Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Newsletter dated July 2009


From John Forester

My first reading of a Nevil Shute work was The Pied Piper at time of publication, I think serialized. Since I had arrived in America as the result of the start of World War 2 (and had barely escaped being caught in Berlin by a week), I was intensely interested in the course of the war, which might, or might not, enable my return to London. I think that the next Shute book I read was No Highway. I heard a bit more about Shute from his New York editor, Frances Phillips, but I think that my impression that I met him in her office must be a false memory. With interests in model engineering, flying model aircraft, and sailing, I rather think that Trustee is my favorite of Shute's fiction, but Slide Rule is a most interesting account.

From Sally M. Chetwynd

I just finished reading Marazan, having read it only once before at least 30 years ago. All I remembered about it (from so long ago) was something happening on a beach at night. A good read, and I'm glad to have a copy in my possession now, courtesy of The Paper Tiger book publisher out of upper New York State, USA, whose reprints of more obscure Shute stories helped me to make my collection of Shute works complete, including the recently published The Seafarers. On The Seafarers, by the way, Dan Telfair has written a very good explanation of the evolution of the book.

I think it must have been my parents who introduced me to Nevil Shute. They had many of his books in the house, perhaps because my father was an electrical engineer, thus his interest. My mother continues to find Shute a popular read, and my second and fourth brothers are also avid fans.

Shute remains true to form in his work. Although a few of his stories are sad, they all spring from Shute's obvious personal conviction that ordinary people will (wittingly or unwittingly) perform extraordinarily and beyond the expected measure in untoward circumstances. Jaded or idealistic, they all find in themselves a core of decency and good will. Shute provides literary "comfort food" for us, an important contribution in any world, reassuring and inspiring. If these ordinary people of whom Shute writes can sustain their code of ethics through the difficult times they traverse, why should we not do the same?

Literary critics may disdain Shute because of his "comfort food" level, but they are snobs. There's nothing wrong with a good meat loaf for dinner, and there's nothing wrong with a good Shute book to read after that meat loaf. It may well be that the meat loaf, and the Shute book, are exactly what we need at any given time, far more satisfying than a formulaic concoction cobbled up for looks, with exotic ingredients titivated beyond recognition, and providing no flavor or nourishment.

Just my opinion.


It is hard to realise that, after 18 moths of planning and preparation, in less than 4 weeks we shall be gathered in York for our Conference.

The pace has quickened considerably in the last month to ensure that everything is in place for what will hopefully be an interesting and memorable event. Our speakers are busy finalising their presentation and have submitted their abstracts to go into the Conference Programme.

The excursion venues are lined up and know what is required of them, as is transportation.

I met our Guest after Dinner Speaker, Mary Stopes-Roe, last week to re-acquaint her with the Conference arrangements and she plans to talk about the the early days at Howden when her father (Barnes Wallis) and Nevil Shute worked closely together on the R.100.

Registration begins at 2 PM on Sunday 26th July with a Welcome reception that evening. If you are coming as a Day delegate please arrive in good time on the day so we can book you in. The full programme is on the website You can contact me by email at or by mobile phone on 07934 692521.

It just remains for me to hope you have a safe journey to York and I look forward to meeting you then.

Kind regards,

John Anderson

Pastoral Party

Take-up for the optional Pastoral Party has been around 90%, so it promises to be memorable evening. Held in a WWII NAAFI canteen at Elvington (Yorkshire Air Museum), partygoers will be treated to a wartime themed three course meal, and a 1940s entertainer. To get 'in the mood' there is optional costume hire available. Phil and Jill Nixon have sourced a company that provides WWII costumes for film and TV, including civilian and military wear. To select and hire the costume, email Mike Berman at . Mention the Nevil Shute Pastoral party and Mike will give you a discount. NB: To save costs, Phil & Jill will arrange for all costume hire to be delivered and returned in one go.


With less than a month to go, we are looking forward to the Conference in York. However there will be one notable absentee, Mike Meehan who, for health reasons, can't be with us on this occasion. We wanted to put on record the many contributions Mike has made to the Foundation since he came to UK2003.

He has provided invaluable help to us both in planning both Alice Springs 2007 and UK 2009. He conceived the logos and titles, produced the quizzes, sourced the music for "Novel Pieces", and the competition prizes and always provides sound advice and inspiration when it is needed. In 2007 and last year, Mike was on the interview panel for selection of candidates for the Aviation Scholarship awards at Sherburn Aero Club, 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.

Mike & John have shared some memorable 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 and he keeps in regular contact with him. 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 have been invaluable. Mike always supports our UK gatherings, York in 2004, Exbury in 2005, Oxford in 2006 and last year Dartmouth. Always he comes up with great ideas, suggestions and greatly adds to the enjoyment of these events. Mike's natural inclination is to work quietly behind the scenes, but it is high time his many contributions were put on the record, and we thank him for all he has done.

