Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Newsletter July 2017

Letters to the Editor

FROM Mills Dyer

The June/July issue of Air and Space Smithsonian has an article (pp. 60-67) on the RC-3 Seabee, a post WWII amphibian created for private flying and intended for sale for under $4000. 


 This sentence caught my eye: "In addition to two side doors, the amphibian has a door in the nose, which enables a copilot to stand and snag a buoy and offers passengers easy egress to docks.”  It made me think immediately of Alix Lockwood in “An Old Captivity” and her difficulty snaring the buoy when they landed in Cromarty Firth. 

FROM J.B. Robert

On Thanksgiving Day, 1951, when I was 14 years old, my parents and I went to see No Highway In The Sky at an old run-down theater in Bayside, New York called The Victory. That the theater was usually referred to as "the itch" said it all. Anyway, from that point forward I was hooked on Shute. The next several years I frequented the Canal Street used bookstores and despite my mother's constant warning about Scarlet Fever, was able to get all the pre-No Highway novels. Years later, while serving in the military in Europe and then living in the Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia I was able to complete my collection. And it all started because of Jimmy Stewart, Theodore and Elspeth Honey.

FROM Charles D.

A more modern investigation into the disappearance of the Norse in Greenland. Kind of a retracing of the novel,  I think.

FROM Mills Dyer

Regarding “An Old Captivity”:  There is a very interesting article in the March 2017 issue of Smithsonian Magazine, pp. 28-39 regarding the Norse settlements in Greenland:

FROM Curt Chambers

Back in my college days in the late 1950’s I lived one semester with my grandparents.  One day, bored with studying college lessons, I pulled out of my grandfather’s bookcase a Reader’s Digest condensed novel book.  Opening it up at random I started reading.  It was Rainbow and the Rose.  Before I was through with it I was hooked as a Shute fan.  And yes, most of the rest of my college career suffered (6 years to get a 4 year degree) but a collection of his books now sits predominantly on the top shelf of my own bookcase (along with that same RD book).  Incidentally, after reading On the Beach in those days, it took me more than 50 years before I could bring myself to read it again; not so with his other stories.  I would have to put Pied Piper as my favorite – some wonderful lines there.  (Paraphrasing here).  “Oh, you were over in France.  Did you have any trouble getting back?”  “No, not really.”  Have you ever heard a better typical English understatement?  And near the end – “Nicole says that in America there is so much food that you can give some to a dog and make him your friend”.  Maybe it’s only because I am a dog lover that that line always brings tears to my eyes.  And maybe it’s something else….  Would really like to see a NS Chapter get started here in Michigan.  Regards to all of his fans.

FROM John Anderson

Swallows on the Beaulieu.

The great Panjandrum is probably the best known of the wartime DMWD projects, but the development of the Swallow pilotless aircraft which was developed at the same time was the more technically complex. This was the development of a smoke-laying pilotless aircraft to lay smoke over the invasion beaches for the D-Day landings in 1944. The trials from a landing craft took place on the Beaulieu river in Hampshire in the early months of 1944. Nevil Shute, assisted by Alec Menhinnick, were present for these secret trials which were of limited success. In the end the Swallow project was abandoned.

Some years ago I researched the project and wrote up an account based on records in the National Archives and Imperial War Museum. Recently I sent a copy of my article to the archivist at the Beaulieu Museum. She wrote back saying that, although she knew the bare bones of the story, she was delighted to have a full account. Apparently the late Lord Montague of Beaulieu had recorded in his diary seeing the Swallow on a landing craft whilst on holiday from school in April 1944. He must have wondered what on earth it was all about!

From such beginnings came present day unmanned aerial vehicles and drones. 


As of next month, the newsletter will be send in 2 versions. The first version will be the version as you are used to, the second version will be a pdf-attachment, with photo’s etcetera. This way we hope to make the newsletter more modern and attractive. 

From the Netherlands, where it is cold (18 C) and wet, See you all next month.