Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Newsletter dated February 2013

Letters to the Editor

From Chris & Penny Morton

Chris and I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season. 2013 is here already and The Rainbow Connection less than nine months away !

We did appreciate the e-mails from Shutists concerned for our welfare during Tasmania's devastating bushfires. The worst of them were about 50 miles east of us, plus some in the wilderness area about 50 miles west, well away from the area covered by TAS 2013. Luckily, Aussie bush regenerates amazingly quickly. We remain alert, though, just in case.

Since we've had a few enquiries about "King of the Wilderness", we contacted Chris Pearce of Hobart Bookshop. For those wishing to purchase a copy, it is available for Au$24.95 minus a 10% discount for those identifying themselves as prospective Shute conference delegates. Mailing cost to the U.K. is Au$17.20 and to the U.S. Au$13.70. Their contact details are: or see

We remind you to come early or stay late in October, to take full advantage of Tasmania's many attractions, both historic and scenic, including such twitcher treats as possible sightings of the rare and critically endangered Orange Bellied Parrot, or our majestic Wedge-tailed Eagle.

Any pre- or post-conference touring can be arranged through The Old Woolstore's friendly team, whose link is on the conference website, as are pertinent details for TAS 2013, The Rainbow Connection, thanks to John Anderson. Remember, when booking your accommodation, be sure to say you will be attending the Nevil Shute Conference, so as to get the special pre-arranged room/breakfast rates.

Lonely Planet recently named Hobart as the world's 7th most desirable capitol city to visit so, to find out all there is to see and do, you might want to check out Tourism Tasmania's website at:

We have both good and bad news. Unfortunately, despite encouraging initial response from QANTAS, they appear unwilling to help out after all; their area manager has not responded to our requests for a meeting. The good news is that you do not have to factor in tips when planning your trip budget; tips are not necessary and not expected here! Also, Australia's Goods and Services (GST)) sales tax is included in the price, so 'what you see is what you pay'.

Thanks to an exciting development through John Anderson, our presentation schedule is now full, and is one you will certainly find stimulating. He will reveal all on the website.

On-line registration for the conference will be initiated in about 4 months, so it's not too early to start making your travel plans!

We're off to the Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart the second week in February, so will be out of touch for a few days.

Cheers, Chris and Penny

From Alison Jenner

Editor: Alison received the following email from Joe Coles. Can anybody help him ?

I am currently researching the Planet Satellite light aircraft for a magazine article and am very curious as to the type’s relationship with Shute’sSatellite Torpedo-Bomber-Fighter, 4. Was Major Dundas Heenan involved in the earlier concept, did he know Shute?

Both aircraft are small pusher aircraft, of a similar configuration sharing the same name, surely there is some connection?

Please reply to

I look forward to your reply,


Joe Coles

Editor: Alison also received the following email.
As a rule, we don’t do advertisements in the newsletter, but I thought I would make an exception, because of the topic:

Dear Foundation,

I own Pond Head House on Hayling Island, Hampshire, UK and I live here with my wife and children. As you know, Nevil Shute once lived here.

I thought I would let you know that I will be renting the grounds out for events such as weddings and filming over the next few years. There will be no access to the house itself and I only plan to allow 10 - 12 events per year. The reason I have decided to do this is that the property is in need of some renovation and repair and I wish to maintain it's original beauty and character. Therefore all proceeds from the event hire will go towards the maintenance and repair of the property and house

As members of the foundation have often turned up here in the past to look around, I thought you might like to know that it would be available should any members of the foundation wish to hire it for a function.

All enquiries and bookings would be handled by an event planner but in the first instance you are welcome to email me directly.

Kind Regards,

Mr P N Stylianou (

From David Henshall

In the details on the Nevil Shute website Cowdray Hall is identified as the probable location for Arner Hall at Under. The picture in the Timeline shows the ruins of the old hall, but this was rebuilt in the mid-Victorian period and by the time of 'So Disdained' any references would really have been to the new 'Cowdray Hall'.

I was doing some research in the area when it was mentioned that the Hall had recently changed hands - so I tracked down the details as there is some interesting historical detail there.

Another piece in the jigsaw !

From Julian Mincham

I began reading Shute's books in my 20s and collected most of them. The one which most impressed me was Round the Bend which I considered was one of the really significant novels of its time. It was gratifying, then to read in this excellent biography that the author himself considered it his best book, most likely to survive.

