Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Newsletter dated October 2009


What has been the reaction to a Shute book by new readers of his work ??

FROM Garry Cline

Two friends, whom I had loaned copies of Trustee From the Toolroom to, both so enjoyed the story they asked why they had not known of Nevil Shute before. I'm sure they had seen the films On the Beach and A Town Like Alice in years past but had not connected them to the author of the stories. Both have since become readers of his books.

FROM Joy Hogg

I read with interest the comment that Shute's books have a slow start and perhaps don't "grab" the reader early. I suspect that may be true in a time of the Internet when we make instant choices about what to read in a sea of information. So the question might be "What does one say to encourage a person to read a Shute book ?" In my case, it was a book club choice. But I don't think I hooked any Shutists there.

Editor: So let's make that the new question:
What does one say to encourage a person to read a Shute book ?


FROM Dan Telfair

Jim Schermerhorn, one of our original members, passed away recently after a long illness. He was an ardent Shutist, as was his wife Jerre. They attended the first international gathering, the Centennial, and ran registration for that event, as well as making a presentation and assisting in many other ways.

Jim had a lifelong passion for aviation. Like young Ronnie Clarke in "The Rainbow and the Rose", he had soaked up knowledge and flying hours long before he could get his pilot's license, which he actually secured before his driver's license.

A 1953 graduate of the US Naval Academy, it was a foregone conclusion Jim would be in naval aviation, and he earned his wings at the Naval Air Training Command at NAS Pensacola in 1955. He spent much of his twenty years' service flying all over the world, specializing in seaplanes (the P5M Marlin).

Jim was predeceased by his wife Jerre J. Schermerhorn, and is survived by their four children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

FROM John Anderson


Early in September I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Mr Cavendish Morton. He is one of the dwindling number of people, still alive, who knew and worked with Nevil Shute. He and his twin brother Concord were self taught artists and set themselves up in the 1930s to do commercial artwork for industry. They did a good deal of artwork for Airspeed at Portsmouth including brochures for many of the aircraft and for the Airspeed Aeronautical College. Although now 98 and rather infirm Cavvy, as he he is known, made me very welcome, was full of reminisences, and kindly allowed me to photograph and scan some of his Airspeed artwork. A full report of my visit which includes some examples of his artwork is on the website.

I am very grateful to Christopher Haworth-Booth who kindly made the introduction for me.

FROM Shirish Joshi

I am a long time Shute fan - ever since my schooldays many decades back - and now have several Shute books on tape that I listen to while driving. Recently completed Pied Piper.

This morning, while browsing the BBC website, I came upon an article dealing with the evacuation of British children:-

Don't know whether it is coincidence or not, and who thought of the name first, but this evacuation was called "Operation Pied Piper".

Perhaps Shutists in the UK who were part of the operation might want to share their experiences.

FROM Fred Zimmerman

I am a new subscriber who happens to be a publisher, and I am wondering whether there might be any interest in the Nevil Shute community in putting together a collection of appreciations and critical essays about Shute. (And, of course, if there are any out of print or never published essays by the Master himself, that would be a wonderful lagniappe !) Would you mind circulating this note to anyone who might be interested ?


Fred Zimmerman
Publisher, Nimble Books

FROM Robert Lambkin

NSN was that rare breed of writer who wrote from the heart, was a natural story teller with the ability to structure his tale in a logical way. The end result was a human story couched in beautiful English diction that made it difficult to put down once started. Many is the time I have stayed up late to finish a story, often being read for the second or more time.

Whilst in the great depression years he established his reputation as an aeronautical engineer and went on to found a pioneer aero construction company that can be traced back 70 years after its beginnings.

We in Australia were fortunate he decided to immigrate here along with his family and wrote several stories of post WW11 pioneering days. His insight to the way of life in Australia was instant and often prophetic in hindsight.

I do look forward to reading the monthly newsletter and wish all shutist happy reading.

FROM John Anderson


At the York Conference in July the Foundation Board held a meeting, taking advantage of the fact that all but one of the Board Members were present. Normally Board business is transacted by email, but the Conference gave us the opportunity to meet face to face and discuss various issues. In fact this was the first time this has happened since the Foundation was formed shortly after the Centennial. We unanimously invited Joost Meulenbroek, our Newsletter Editor, and dedicated Shutist, to join the Board and the invitation was put to Joost by Heather Mayfield, the Foundation President, over a drink at the bar, much to Joost's surprise.

He accepted and we are delighted to welcome him as a Board Member. Congratulations Joost, welcome aboard !

If you are wondering who the Board Members are and what the Foundation does, full details are given on the Foundation website foundation.php

FROM Paul Spoff

OK, I'm slow and what can I say. I first read "The Far Country" in 1956 and I've read it and so many more, many many times. I've had "Slide Rule" for about 50 years now, but I'm just starting to read it.

That's the pitch, the long slow curve. Now, comes the fast break at the end. Can anyone tell me what goes into the making of the Cocktail mentioned in the first couple of pages, BEBEDA COMMODORE ?

As grand and amazing as the www and the internet are I've not been able to find the recipe. Now, I'm the first to state that I know nothing, nay, less then nothing about the computer and how to use it properly, that being said, HELP HELP HELP.

As to "Slide Rule", so far it's like slipping into an old comfortable pair of slippers and a cozy sweater for a relaxing read. It's been worth the wait of putting off reading it till now.

Thank you for any help on the above.


When Heather Mayfield asked me to have a drink with her in the bar of the hotel in York, I was a bit surprised. When she asked me to join the board of the Foundation I was really honoured. I have loved Nevil Shutes books ever since my teens, and I really enjoy being the Newsletter Editor, so this comes to me as a real bonus. I will very much try to work to help fulfilling the goal of the Foundation: to further public awareness of the writings and philosophy of Nevil Shute Norway.

From the Netherlands, where it is pouring with rain at the moment, see you all next month.

Joost Meulenbroek


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 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
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