Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Photo TimeLine

1941 - 1950 page 3

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Hard at Lepe

The construction of the Hard at Lepe at the mouth of The Beaulieu (pronounced Bewley) River where after D-Day in fictional 1944 Dev the Dog was run over and put down. This event finally sent Janet Prentice on A Lonely Road Round The Bend in Requiem For A Wren. ( OU )

12th April 1944

On this date, Shute sailed in an LCT loaded with Sherman tanks and "Priest" Guns from Lepe Hard to Slapton Sands in Devon to take part in Exercise "Trousers".
This was a full scale rehearsal of an amphibious assault by the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. The exercise was successful and he was full of praise for the Canadian troops on board. They landed back at Lepe Hard early on the morning of 18th April.
The photo is the same area in 2008 of Slapton Sands, taken by John Anderson.

Slapton sands in 2008

0745 - 18thApril 1944

A Junkers Ju 188 E-1 is shot down over Exbury crashing in the fields in front of Exbury House. The 7 occupants, packed into a plane built for 4, all die. Shute uses this event in Requiem For A Wren.

Exbury House aka HMS Mastodon Click for larger image

Exbury House is taken over by the Navy on May 07 1942 and is later renamed HMS Mastodon. In Requiem the fictional Janet Prentice is stationed here. On April 18 1944 a Junkers Ju 188 E-1 is shot down and crashes in the fields in front of Exbury House. (Photo: RM 2003)

JU188 Click for larger image

The wonderfully insect-like JU188. The Germans sure had style with the design of their planes. They always managed to look both quirky and mean. ( TRH )

RR Stephens Click for larger image

(Now Professor) RR Stephens (left) was a young Dental Officer and was in the HMS Mastodon Mess when he heard the machine-gun fire and the crash. Running outside, he was one of the first at the scene of the shot down JU188. He assisted in attempts revive the fatally injured and witnessed the distress of one of the Typhoon pilots that shot down the JU188. He is seen here on the portico steps at HMS Mastodon shortly before D-Day. On the right is Second Officer Mary Dudley who was in charge of the 130 Wrens, including the fictional Janet Prentice, at HMS Mastodon. They both look the epitome of Shute wartime characters. A wonderful photo. ( RS )

Lionel de Rothschild Click for larger image

Lionel de Rothschild describes the last flight and crash of the JU188-E1. It swept past his window at HMS Mastodon. (Photo: RM 2003)

JU188 Crash Site Click for larger image

The JU188 came in low, under fire, at window height, close to Exbury house, in the background, and crashed into these fields with the main fuselage pieces stopping in this marshy ground. (Photo: RM 2003)

JU188 Crash Site Click for larger image

The engines of the JU188 continued across this lane from left to right and into the next field. Shute, travelling along this lane from a Hard, probably at Lepe Beach, came across the crash and learnt the initial details from the officer in charge at the scene. (Photo: RM 2003)

Nicholas de Rothschild with painting Click for larger image

Nicholas de Rothschild with a painting about Exbury in WW2. The Bofors Gun at Exbury, which claimed 7 hits, is in the bottom center and the descending JU188 E-1 is in the top right. Nicholas and his family were very generous with their time and hospitality to the UK 2003 Conference visitors to Exbury House. (Photo: RM 2003)

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