Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Newsletter dated April 2011

Letters to the Editor

From Laura Schneider

Update on Nevil Shute's Seattle conference, Sept. 18 -23, 2011

Registration for the conference is now "live" ! Go to for ALL of your conference needs. You may register for the conference, book hotel reservations at The Red Lion's special link, check out the entire conference schedule, see where we're going on our excursions (The Boeing Plant, for example) and get general information about Seattle.

There is so much to experience in Seattle and the entire Pacific Northwest. You are encouraged to come a few days early or stay after the conference to take advantage of some of what the area has to offer.

Questions? Comments? Please contact me at

From Fred Weiss

I recently had the pleasure of reading John Anderson's well-written biography of Nevil Shute which he has titled, "Parallel Motion". It is the result of 6 years of his very impressive and extensive research and covers Shute's life from childhood to his death. I can say with great confidence that finally there is a biography which is worthy of the man and I am pleased to be publishing it.

It will include an interesting selection of photographs (most of which I have never seen before) and will include a detailed "reference section" and an Index.

In addition it has been approved by Heather Mayfield, Shute's daughter, and she has graciously written a foreword.

Basically, we're "ready to go to press"...with one exception. We need a good cover design. I'd like to do something different than my previous Shute titles where we used the same basic design but in different colors. Unfortunately, given the rather limited audience, we can't justify the substantial expenditure of a professional graphic designer. So, I was wondering if some of you in the "Shute community" might wish to help out.

With this in mind, I am announcing a Cover Design contest with a $100 prize for the winning submission and an acknowledgment in the book. For those of you with children who are actively studying graphic design or getting started in the field, you might want to mention this to them as an opportunity to get some professional recognition and a valuable item on their resume.

The deadline for submissions is May 15 and should be sent to me by email at Also contact me at that address if you have any questions.

Fred Weiss

The Paper Tiger, Inc.

From John Anderson


Peter Davison and Giles Camplin are giving a repeat of their excellent lecture which is entitled "The R.101 Disaster - 80 years on"

The presentation includes original film footage of the R 101 under construction.

This is at the A.G.M. of the Airship Association on 14th April. The meeting will be held in Trafalgar Room of the Victory Services Club, 63-79 Seymour Street,London W2 2HF. The meeting starts at 6 PM and visitors are welcome.

I heard this lecture last October when Peter and Giles gave it at Bedford and, if you can make it to this repeat, it will be well worthwhile.

From Ray Wilder

I am an old fan of Nevil, 73 years old and have been reading some of his works for at least 50 of those years. Even so when reading the newsletter I realize I am a neophyte in Shute lore and history. I am increasing the size of my Shute library and the notes of the readers and writers make the novels even more delightful to read and reread. I am slowly beginning to understand what a complex man Nevil was, and his links to all of us, and that makes reading him a more slow and introspective adventure.

From Nancy Anderson

The name, Nevil Shute Norway, has been perpetuated in Frankston, Victoria, with the opening of the Kananook Creek South Boulevard in January.

This permanent tribute to all those inducted into Frankston City Hall of Hame is available for public viewing 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Each installed plaque features a series of pictures of the inductee and a biography of their many achievements; the plaques are arranged along the new waterfront walkway which forms the western boundary of the Frankston Business District.

From Mills & Nancy Dyer

John Anderson mentions "In The Wet" in his comments in the March Newsletter about Nevil Shute's stammer as related to King George VI's stammer. I have just finished reading "In the Wet" in one of my periodic cycles trough Shute's novels. In this novel which Shute set 30 years into the future (early 1980's), he pictures a middle-aged Queen being fatigued with the cares of her royal duties. I wonder what Nevil would think of a Queen who has now reigned for 59 years, is seeing grandchildren get married, and is looking forward to her Diamond Jubilee next year!

From Charles D

In the August 2010 newsletter, Mr. Harvey Fetterly made reference to the Ceres aircraft from the novel "In the Wet".