So Mike we're sorry you can't make it to York. We know you'll be there in spirit and we promise to give you a daily blow-by-blow account. There'll be hell to pay if we don't!

Laura Schneider & John Anderson


From René Hojris

New Danish biography about Nevil Shute - your help is needed and appreciated !

Dear fellow "Shutist",

I am planing to release a Danish biography about Nevil Shute on 12 January 2010, on the day when it will be 50 years since Shute died.

It would be extremely valuable for me to get information from articles and interviews and interesting clippings from newspapers, weeklies and magazinens. These will be very hard to catch, but some of the recievers of the Foundations Newsletter might have some of these and can copy the material for me.

I will of course pay you for the expences and thank you in my foreword plus send you a free dedicated copy of the book.

Thank you and All the Best,

René Hojris, Copenhagen, Denmark

From Jim Stanfield

Way back in 1960, I had my first engineering job with an Aerospace company in Texas when fate brought me to Farnborough at the same time Shute was there. I had made some improvements in the testing of aircraft (that could have been me in "No Highway"). I was chosen to present a paper on my work at the annual meeting on the subject at Farnborough, big stuff for a 22 year old. The keynote speaker was the great man himself and I asked a fellow attendee who the old fellow was. At the cost of three of those awful English beers in a local pub, the fellow brought me up to date on just who Shute was. I ran out and bought my first book at a local bookstore.

That first project I worked on was the TEMCO TT-1 "Pinto". I recently helped write a small book on the plane. sells it. My mother was the first American Indian Aeronautical engineer. She worked with the great Roy Liming of P-51 fame.

From Philip Nixon

I have set up a Nevil Shute twitter. The purpose is to spread news fast about matters of interest connected with Nevil Shute.

Here is the link to find it, and hopefully you will choose to become a follower.

Editor: I immediately signed in for a twitter account, and am happy that I can inform you that I'm the first follower of ItemWillie.

From Art Cornell

My daughter, Cathleen, is planning to attend our Cape Cod Chapter Nevil Shute meeting on June 28. Our book for discussion is The Breaking Wave. She went to her local library to get the novel and could not find any Nevil Shute books. Being surprised, she went to the librarian and found that they are filed under Norway rather than Shute.

Then, when she found the book, on the spine was written:

The Breaking Wave

Does anyone know if other libraries file Shute's books under Norway ? Also, can anyone explain how a publisher can have Norway on the spine rather than Nevil Shute ? What does "N892 Br" mean ?

From Malcolm Cole

As regular readers of the newsletter may have seen before as well as a lifelong fan of the books of NSN I am also a collector of old films and - to a lesser extent - old TV dramas. I have all the filmed versions of NSN books with exception of Lonely Road which either in its UK form - Lonely Road - or its US form - Scotland Yard Commands, has been unobtainable to collectors. The Foundation and the British Film Institute (where I have viewed it) have copies but it is realistically unavailable for individuals to obtain. The Foundation website has, for some years, contained a statement expressing the hope that its wider availability may be achieved but no progress to this end seems to be contemplated. I have myself pressed the BFI to publish it as a DVD but they do not seem to recognise the film's significance. Could the Foundation Board revive the issue and see if this situation can be rectified. Their corporate influence might make the difference.

As an aside, my search for this film led to my discovery (via the internet movie data base -imdb) of a very recently entered record of a BBC TV series made in 1968 called The Jazz Age and a particular episode of that series entitled 'Lonely Road' (aired 10 December 1968). This is indeed the NSN story and featured the following cast -

Bernard Archard Jenkinson
Michael Barrington Colonel Feddon
Karen Ford Adela
John Gregson Commander Stevenson
Paul Grist Billy Gordon
Frederick Hall Professor Ormsby
Robert Harris Sir David Carter
Damaris Hayman Waitress
Walter Horsbrugh Dr. Mackenzie
Rex Robinson Marston
Jayne Sofiano Mollie Gordon
Susan Whitman Edna
Jerome Willis Major Norman

Almost certainly this does not exist anymore as the BBC were infamous for wiping tapes of TV dramas made in the 60s and 70s - unless anyone knows any different ! But anyway it is interesting to see that this story did have another dramatisation.

Hope this may be of interest.


Please do check

This is the last Newsletter before our conference in York. I'm very much looking forward to meeting many of you. Most of those will be old friends, but I understand from John Anderson, that there are also going to be people in York for whom this is the first conference.

The August Newsletter may be a little later than usual, as I'm flying home from York on August 1.


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


Bruce A Clarke lives in Bangkok


Jim & Kristi Woodward live in Broken Arrow (east of Tulsa), Oklahoma, USA.
Priscilla Pruitt lives near Bellingham, Washington State
Bill McCandless lives in 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