Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Newsletter December 2015

Letters to the Editor

FROM John Anderson

John Cooper

I have to report the sad news that John Cooper passed away recently in San Antonio Texas. We send our condolences to his wife Dorothy and their two sons.
Those of you who were at the Cap Cod Gathering in 2005 will remember him putting on a performance of Vinland the Good.  It featured Laura Schneider, complete with tiara as Princess Thorgunna, Fred Erisman as Leif Ericson and an enthusiastic Phil Nixon as Tryker, together with members of the Cape Cod chapter.
John himself doubled as the narrator - Nevil Shute. It made up with gusto anything it may have lacked in performance, rehearsal time having been very limited.
John and Dorothy came to the York Conference in 2009 and, as ever, took part enthusiastically. Unfortunately poor health precluded travel to the UK for the Oxford Conference this year.
John was a naval man and researched the "Barlow" destroyers in Ruined City (Kindling) and worked up the seven references in the book to a kind of Greek chorus!

John was a very nice man, a real character, an enthusiastic Shutist, always keen to learn and participate in whatever was going on.

There are several reviews of Parallel Motion on the Amazon website, of which his, under the pseudonym "incorrigible", gave it 5 stars.

He will be sadly missed by family and friends,

FROM Julian Stargardt

Reading John Anderson's notes on the King's Flight / Queen's Flight / In the Wet I felt drawn to see what links and information I could find on-line, so here we go.
Photo of the Royal Envoy:

 Photo of Royal Envoy in official use for visit to RAF base:

 ....and a close up of the Royal Envoy with passengers in flight:

 and another fine view of the Royal Envoy

 Here's a great collection of photos of the Envoy, including as you scroll down a fine view of the interior of the cockpit looking at the instrument panel, useful for a modeller!

 An image of the Royal Envoy 

Not an Envoy, but closely related, an Oxford on display at Duxford....


Anyone who has not visited Duxford yet, should go there.... I spent many happy hours there as a school boy in the 1970s helping to restore old aircraft and often at the weekends enthusiasts would fly there war birds in or if they kept them there fly off and conduct mock dog flights.... when the Phantom was retired from the RAFit did a farewell fly-by and aerial show at Duxford. That day the perimeter was packed. With low cloud cover we could hear but not see it until it came down and streaked along the airfield from one end to the other seemingly going vertical at the M-11 end, I have no idea how low it was but it seemed to be about 50-100 feet above the runway and the thrilling booming sound of the jet could be felt rather than heard.... and set off all the car alarms in the car park..... speaking of Duxford and the M-11.... building the M-11 caused controversy, one of the reasons was it truncated the Duxford runway.... this was an issue for Concorde when the prototype was flown into Duxford for display, now that was a fascinating landing to watch.... the proto-type Concorde is slightly smaller than the production models and as it couldn't take off from Duxford's truncated runway, sadly it engines were eventually removed.....


FROM Barry Biglow 

The CBC in Canada had a program on the R100 which maybe of interest . The reference is : Program date November 5, 2015 

Not much about Shute but does mention the R100 trip to Canada and Burney

Editor: Search for R100 (no spacing)


FROM Charles D

Quest Aircraft, a relatively new manufacturer of “Bush Planes”,  in Sandpoint,  Idaho


FROM Paul Spoff

Air Show – A Little Scary

I wonder if this FAA Sanctioned??  This is the wildest Air Show I have ever seen!!

A most excellent show.  You will enjoy this. 

Missouri Redneck Air Show!                    


This is an Air Show in Cameron, a small rural town in Missouri.

The pilots, bike and truck drivers (and the photographers) are all nuts!!!

This doesn't border on crazy, it IS crazy! Hold on to your desk, chair,

whatever! Best viewed full screen with volume UP!.

Click below:


FROM John Gallimore

I hope I am not 'bursting your bubble'.. but the film 'Lonely Road' is available..


I have a copy in front of me...

Lonely Road, together with 3 other films is available on Volume 14 of the Ealing Studios 'rarities' collection.

Here is the link:

However... don't get your hopes up..

Frankly the only thing that justifies this film being kept in the vaults, is the film itself.

I will give no spoilers..but lets just say that the last 1/3 rd of the book is cut... yes cut right out...

This, Marazan, and So Distained are for me the best NSN books of his 'John Buchan' era.

