Nevil Shute Norway was both a popular novelist and a successful aeronautical engineer. He used Nevil Shute as his pen name, and his full name in his engineering career, in order to protect his engineering career from any potential negative publicity in connection with his novels.
Born in Somerset Road, Ealing, London, he was educated at the Dragon School, Shrewsbury School and Balliol College, Oxford. Shute's father, Arthur Hamilton Norway, was the head of the post office in Dublin in 1916 and Shute was commended for his role as a stretcher bearer during the Easter Rising. Shute attended the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich but because of his stammer was unable to take up a commission in the Royal Flying Corps, instead serving in World War I as a soldier in the Suffolk Regiment.
the outbreak of World War II, Shute was already a rising novelist. Even as
war seemed imminent he was working on military projects with his former
Vickers boss Sir Dennistoun Burney. He joined the Royal Naval Volunteer
Reserve as a sub-lieutenant and quickly ended up in what would become the
Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development. There he was a
department head, working on secret weapons such as Panjandrum, a job that
appealed to the engineer in him. His celebrity as a writer caused the
Ministry of Information to send him to the Normandy landings on 6 June
1944 and later to Burma as a correspondent. He finished the war with the
rank of Lieutenant-Commander, R.N.V.R.