It just so happens that a company in Minnesota has been front page news in recent days: The name of the plane is Cirrus. The following link will explain the company, a small start-up of a few years ago. It's main claim to fame is that it can parachute to the ground in case of systems failure or pilot disorientation, etc.

I would speculate that its creation and growth mirrors that of Airspeed in many respects.

Aviators were writing about parachutable light planes as long ago as the 1930's.

From Philip Nixon

One of @ItemWillie's 140 followers is @airminded.

Airminded is the research blog of Dr. Brett Holman, a historian living in Melbourne, Australia.

Thought you might be interested in this.

From Jim Stanfield

I first learned of the existence of Nevil Shute and his books in 1960 and I may be one of the few remaining fans who actually met him. I was a young Aeronautical Engineer in Texas designing and testing a new Navy jet trainer. I had developed an innovation in "drop testing" aircraft that caught the attention of the industry and got me an invitation to Farnborough to present a paper on the technique. Nevil Shute Norway was the keynote speaker. At lunch the first day, I asked a British engineer "Who was that white-haired gentleman?" The engineer took me to a bookstore and bought me copies of "Trustee" and "No Highway" in explanation. The character "Mr. Honey" in "No Highway" was doing the same sort of work I did in Texas. By the way, fatigue damage occurs at the molecular level, not atomic as believed at the time the Viscounts were being built.

The Navy jet trainer I was working on is covered in "Temco TT-1 Pinto", available from Amazon. com (ISBN 0-942612-72-8). There is a photograph in it showing a rather more modern fatigue test in progress. In the top photo on page 19, that is me in the front seat.

In "The Airmen Who Wouldn't Die", John Fuller relates Nevil Shute's role in the British Airship program's investigation of the R-101's failure and the underlying reasons for it. It is interesting that the Board of Inquiry considered testimony from an engineer who had perished in the crash via a Medium and his wife. This book is also available from

Nevil Shute's propeller designs have continued to evolve to this day with the "Scimitar" props on turboprop aircraft.

From Eunice Shanahan

I would just like to say that I have borrowed two Shute books From the public library, because they were on the shelves. We have the books ourselves, but we want to encourage the librarians to keep his books on the shelf and not store them. They were "Most secret" and "The Far ountry" - this latter is one of my favourite books probably because we emigrated to Australia from Britain, so it has a lot of relevance. I really like the story and the characters and would recommend it to anyone.

"Most Secret" is another book with strong characters, and although I find some of it horrifying, he was telling a story of that time, and there were some pretty dreadful things going on all around.

Do any other of the list members enjoy these two books?

From Alison Jenner

This is a young person who wants to become an air traffic controller, so I thought people might be interested and keen to help.

Julie Gning, aged 17, is from Quimper in Brittany. She is due to complete her Baccalaureate exam this summer and aims to go on to two years preparatory study as part of her ambition to be an Air Traffic Controller. She needs to improve her command of English if she is to work in air transport and so would like to undertake an 'au pair' season this summer, between July and September. She is an experienced baby sitter, a good student, and teaches tennis at her local club, where she plays in the league. She would be happy to help a family in UK, North America or Australia. So if any Shutist would like to host a French student 'au pair' with an interest in aviation, please email her care of her Mum, my friend:- or

From Paul Spoff

TODAY-IN OUR NEWS-There's talk of a Boeing 737 with a gaping hole in the roof of the plane. As I was out and about today, one of the radio news casts stated that it was most likely from metal fatigue, as a similar incident had occurred three years ago.

Hmm, wasn't there a Nevil Shute novel---NO HIGHWAY--that had to do with metal fatigue? Well, I guess nothing is new ! As with the novel/movie, all ended well in this incident today day.


Spring has come finally. The weather in Holland is lovely. Last Saturday it even was 23°C (73°F)

I'm sorry about the delay of this newsletter. Even with Apple computers you can get problems. But they were my fault, not Apple's

See you next month