I find the films made from NSN novels very variable From very good..'A town like Alice  Australian TV mini series..via the ok..Far country..or no Highway..(where rule 1 was to find the physical opposite of the principal characters.. to the abysmal..( the one no one talks about).

Hope this helps..

Keep shuting straight.


FROM Mary Andrews

Shute books are available from a delightful shop called BEYOND THE SEA  in Lincolnville beach, maine, usa. the owner seeks them out and has a good supply of nearly all the titles. you may contact at info@Beyond The or find on the sea   or call at 207-789-5555


FROM Robert Price

You publish occasional reading suggestions from readers, and I have long had an interest in Shute-like novels with technical content. You opined at a lack of newsletter input in the November issue so I am including a list of those I believe might be enjoyed by Shute readers.

I consider these 'Science and Engineering in Fiction' titles to be great reads, mostly novels, containing engineering or technically skilled characters, technical content of reasonable accuracy, adventure, flying, sailing, problem solving, Lab Lit, time travel backward and forward, etc. Some Science Fiction, but no Fantasy. See Amazon, Google or Wiki for descriptions and other works by authors.

Some of the titles are from a 21 Jan 2010 MGPL Webrary Nuts and Bolts Novels of Engineers and Engineering, by Sarah Flowers, Morgan Hill, CA library, who requested credit: “Compiled by the subscribers of the Fiction_L mailing list.” Some are from a list compiled by John Varley in the Author’s Note in Millennium. Some more are from IEEE Spectrum, Hans' antenna blog  Still more are from a list by Donald Lehr, architect, and yet others have been unearthed by this list author, Rob Price.

Nigel Balchin, The Small Back Room.

John Ball, Miss One Thousand Spring Blossoms.

Pierre Boulle, Bridge On / Over the River Kwai, filmed.

Ray Bradbury, A Sound of Thunder.

Robert Byrne, ThrillMannequinSkyscraperThe DamThe Tunnel.

Willa Cather, Alexander’s Bridge, Google download.

Clare Clark, The Great Stink.

Arthur C. Clarke, The Fountains of ParadiseAll the Time in the World.

Michael Crichton, Andromeda StrainTimeline.

L. Sprague de Camp, Lest Darkness FallThe Bronze God of Rhodes and An Elephant for Aristotle, and a non-fiction history of engineering, The Ancient Engineers.

A. Den Doolaard, Roll Back the Sea, English translation from Dutch.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, story, The Engineers Thumb.

James Fleming, Thomas Gage.

Eric Flint, et al, 1632 series and many offshoots.

Michael Flynn, a series, FirestarRogue StarLodestar and Falling Stars. Also The Wreck of the River of Stars uses same technology.

Ken Follett, trilogy Pillars of the EarthWorld Without End, 3rd available  2017.

Dick Francis, Decider.

Leo Frankowski, Copernick’s Rebellion, and the seven Conrad Stargard series.

Ernest K. Gann, Island in the Sky and many others, some filmed.

Max Frisch, Homo Faber, filmed as Voyager.

Dewey Gram, The Ghost and the Darkness, novel based on film.

Zane Grey, The U.P. Trail, Google download.

Robert Harris, Enigma.

John Hersey, A Single Pebble.

Stefan Jaeger, The Jackhammer Elegies.

Rob Johnson, editor, Short Lines, collection of classic railroad stories, many by famous writers in general, including O. Henry, Thomas Wolfe, Frank Norris, Jack London, Christopher Morley and Rudyard Kipling.

Bob Judd, The RaceFormula 1BurnSpin, etc, under other names overseas.

Francis Lynde, The Fire Bringers, and Empire Builders, Google downloads.

Malcolm MacDonald, The World From Rough Stones and The Silver Highways.

Thomas A. McMahon, Loving Little Egypt.

Bob Mahoney, Damned to Heaven.

John P. Marquand, Sincerely, Willis Wayde.

James Michener, The Source and Space.

Larry Niven, Ringworld and sequel The Ringworld Engineers.

H. Beam Piper, Space Viking and Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen, final installment in Paratime stories.

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead, filmed, and Atlas Shrugged.

Harold Robbins, The Carpetbaggers.

Nevil Shute (Norway), No HighwayBeyond the Black StumpA Town Like AliceTrustee From the Toolroom plus non-fiction autobiography, Slide Rule. Several filmed.

