Nevil Shute Norway ( January 17th, 1899 - January 12th, 1960 ) was born in Ealing ( Middlesex, England ). He was educated at the Dragon School, Shrewsbury School and Balliol College ( all in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England ). In 1922, he then graduated from Oxford University with a third - class degree in engineering science.
Nevil S. Norway attended the Royal Military Academy ( Woolwich, London, England ) and trained as a gunner, but because of his stammer was unable to take up a commission in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War. He served as a soldier in the Suffolk Regiment, enlisting " in the ranks " in August 1918. He guarded the Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary, and served in military funeral parties in Kent during the 1918 influenza pandemic.
An aeronautical engineer as well as a pilot, he began his engineering career with the De Havilland Aircraft Company. In 1924, he took a position with Vickers Ltd., where he was involved with the development of airships, working as Chief Calculator ( stress engineer ) on the R100 airship project ( cancelled in November 1931 ).
By the outbreak of the Second World War, Nevil Shute ( his pen name ) was already a rising novelist. He was commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a Sub - Lieutenant. He ended up in what would become the Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development. There he was a head of engineering, working on secret weapons such as Panjandrum, a job that appealed to the engineer in him. He also developed the Rocket Spear, an anti - submarine missile with a fluted cast iron head.
His celebrity as a writer caused the Ministry of Information to send him to the Normandy Landings ( June 6th, 1944 ) and later to Burma as a correspondent. He finished the war with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
In 1948, Nevil Shute flew his own Percival Proctor aeroplane to Australia and back. On his return, concerned about what he saw as the decline of his home country, he decided that he and his family would emigrate to Australia ( 1950 ).
In the 1950's and 1960's, he was one of the world's best - selling novelists, although his popularity has since declined in Australia. Here are some of Nevil Shute's novels : Stephen Morris ( 1923, published in 1961 ), Lonely Road ( 1932 ), Most Secret ( 1942, published in 1945 ), A Town Like Alice ( 1950 ), Requiem for a Wren ( 1955 ).
( source : Wikipedia )