Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Newsletter dated January 2010



It is our sad duty to let you know that after a prolonged battle against cancer, Mike Meehan died on 11th December. Mike was as dedicated a Shutist as they come.

Mike was born in Oldham near Manchester and from a very young age, was mad keen on aircraft. He grew up in post war England and well remembered the austerity of that time, so well described in "The Far Country". He served an apprenticeship at Avros in Manchester, taking his engineering qualifications at Salford College. One of the projects he worked on was the Avro Atlantic, a delta wing passenger version of the Vulcan, which he claimed was what Shute modelled the Ceres aircraft on in "In The Wet".

After Avros, he did two years of National Service in the RAF before embarking on a long career in aviation, first on flight test work and latterly as a specialist and consultant on aircraft hydraulic systems. During his career, he lived and worked all over the world; from Israel to Indonesia, Italy to Canada, South Africa to Sweden, as well as the United States. Before retiring to Bournemouth in 2003, his last job was in Munich. Even after retirement Mike continued his connection with aviation, being a volunteer at Bournemouth Aviation Museum.

Quite by chance, he learned of the Shute Conference at Southsea. It was a pivotal experience because he made many new friends who shared his passion for Nevil Shute. Mike was bitten by the research bug and John and he shared many notable research trips to Farnborough (twice), the British Library, Cambridge, Balliol College and, with Joost, the discovery of Runagate. Mike's natural rapport with people soon made a friend of the present owner of Runagate and he kept in regular contact with him.

In 2007 and 2008, Mike was on the interview panel for the selection of candidates for the Aviation Scholarship awards at Sherburn Aero Club. This was a task ideally suited to his great knowledge of both aviation and Nevil Shute's novels, not to mention his friendly interaction with all concerned.

Both Mike and Laura have spent a lot of time working in and with museums and it was this collaboration that gave birth to the Nevil Shute Norway Virtual Museum. Mike's resourcefulness and memory for detail were invaluable. He always supported our UK gatherings; York in 2004, Exbury in 2005, Oxford in 2006 and 2008 in Dartmouth. Always, he came up with great ideas, suggestions and greatly added to the enjoyment of these events.

Mike's steely determination and positive outlook kept him going until the end. He told us that when he was confined to bed he took great comfort in re-reading Shute's books, familiar though he was with every one of them.

We send our deepest sympathy to Mike's wife, Andry, sons Anthony and Nick and daughter, Amellia. He will be greatly missed by them and by us all.

John Anderson & Laura Schneider

From Steph Gallagher

Mike was a lovely, lovely man. I really enjoyed his humour and warmth. I remember flying out to Cape Cod. I had cashed in a stack of air miles to celebrate my 40th birthday in style. Mike was on the same flight. I had asked the steward if Mike could come and have a drink with me in first. A short while later, the steward came up with Mike and announced "Madam, your chauffeur is here". Mike, the cheeky one had told him he was my driver! He came with a big grin and a lovely box of chocolates. We celebrated together with champagne and chocolates (totally against his diet!!!). That is a wonderful memory I will always cary with me.

Editor: In the December Newsletter Owen Hurrell asked if any of us knew which airfield was used in the movie Landfall

From David Dawson-Taylor

Dear Owen,

I've just read your question in the December edition of the Nevil Shute Foundation newsletter, concerning the airfield in "Landfall".

I am convinced that it is Titchfield aerodrome, which is on the western outskirts of Fareham (near where I live).

It was never a "real" airfield, in the sense that it had runways, as it was a barrage balloon station in the war. I think Nevil Shute used it with a bit of poetic licence.

Inevitably the area has been over-run by factories etc, but there still remain one or two RAF type wooden huts, now used by the local Air cadet squadron.

Yours Sincerely,

David Dawson-Taylor

UK Librarian and Webmaster, NSN Foundation

From Grady Jensen

I have three typewritten letters, framed, signed by "Nevil Shute Norway." One is a 2-pager, framed by itself, and the other two are framed together together with a pen-and-ink sketch of Shute's head.

Are you aware of any autograph/document dealers who might be interested in purchasing these? I've been a Shute devotee for many years and acquired these letters long ago simply because of my interest in him.