Martin Cruz Smith, Rose and The Indians Won.

Robert Louis Stevenson, Across the Plains, non-fiction story, Google download.

Elleston Trevor, The Flight of the Phoenix, filmed.

Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

John Varley, Millennium.

Jules Verne, From The Earth to the Moon and Round the MoonTwenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, annotated translation by Walter James Miller in 1976 explains terrible inaccuracies, problems and omissions in the English standard Louis Mercier aka Mercier Lewis translation.

Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle and story, Report on the Barnhouse Effect.

Carey Wallace, The Blind Contessa's New Machine.

Samuel Merwin & Henry Kitchell Webster, Calumet K and The Short Line War.

Andy Weir, The Martian.

H. G. (Herbert George) Wells, The Time Machine, multiply filmed.

Martin Woodhouse and Robert Ross, Leonardo Da Vinci series, The Medici GunsThe Medici HawksThe Medici Emerald.

Martin Woodhouse, Giles Yeoman series, Tree FrogBush BabyMama DollBlue BoneMoon Hill.

Harold Bell Wright, The Winning of Barbara Worth, Google download.

Thank you and good reading to all!


FROM Nick Shaporal

May I ask please that you publish in the Newsletter my proposal to form a Shute reading and discussion group in Northern Britain?  Said reading group to meet at mutually agreeable location/locations from, say, the Scottish central belt, to Northern England, including possibly the ferry towns for Northern Ireland, wherever most attendees may find most convenient.

Email interest to myself at please?


FROM Sally Chetwynd

I appreciate the explanation of King's Flight-Queen's Flight by John Anderson in this Nov 2015 newsletter. What a feather in Shute's engineering cap to have acquired the contract for the King's "Airforce One!"

I have been reading Shute for 45 years and have been most fortunate to have acquired hardcover copies of all his titles. As far as my favorite Shute books, three or four of them take turns as my favorite at any given time. These are An Old Captivity, Requiem for a Wren, A Town Like Alice, and The Far Country. I enjoy all of his titles with the exception of On The Beach, which creeps me out, with good reason. That was his intent, and he communicated that warning well.

I gave a copy of ATLA to a fellow employee recently; we may have a new member soon, if she enjoys Shute as much as the rest of us.


FROM Richard Wynn

Some thoughts on Nevil Shute’s portrayal of characters.

Shute, like any artist, paints superb pictures with his stories. But all pictures have principal subjects, and there are people in the pictures who, though important to the story, play a lesser role. We’re all acquainted with Jean Paget, Tom Cutter, Theodore Honey, Carl Zlinter, and so on. But what about those whose names only appear briefly in Shute’s books? What about Annie McConchie, the Coombargana cook in ‘Requiem for a Wren’? Without her wisdom  and advice to Alan, things couldn’t really have moved ahead as well as they did. I think of  Madé Jasmi in ‘Round the Bend’, F/Lt.Pat Johnson and Flight Officer Stevens in ‘Pastoral’, Dick King in ‘Trustee from the Toolroom’, Tim Archer in ‘The Far Country’ and  Dr.Mitchison in ‘In the Wet’. All of these had a part to play, be it ever so small, but Shute  paints them in to the picture anyway.

I’m sure many will add exhaustively to the above list - what about contributing your special character and we’ll see what others think.


FROM Ralph Nickerson

Editor: Respons to Larry Dittmer

Regarding your comments on NS in a recent Newsletter, just downloaded - very well put, if I may say so.

I've read and re-read Shute for close to 60 years now, and the periods between readings are probably getting shorter!  Like yourself, I think, having just finished a novel(*) by this remarkable writer I seem to feel better about myself, my neighbours and the whole blasted human race, for about 3 days.  How does he do it?

I've enjoyed many, many authors - male, female, contemporary, 19th. century and earlier, of many genres - since I was a kid, but have never felt moved to join an appreciation society till I heard of this NS gathering.  It is good to feel that others, at least English speakers from the last century, share one's upliftment and pleasure.

Vive le Shute!

(*) Not that all are quite as good as the best, to my mind.  "Ruined City", despite some typically good stuff, involved an imaginary European country, which was not to my taste.  But "Trustee" and "Pied Piper" and "Far Country"?  Wonderful!