I recently began re-reading the novels after a break of many years. In turning again to the biography I was struck how little that Shute had revealed of himself and his private life in his own autobiography. John Anderson has remedied this. His book is scrupulously researched and highly readable and it answers most of the questions one has wondered about. It also benefits from a forward by Shute's surviving daughter.

This book is for all who enjoy reading the novels. It is especially for those who read Slide Rule and began wondering about what sort of man Shute really was. One fact illuminates, for me, just what kind of adventurer he was. Anyone who, as Shute did after the second world war, fly from Britain to Australia and back in a two seater Proctor aircraft with a companion who was not a pilot and with only 250 hours of flying experience in total, is a special kind of man.

Hold that thought !

From Philip Nixon

Following on from the inaugural meeting of the Nevil Shute Book Group (England) that was held in Nevil Shute's old home in Southsea, where What Happened to the Corbetts was discussed, I am planning the next meeting.

This next meeting that has yet to have a date fixed is to discuss Pastoral and I’m asking for help in identifying the true location of the fictitious bomber base 'RAF Hartley'.

"The idea of having our meetings at a location relevant to the book that we are discussing, adds to the occasion. So I'm looking to see where we can discuss Pastoral in the context of the main scenes in the book. Can anyone shed light on where Shute based his story? Of course, it might not have existed, though we are a little spoilt in that his fiction can regularly be linked to his own experiences and travels."

I have gleaned the following clues from the book, that might help in identifying the real location.

Clues taken from Pastoral

Central Character, Flight Lieutenant Peter Marshall, flies 58 ops, mostly from Hartley, in Wellington bombers.

RAF Hartley is described as one of three stations that formed the Group: Charwick, Wittington, and Hartley Magna. There was a Group W/T station at Pilsey, a hamlet three miles from Hartley.

And that it was one mile from the village of Hartley Magna which had two pubs: the Black Horse & the Swan. It was also about two miles from fictitious River Fittel where Marshal fishes at Coldstone Mill.

Uffington is mentioned as being in the vicinity of the Vale of White Horse. "Where a 15lb pike was caught"

Section Officer Gervaise cycled for pleasure but found the area was too flat for her liking.

The episode involving Badger spotting at 'Kingslake woods' at 'Chipping Hinton' is described as being seven or eight miles from Hartley. (Hinton exists, as does Chipping Norton, plus there is Hinton Waldrist near Kingston Bagpuize). "They came out of the woods into a clearing. They had been walking up a gentle slope for some way, and now they found that they were on a piece of rising ground looking towards the East. The clearance in the trees showed them the country over towards Princes Risborough and its range of hills, sunny and hazy."

Two miles upstream is Riddington. There's no such place but there is a Tiddington in Oxfordshire.

Returning from the pranged 'R for Robert', they came by train to Oxford "that was eleven miles from Hartley Magna". Later, it takes them about half an hour to get to Oxford in a small Austin truck.

Prior to a crash landing, Marshall burns off fuel over Kingslake which he locates by using "the rough bearings from the beacon at Nottingdene and the beacon at Gonsall". Gonsall is quarry near Shrewsbury. Nottingdene does not appear to exist.

Anyone interested in helping identify the location, or who would like to express there interest in attending, should email me via

From Keith De La Rue

In the last newsletter, the documentary "Fallout", about the making of "On the Beach", was mentioned. I have also heard about this from Philip Davey, the author of the book about the making of the movie, "When Hollywood Came to Melbourne", and have updated my web site accordingly. I thought your readers may like a reminder about my web pages on Nevil Shute. The page for "On the Beach" is at:

The section about Philip Davey's book and related info is on this page at:

The book is no longer available in a printed version, but (an extended edition) is available as a print-ready PDF file on CD from Philip Davey via the contact details on the site.

There is more info on this page about some related activities, including a 2009 BBC4 radio documentary, "Fallout from the Shore" (audio file available) and the movie "Fallout". There is also a link to an essay summarising the story of the making of the movie.

From W. Mills Dyer, Jr.

There is a very interesting article, "Vikings and Native Americans Face-to-Face", on pp. 80-93 of the November 2012 issue of National Geographic Magazine, which discusses archaeological investigation of Tanfield Valley on the southern coast of Baffin Island, which is approximately 1.5 degrees further north than Brattalid in "An Old Captivity".

Also see:

From Cedric

Some interesting links:


Very sad news this week, as on February 4, our friend Linny Fowler passed away. Many of you, especially those that come to the Foundation gatherings will remember her as a very nice and kind lady. My thoughts are with Beall.

From the Netherlands, were it is still winter and cold, see you next month.