Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Newsletter dated February 2012

Letters to the Editor

From Philip Nixon

Nevil Shute Weekend in Maidenhead on May 19/20

As I write, we have a total of 17 names on the interested list, and there is room for a few more.

Here is a rough summary of what we are currently thinking of doing so far, though it may well change!

Saturday 19 May

Meet up in Maidenhead at a hotel (TBA) before taking a trip to West Ealing to visit Nevil Shute's birthplace. We are looking to insert in to the schedule a visit to the Maidenhead Heritage Centre that day. This is a small museum and is the official museum for the Air Transport Auxiliary which can be found at

Later, that evening, we will have a dinner together in Maidenhead. For those unfamiliar with Maidenhead, it is a town on the river Thames in Royal Berkshire, situated west of London and approximately 25 minutes drive from Heathrow airport.

Sunday 20th May

Spend the day at White Waltham aerodrome, scene of the UK HQ of the Royal Flight in In The Wet. Our room is "The Snug", in which we will have on-topic presentations. We are also arranging a guided visit to the hangars. Refreshments & buffet lunch will be provided.

The costs of the museum visit and day at White Waltham is yet to be finalised but early indications are that a budget of £30 per head is likely. We are hoping to avoid hiring coaches, if enough of us are prepared to share seats in our own vehicles.

Speakers have yet to be confirmed and volunteers to present a talk are welcome to get in touch with me (Phil).

From Simon Allen

It is gratifying to see that Amazon has the books available for it's Kindle. I have not checked the whole list to see if they are all there. I wonder if those that have other e-book readers could check availability on their formats, such as the "Nook" etc ? Also, Amazon has an author's page for NS with (brief) info supplied by the publisher. Amazon author page I wonder if we might be able to get them to supply Amazon with our website address?

From Gary E. Swinson

In response to the email from Andy Poole in the January Newsletter, I offer the following:

If Andy or any other readers of the Newsletter are seeking early editions of Nevil Shute books, we suggest you do a search on ( This is a great site for locating used books. Just fill in the Author ("Nevil Shute") and the title of the book of interest and when you select "Find the Book", AddALL searches up to 24 web sites for any mention of the book of interest. Sites searched include ABAA, Abebooks, Amazon, Biblio, Alibris, etc. If you would like to customize your search or the order in which results are returned, you can deselect sites that are not of interest, sort results by price, restrict to specific bindings, search only for first editions, select currency of interest, etc.

I have used AddALL for many years to locate books of potential interest. It is also a great site to get a sense of the worth of a book. As with any online site, you must be careful when ordering a book to make sure you properly understand exactly what you are getting. Whenever possible, I contact the seller directly to ensure the item of interest is still available and that it meets my needs.

We often recommend the AddALL site to folks searching for a particular book. If you have any experiences using the site that are particularly good or bad, we would appreciate hearing from you so we can tailor future recommendations of the site as appropriate.

From John W. Cooper

I saw this on our PBS station KLRN, here in San Antonio. I believe this was probably, originally, a UK/Canada production. Big boys playing in the mud with firecrackers! Fun. John

Bombing Hitler's Dams>

Program Description

In 1943 a squadron of Lancaster bombers staged one of the most audacious raids in military history: destroying two gigantic dams in Germany's industrial heartland and cutting the water supply to arms factories. Their secret weapon ? A revolutionary bouncing bomb invented by British engineer Barnes Wallis. Wallis and the pilots of 617 Squadron - a lively mix of Britons, Australians, Americans, and Canadians - were hailed as heroes who dealt a mighty blow to the German war machine. Now, NOVA recreates the extreme engineering challenges faced by Wallis and the pilots. A crack team of experts, including dam engineers, explosives specialists, mechanics, and aircrew, steps into the shoes of the "dambusters" and attempts to overcome each of the obstacles the original team faced. They must adapt a vintage World War II DC-4 to carry a bomb the size of an oil drum, train to drop it from a dangerously low altitude, and get it to bounce over obstacles and onto the target, a scale model of the German dam struck by the original dambusters. Can they succeed in destroying the dam and unraveling the mysteries of the one-of-a-kind bouncing bomb ?

In "Bombing Hitler's Dams", NOVA re-creates the extreme engineering challenges faced by Wallis and the pilots with the aid of six spectacular experiments. Each represents a technical challenge that the "Dambusters" had to solve to make their mission a success.

A team of experts - from dam engineers to explosives specialists - steps into the shoes of the Dambusters. They will adapt a vintage World War II DC4 to carry a bomb the size of an oil drum; train to drop it from a dangerously low altitude in pitch darkness; get it to bounce over obstacles and onto the target; and finally, at a test site in Canada with a 1:6 scale model of one of the German dams, try to repeat history.