FROM Gadepalli Subrahmanyam

Larry Dittmer's opinion is well founded: we do not need to promote Nevil Shute Novels - they create a fan themselves. When I gave 'A Town Like Alice' to a new reader, he asked for more, and then I gave him 'Pied Piper' in order not to overdo things I am waiting for some time, before I give him my next couple 'No High Way'and ''Ruined City'. With these, I am sure, I will be able to add another fan to the eternal Shutist club.

P.S:My collection of Nevil Shute paper backs, mostly in Pan editions have become dog eared due to frequesnt use. I would like to acquire fresh set for posterty. Can any readers suggest a way ? 


FROM Simon Allen

I would guess that the link I'm about to past has been viewed and commented on before but:

Wiki: British Royal Family Aircraft  has a good summary of the various machines over the years.


I attach a photograph taken at Croydon Aerodrome in (probably) the mid 1930s. Standing in front of the Envoy are my paternal grandmother, my father (tall in the centre) and my uncle. The photograph would have been taken by my grandfather who was a pilot in the First War and sold aircraft (as well as motorcars and motorbikes) and many dealings in civil aviation between the wars.


FROM Tony Woodward

Only today I noticed that Lonely Road is available from in the Ealing Studios Rarities Collection: Volume 14

packaged with The Water Gipsies, The Sign of Four and Feather Your Nest. Yeah right, but the entire package of 4 films is available at £6.66 and I have just ordered it.

I look forward to hearing from other members about this movie...


FROM Adrian Featherstone

What Happened to the Corbetts – a postscript

“It Might Happen” was the title of an article in “Flight” magazine of 6 April 1939.  Written by the late Sir Francis Chichester, he said that his thoughts were inspired by just having read “What Happened to the Corbetts”.  Although he takes slight issue with one detail (the technology of the sextant described for navigation by the enemy bombers in “the Corbetts”), Mr Chichester emphasises his agreement that bombers could be – and will be – navigated by sextant observations to their target. He says in the article that he really wished the book could be issued to every family in the land; he is sure that everyone would start taking practical precautions once they read of the potential horrors to come.

Mr Chichester wrote a further article in “Flight” magazine, serialised in 4 parts in August / September 1939, under the title “Bombing by Celestial Navigation”, describing in detail a methodology for accurate celestial navigation to a far-away destination.  

Sir Francis Chichester was not only a single-handed round-the-world yachtsman (1967) but before that a pioneering aviator. He flew his own aircraft from England to Australia in December 1930 / January 1931. 

Later, he was the first to fly solo from New Zealand to Australia across the Tasman Sea. As his seaplane could not carry enough fuel for the whole journey, he undertook it in three legs, stopping at Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island.  It was a remarkable feat of navigation to find these small islands (less than 10 miles across) in the expanse of ocean, and he developed his own technique for navigating to them by sextant. His aircraft was wrecked in a storm while moored at one of the islands and he repaired it himself with the help of the islanders.

References : “Flight” magazine from 1909-2005 is archived on-line, digitally scanned and searchable.  “The Lonely Sea and the Sky” by Sir Francis Chichester, pub. 1964.


FROM Richard Michalak

I have made a 3d model of R-100 which you can see online at:

I made it because I am teaching myself 3D modelling and it seemed like a good idea to make something that nobody can visit for real any more.  

It was a lot of work but was very rewarding and I learnt a lot and I have no doubt the idea would have appealed to Nevil Shute given his own interest in model making.

In the course of making it I came across a film of its making:

In the interior scenes of the film everyone smokes like a chimney so the shots were certainly done before the gas bags were filled because, unlike R-101, R-100 was a strictly non-smoking ship. (R-101 had a special smoking room)

Sadly its a a very low res copy.

For the greater good and the Shute Foundation archives, I have saved a copy of the film to my computer should it disappear from youtube as it's watermarked by a video licensing company who might take it down.


FROM Richard Thorn

I am trying to find a copy of Wings, the Newsletter of the Literary Guild of America which was published in March 1940. In this particular issue there is an article written  by Nevil Shute on the background to his novel An Old Captivity.

I would welcome an electronic scan of this article, and would of course pay any costs involved.



Wow, lost of copy this month. Keep that up please.
From the Netherlands, where the weather is fine, Happy Holidays and a good start into 2016.

See you all next month.