Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Newsletter dated September


Our friend and dedicated Shutist, Susan Batross, has passed away. Susan's close friend Babette Hills has written the following tribute.

"You can never have too many friends."

This is the quote Susan Batross chose for an on-line Friendship Tapestry sponsored by a web site in Iceland. She was invited to submit a piece after making friends in Reykjavik on her way home from UK2003, the Nevil Shute Conference held in Southsea. She visited Iceland again. Susan was living in a small town of 100 people in South Dakota, USA, but the world, partly thanks to the Internet, was her neighborhood. When Susan wanted to meet new friends, she was willing to go far, all alone, to meet them.

I met Susan in Frankston, Australia in March 2001. I traveled from Aurora, Colorado to make a friend who lived part-time in Colorado Springs, Colorado, 70 miles away. Susan was in the process of moving to Hitchcock,South Dakota to be near her stepson Ted's doctors. He was seriously ill and being treated at the Mayo Clinic. Susan and I roomed together at the Queen's Hotel in Southsea, again at ALICE07 and she visited me several times in Colorado to attend Chapter meetings. Our local Nevil Shute Chapter was founded by Art and Joan Cornell Bob and Annie (age 12) Wester, Susan and me. We all met at OZ2001.

Susan Louise Crandall was born in Long Beach, California in 1941. She lived in Oregon and worked as an operator for Ma Bell for 25 years. What a great job for a people person! She married Theodore Batross and they began a traveling business buying and selling small treasures at Swap Meets across the United States. This was the life for someone who valued meeting people and seeing new places. They settled in Colorado Springs where Ted Sr. died in 1994.

While living in that very small town in SD (smaller than Burketown is today: population 235) the World Wide Web became the real world for Susan. Loving the used Nevil Shute books she found at swap meets and on-line, she met other Shute readers on the early web page. She traveled to Frankston alone to make more friends. She attended every biennial conference after as well some Colorado Chapter meetings, the play at Exbury in 2005, and a UK reunion weekend in Oxford 2006. We explored London together before UK2003 and visited Stonehenge after. She saw lots more of Australia before and after ALICE07 with her friend Kathy from North Carolina. She beautifully organized the second session of "Reading Nevil Shute" for the conference last year in Alice Springs.

I am most pleased that Susan finally got to perfect the job she most coveted. She became the US Librarian for the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation. She received the big boxes of materials from Dan Telfair and shelved them safely and proudly in her home. She answered emails promptly, packaged up the items requested, and became fond of her local post office. Susan added donated items and extended the US collection. She returned more money to the Foundation from postage payments and donations than she was given to operate with.

While Librarian she was contacted about providing movies for a possible Nevil Shute Film Festival to be held at Missouri Southern State University. A series of emails followed and thanks to the suggestion of an English faculty member, the work of an interested graduate student, assisted by Susan and Den Telfair, the first ever known Nevil Shute Film Festival was held in Joplin, MO in September 2007. Susan, of course, got herself there. Dan also attended.

Soon after returning home to South Dakota, and her part-time job at the Hitchcock Cafe, (another great job for Susan) she made an appointment with her doctor. Tests revealed that she had developed aplastic anemia. Fighting this disease required that she be hospitalized in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She endured treatments and transfusions for months. In December 2007 she very sadly asked for someone to temporarily take over her duties as Librarian.

Susan's concerns were to regain her health, return as Librarian, attend YORK09 and lead the "Reading Nevil Shute" session. Sadly, she will not be with us in York. Susan lost her battle with aplastic anemia and died at Avera McKenna Hospital in Sioux Falls. She is survived by her stepson Ted, his wife Evelyn and a brother, Irving Crandall, of Long Beach, CA.

Susan's warm smile, sense of fun, enthusiasm and genuine friendliness will be missed by all who knew her and those she was just waiting to meet. I am so glad that I got to know her and we became friends, for you can never have too many friends.

Very sadly, Babette Hills


From Babette Hills

It is my great honor to announce that the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation US Lending Library, currently housed in North Carolina, has been dedicated as the

Susan Batross Memorial Lending Library.

