Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Photo TimeLine

1941 - 1950 page 1

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March 02 (Probably 1941)

Shute writes an undated letter to his daughter Heather and another to Anne (Shirley's 2nd name was Anne) from The Randolph Hotel in Oxford. Shute is on a fishing trip and meeting people. In Shirley's letter he includes a drawing of a fish he was trying to catch.

Laughing Fish drawing Click for larger image

The caption to Shute's drawing in a letter to his children says of the fish: "I think he is laughing at me !" ( PL / NP )

March 1941

Photo of Lt Cdr Norway, RN

Shute as a Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander in WW2. ( PDJ )

Early 1941

Shute has either a heart attack or a bad attack of wind in a train. The doctor says it's wind.

Commander Sir Charles Goodeve, OBE, FRS, RNVR. (1904-1980) was head of the DMWD. ( TSW / AB )

Commander Sir Charles Goodeve, OBE, FRS, RNVR

Spring 1941

Shute conceives, in detail, Pied Piper during a sleepless, slow overnight train ride to Wales with Sir Charles Goodeve of DMWD. He tells the story to Goodeve and later takes three days off and dictates it to his secretary.

1941 - 1942

Shute worked on the ship-based, anti-aircraft, Radiator and Pig Trough multiple rocket projectors. He also worked on the land-based, anti-invasion, Harvey rocket projector and The Pill Box, which was another type of land based rocket launcher that Shute tried to adapt for shipboard use.


The Cockatrice Flame Thrower

Shute's engineering section worked created the Cockatrice, which was a Bedford truck chassis mounting a large flamethrower. It was intended for mobile airfield defense against air attack.
The Cockatrice airfield defense flamethrower was named after a mythical creature with a barbed tongue. The dark cloud on the right of the frame is the flame.


Shute was present at trials of a Naval vertical firing flamethrower when it was tested aboard a converted French fishing vessel "La Patrie".

Late 1941

Frances, Heather and Shirley return to England after 15 months away. The family move to a large house called Pond Head on Hayling Island where they lived until leaving for Australia in August 1950.

Chardin's (1699-1779) Pipes and Water Jug

Pipes and Water Jug by Chardin (1699-1779) was admired by Mr. Howard in The Pied Piper.
Click for larger image

(Scan by Mark Harden )

Pond Head Click for larger image

This 1940's Shute family photo shows Pond Head. Set in 6 acres of land, the Shutes kept bees, poultry and pigs at Pond Head. Shute's study, where he wrote, was a separate building near the house.

(Photo: INSS )
Pond Head, 2001 Click for larger image

Pond Head, seen here in 2001, seems quite unchanged. (Photo: RM 2001)

Pond Head jetty Click for larger image

In 2001 Pond Head still has private grounds and its own jetty. (Photo: RM 2001)

Shute and some unidentified folks at Hayling Island

This fuzzy Portsmouth Library photo is captioned 'Nevil Shute and family, Pond Head, Hayling Island' but as the child on the left looks too young to be Shirley it may be either the Shute family around 1938 before Shute's father died or Shute at Pond Head with friends and some unrelated children. Shute is easily identified on the left but is the woman with the child who couldn't be Shirley, Frances ? The child on the right might be Shirley with Heather obscured behind her. The three adults on the right are unidentified. The man in the center seems to be in uniform. I love a mystery. (PL/NP)

November 1, 1941

Pied Piper appears serialized in the American Magazine Colliers. Because it was a month before Pearl Harbor and America was still neutral, the accompanying pictures of the German soldiers appear quite sympathetically drawn.

Christmas 1941

Shute entertains Flora Twort and friends with stories that would soon evolve into Most Secret.

Admiralty Buildings in London

Shute works in the Admiralty in London for much of the war. This is a modern photo of Admiralty Arch, although Shute worked in other buildings nearby. ( DH )
Click for larger image


Pied Piper is published generally.

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