Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Newsletter dated November 2015

Letters to the Editor

FROM J.B. Robert

A few months ago I was looking at President Obama's Summer Reading List and I downloaded several that looked interesting. One of them, "All The Light We Cannot See", by Anthony Doerr, I enjoyed thoroughly. I thought that it had a definite Shute-like feel to it although I can't be more specific. Perhaps because it was about ordinary people who do extra-ordinary things.

FROM Jim Cavanaugh

Editor: In response to Joy Hogg
First is  A town like Alice - second is Trustee FTTR

Reading/re-reading NSN for 50 years.  

FROM Mills or Nancy Dyer

Was Theodore Honey present?

FROM Larry Dittmer

 In answer to Jay Hogg's questions, my memory of my first NS book is uncertain; probably it was "The Rainbow and the Rose," or possibly "No Highway." It would have been 40 years ago. For the next 30 years, I collected 15 or so NS paperback books with no idea that anyone else but myself took Nevil Shute seriously. My discovery a few years ago of the the website and the good folks at the Colorado NS Society were like a breath of fresh air.

I have given copies of "A Town Like Alice," or "Round the Bend" to introduce others to our favorite author.

I don't share a desire to promote Nevil Shute. His work speaks for itself. He seems to have the balance right between personal responsibility for one's actions and responsibility to society of other people. In the current time of class warfare rhetoric and me-first attitudes, Nevil Shute gets it right most of the time. Shute's characters challenge us to: 

   Solve our own problems,

   help others, and

   enjoy life.

It's OK to feel good at the end of the book. None of the NS characters typifies this better than Jean Paget.

FROM Malcolm Cole

As well as being a life-long admirer of the novels of Nevil Shute I am also a movie fan and, am also an avid collector of my favourite films - of which there are many hundreds. I have all the films or TV series made from the novels of NSN with, of course, the exception of Lonely Road. I have seen the film at the British Film Institute and have been in e mail correspondence with them to try and persuade them to publish it on DVD themselves - as they have done with some titles which they hold. They were very helpful but ultimately did not feel that this was a proposition for them. They did some research on the rights issue but, as I understand their responses, could not be clear where these were now held.

The website outlines how, some while ago, the Foundation managed to get hold of a copy of the film from the BFI and how that copy is subject to 'tight restrictions' regarding duplication. Is there anyway that - not just for me but for Shutists generally - the Foundation could revisit this issue and see whether, in co-operation with the BFI, the rights issue could be clarified and the possibility of a DVD release - ? in co-operation with the Foundation - considered. I am sure that Shutists everywhere would be supportive. The very limited availability of the film either at the BFI or at the Albuquerque Library is a real frustration. What do others think?

FROM John Anderson


In March 1937 Nevil Shute's Company, Airspeed, received and order for an Envoy aircraft for the King's Flight and the timing of this order is interesting. In 1936 King George V died and was succeeded by the Prince of Wales who became King Edward VIII. As Prince of Wales he was "air-minded" and owned a number of aircraft. In 1934 he had inspected all the machines taking part in the MacRobertson air race to Australia (two Airspeed aircraft, a Viceroy and a Courier took part in that race). When he became King he set up the King's Flight, the first organisation in the world to provide air transport for a head of state. He appointed E.H. Fielden as Captain of the King's Flight and used his own De Havilland Dragon Rapide. He abdicated in December 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson. After his abdication the Dragon was sold and a new machine was needed for the new King, George VI. The Air Ministry decided that the Airspeed Envoy had a suitable specification and placed the order with Airspeed. In Slide Rule Shute writes that they, naturally, took a great deal of trouble over the build and finish of the aircraft. For Shute the order for this Envoy marked the pinnacle of Airspeed's development as a company. The Envoy, G-AEXX, was used regularly by the King up until 1940 when, during the war, it was superseded by an armed Lockheed Hudson.

With the accession of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952 the flight was renamed the Queen's Flight. E.H.Fielden, now a Group Captain, was re-appointed this time as Captain of the Queen's Flight. At this time Shute was writing "In The Wet". In the book the Captain of the Queen's Flight is Group Captain Cox who is described as "soldierly and handsome". A contemporary photo of Fielden, on this appointment, shows that he was indeed a "soldierly and handsome" looking man. As so often Shute probably had in mind a real life person as a model for his characters.



There was hardly any copy this month for the newsletter, so I have used some entries to older newsletters. Please send me copy for the next newsletter. Any Shute related topic will do. Great entry from the Dyers this month.

It is Autumn in the Netherlands. Nature is so beautiful right now.

See you all next month.