From the Editor
Several of you have send me a link to an article about Nevil Shute, in the British newspaper "The Daily Telegraph", and also in the expat newspaper, the Weekly Telegraph, in Australia. Seems that his books are published again by a publisher called Vintage. Very good news. Please click to:

From Garry P Dalrymple

Dear ShuteinOZ

Do you know of any active Nevil Shute fans who are currently living in Sydney Australia?

Fans who could give an authoritative talk on the SF side of his writings?

I'm hoping to build up a list of potential speakers on a number of "well known" SF writers with a view to being able to commence a series of evening SF meetings that would have the gravitas/ public appeal equal to that of the numerous Single Author literary clubs that are active in Sydney, like the local Jane Austen/Rudyard Kipling/Bronte Sisters Societies.

The intention is present an annual calendar (starting late 2010) of evening talks to raise the profile of Science Fiction that has passed the test of time and to provide an outlet for the general readership of SF and to provide an occasion for the followers of any number of significant SF&F Writers whose local fan base could not sustain a stand alone single Author Society.

If you have an Nevil Shute email list or similar community forum, please raise my request on it, as I'm certain that your membership would include people with a strong interest in some other SF writers who should be represented on such a list.

Wishing you well in all things.

Editor: How about it Richard ?

From Joëlle Anthony

Hi. I have a young adult novel coming out from Penguin next May, and I dedicated it to Nevil Shute (and John Row Townsend) and I wrote a piece about it here:

The reason I think it's so important is because I'm hoping that lots of younger readers (teens) will be curious about Mr. Shute when they read my dedication and seek out some of his books.


First I would like to wish you all a very happy New Year. Than I must apologize for the very late publication of this newsletter. I already warned you that it would be a few days late, because of my holidays, but I didn't mean it to be this late. Sorry about that.

Several of us were at Mike's funeral. I was late, as my plane was delayed for 4½ hours. I first met Mike in Southsea in 2003. He became a very good friend, and he will be missed very much.

From Holland where it is white and cold, see you next month.


Write in if you want your name listed and would like to get together with other Shutists in your vicinity.


Jim Wells Lindfield, Sydney
Richard Michalak Paddington, Sydney
Ruth Pearson Adelaide
Neil Wynes Morse Canberra
James Fricker Melbourne
Tommy and Polly Thomas Tumbi Umbi, NSW
Jane Lowe Berridale, NSW


Mike Marsh Chepelare


Harvey Fetterly Winnipeg, Manitoba


Joost Meulenbroek Enschede


Julian Stargardt


Gadepalli Subrahmanyam Vizianagaram


Robert Davis


Håkan Larsson lives in Löberöd


Bruce A Clarke lives in Bangkok


Jim & Kristi Woodward Broken Arrow (east of Tulsa), Oklahoma, USA.
Priscilla Pruitt Bellingham, Washington State
Bill McCandless Joliet near Chicago.
Joy Hogg, Harrietta Michigan, Northern lower Michigan, near Traverse City and Cadillac
David B. Horvath, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Al Benkelman Warrenton, Virginia
Mary L Barnich St Petersburg, Florida
Art Cornell Cape Cod
Bob King Stanwood, WA
Dave Penniman Newtonville, NY
Jim MacDougald St Petersburg, Florida
Alan Gornik Western Springs, IL
Bob Schwalbaum Honolulu
Mike Miller Chariton, IA
Sally M Chetwynd Wakefield, Massachusetts
John Cooper San Antonio, Texas
Barry Barnes Reno NV
Jim Sterling Modesto, California
Kit Lauen Edina Mn (Minneapolis)
Steve King 30 miles north of Seattle
George Norcross New Mexico
Merle Bedell Buford, Georgia
LauraSchneider New Jersey, Eastern PA, New York
Ray Wilder Jamestown Kentucky
Nate Benedict Friday Harbor, Washington
Jim Tierney Simi Valley, CA
Jim Janelle Hermon, Maine
Russell C. Coile Pacific Grove (140m south of San Francisco, CA)
Rev. Fr. Daniel Beegan Rumford ME