A certificate so designating is to be presented to Ted Batross, Susan's stepson, in Hitchcock, South Dakota. Labels will be affixed to the library holdings with Susan's name. Requests can be made as usual through the website or direct from the Librarian, Gary Bartell at

From Joy Hogg

Here are some suggestions for contributions from our readers:

  • Which book got you "hooked" on Shute and why did it have that affect?
  • Which book did you like the best and why ?
  • When you give Shute books to non-Shute readers, which one do you like to start them with? (I never start them with On the Beach)
  • Who are some of your favorite Shute characters ?
  • What do you do to promote Shute in this day and age ??
Editor: Great idea

From Andy Burgess

Earlier in the year I took a trip to the Royal Aeronautical Society library to look into what they had related to Nevil Shute. I discovered the following:

  1. At a meeting of the Council held on the 13th May 1924 Nevil Shute Norway was elected as an Associate Fellow of the RAeS. I believe this was the equivalent of the current 'Member' status. He was, of course, made a Fellow later on for his work with Hessel Tiltman on retractable undercarriages.
  2. In the November 1924 edition of The Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society a paper was published by N. S. Norway B.A., A.F.RAeS on "The Case For the Revival of the Water Channel". In this Shute argued for reintroduction of the water channel that had been abandoned as a method of visualising fluid flows around aircraft when the wind tunnel had been developed. He argued that the water channel provided a method of studying the qualitative nature of the flow as opposed to the quantitative measurements made from the wind tunnel. In particular the study of eddies and their effect on the stability of aircraft and for the investigation of where struts and wires meet aerofoils. He provided design details of a potential water channel with estimated costs. The design was not a minor structure as he indicated that the measuring section should be not less than 20 feet long and he suggested the use of a 160 hp Beardmore engine for powering the water flow. It would be oval in plan form in order to recirculate the water. He specified the use of dye introduced into the water to visualise the flow.
    This water channel arrangement was, of course, used by Stephen Morris in the book of the same name to study the flow around an aircraft that had stability problems. Art imitating science, or vice versa ?
  3. I was interested in how Shute got his job on the R.100 and looked through copies of Flight and The Aeroplane for an advert that he may have responded to. I was surprised to find that there were none of the large adverts of today, but just small 'situations vacant' columns. Some notable firms identified themselves in adverts, but many were anonymous. There were none specifically for the Airship Guarantee Company or Vickers in the time frame necessary. However in the August 13th 1924 edition of The Aeroplane was an advert stating: "Skilled Aeronautical Stress Merchant required - apply, stating experience and salary, box no 5213". This seems to fit the requirement for a 'calculator' and is in the right time frame for him to be interviewed, resign from de Havilland and take up the position at the AGC in the October of that year. We know Shute advocated personal initiative when going for jobs and the R.100 project was very well known generally, not just in aeronautical circles so he may well have simply made an unsolicited approach to them. However the contract for the R.100 was not signed until just before Shute joined them, so seeking to join a company without a contract would seem a bold move. Unless we can find out whom box no 5213 was identified with, we will never know.

From Marion Griffin

I'm in North Carolina, USA, and interested in starting a Nevil Shute group locally. If anyone has ideas or suggestions on doing this I'd be very interested in hearing them. You can contact me at

From John Anderson

Foundation members have been working with the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington to produce displays about the life and work of Nevil Shute. The display boards have now been produced and are on public display at the museum. These form part of a larger exhibition to be called "Pioneers in Aviation" celebrating the work of Sir George Cayley, Amy Johnson, Robert Blackburn, Barnes Wallis as well as Nevil Shute. All of them have a local connection with Yorkshire, having been born in the county or working in the area, as Shute did on the R.100 and Airspeed.

If all goes to plan, the exhibition will be finished and will be formally opened during our York Conference next July.

Meantime if you happen to be in the York area, do visit the Museum and have a look at the Shute displays, and there are many other attractions which make a visit there well worthwhile.

From Paul Spof

Just finished TRUSTEE for the umpteenth time. Does Keith Stewart pay all his bills ? Before taking off on the Mary Belle, he signs a chit from Captain Davies of the Cathay Princess. Upon returning to England he takes care of various and sundry things, first making sure to deposit the check from his consulting fees. But, alas, no where does Shute mention his paying for the Able Seaman Stores that the good Capt fronted them for their arduous trip.

I find that I'm taking longer and longer to read his stories. I seem to read much much slower and savor every page and almost every word. A friend was visiting and asked how many times I'd read "that book." I said, "I couldn't even begin to count how many times, certainly more than twenty, possibly even thirty."It's just like visiting old long lost dear friends."


A very sad start for the newsletter this month. I first met Susan in Southsea in 2003, and will remember her as a true Shutist and a very nice lady.

Joost Meulenbroek


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


Jim Wells lives in Lindfield, Sydney
Richard Michalak lives in Paddington, Sydney
Ruth Pearson lives in Adelaide
Neil Wynes Morse lives in Canberra


Julian Stargardt


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, dhorvath in the domain, near Philadelphia Pennsylvania, USA.
Al Benkelman Warrenton, Virginia