving group that meets in the Denver area.
PUBLICITY DRIVE FOR CAPE COD
If you have a large or small local paper please contact Art Cornell for a press release to advertise Cape Cod 2005. Newspapers are always looking for stories so don't feel shy about calling yours. The conference could be of interest to both literary and travel editors. Contact Art Cornell for information about Cape Cod 2005.
RUNAGATE DETAILS REVEALED
Michael Walden of the Hillyard Owners Association writes with details of Shute's 40 foot Hillyard Schooner, Runagate:
RUNAGATE 15tons 1939 40'3" LOA. Reg 167767 is 'still around'.
Editor's Comment: I had harboured romantic hopes but a search of the Dunkirk Little Ships website showed that neither Runagate nor Skerdmore, Shute's previous yacht were involved with the Dunkirk evacuation.
STATUS OF STRATUS
John Anderson writes:
House of Stratus tell me that their website has been taken off line whilst it is being revamped and it should be back on line shortly.
Yesterday I returned to Sydney from a week in China. We are having lovely mild soft days with
gentle and much-needed light rain. I have just fixed the last of my computer problems (touch wood) and hope not to lose any further emails. If I lost your email in the last month I apologise.
That completes this month's newsletter.
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