NOVA is on Facebook, and you can follow @novapbs on Twitter.

From Sherill Anderson

Something I didn't Know

Click here: Wooden Mosquito Airplane Manufacturing in Australia -1944 de Havilland DH98 - YouTube

From Bill Levy

Gearhead video ! Long but worth it.

Editor: Bill sent this link to me and to several others. Some of them commented:

Andy Banta

I've seen this before and, after consulting with some other, I have some comments. First, apparently it runs on compressed air as a two cycle engine; i.e. an expansion on every stroke. Looking at the gears, the cams run at the crankshaft speed. The large cylinder (refrigeration) on one end and the associated hardware appears to be some sort of air pump which provides a load for the engine. Interestingly the only lubrication seems to be oil or grease added during construction and presumably periodically thereafter. The only gaskets appear to be O rings between the manifolds and the heads. It appears the pistons are a lap fit in the cylinders; I don't see and would not expect rings. I can understand how most of the parts were made on a lathe and a small milling machine; the cams are a bit of a mystery. If you look carefully, they have a profile similar to IC engines cams which are ground on special machinery. Interestingly most of the assembly is with slot head screws. The 1200 plus hours listed at the end is over 30 weeks at 40 hours/week and presumably longer in France where the work week is shorter. Having said all this, it certainly is a marvelous piece of work worthy of much praise.

John Anderson

It is, as you say, an exquisite piece of model engineering indicative of the care, time and patience devoted by model engineers to producing these marvellous models.

It is, though, designed to run from compressed air so it is not a fully working IC engine in that sense.

You might be interested in looking at the following

This details a project by a group of latter-day Keith Stewarts to make the 15cc Seal IC engine. This engine was designed by Edgar Westbury of the Model Engineer and was the model NSN was working on at the time of his death. These is quite a lot of detail on the web page including short video clips of the engine being run (scroll down to get these)

I like the picture of the finished engine mounted on a polished oak block. You can just imagine Keith taking something like this in "Trustee" !

James Fricker

Very nice !

From Laura Schneider

With the link below, you will be able pull up every airplane that was built in every country in the world and every aircraft company. Want to check out Nevil Shute's designs at Airspeed?

Interesting fact: The US has built 851 different aircraft but the Uk has built 975.

From Gary E. Swinson

Mary Ann and I were fortunate to have the opportunity to share some time with Phil Nixon in mid-January. Phil flew into Los Angeles a few days early for the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) annual trade show held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. NAMM is a trade-only business show catering to domestic and international dealers and distributors, and is one of the largest music product trade shows in the world.

Phil stayed with us for a few days; this created an opportunity for us to jointly celebrate the 113th anniversary of Nevil Shute Norway's birth on 17 January 2012.

As Phil describes it: Phil came over from the far country and gave us a starter from on the beach. He drove us round the bend as he kept the main course most secret until it was served. Cooking in a strange kitchen it could so easily have ended up ruined city, but the result was not beyond the black stump. He is now an honorable trustee in Mary Ann's toolroom!

According to Mary Ann, meal preparations were made to the accompaniment of the songs of Buddy Holly and Frank Sinatra, with a slug of wine here and there to keep the process moving.

By way of celebration, Phil, ably assisted by Mary Ann, fixed a scrumptious celebratory meal featuring of a starter of Creamy Mussels with Smoky Bacon and Cider followed by a main course of Chicken, Sausage & Prawn Jambalaya. We toasted Nevil Shute Norway as we enjoyed our starter. There was no room for dessert !

If either of the above menu items sound of interest, you will discover the associated recipes at the following urls:

From Tommy Ray

Multiple vote.

Do you have a sense of people's reaction to such a novel approach to voting ? I remember being sort of awed by the idea. The older I get the better I think the idea is. I'll get out my copy of In the Wet and reread Mr. Shute, who is far and away my favorite 20th Century writer. I know of no one who attempted such a panoply of ideas with such skill.

From David Dawson-Taylor

It was announced in the Daily Telegraph on 6th January 2012 that Bob ADDERLEY died on 15th December.

Bob was an enthusiastic supporter of the Nevil Shute Foundation, and attended gatherings whenever he was able.(see for example

He also contributed to the website with his contribution to the pages "Summary of flying episodes contained in Shute's novels" which can be found at


Very sorry to hear about Bob. I've known him as a very kind and modest man. He will be remembered.

I'm sorry, that I'm late this month. Very busy at work.

Lots of copy this month, thank you for that.

Last month, I wrote that we had had the warmest 1st of January since they started recording. Now it is different. Last week we had the lowest temperature in the Netherlands, since 1942. It was -22.8°C (-9°F). For some of you that may not be cold, but for us Dutch it is. See you all next month