Don't miss a story sign up to Exmouth Journal's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Former Herald reporter pens new book

13:36 14 October 2011

Exeter FM new oweners

Exeter FM new oweners


A Second World War weapon tested to destruction in Devon and which nearly killed the generals who were going to buy it, is one of the subjects in a new book by an Exmouth writer.

Former Exmouth Herald reporter Paul Nero and his co-author, national newspaper journalist James Moore have penned Pigeon Guided Missiles And 49 Other Ideas That Never Took Off, which is to be published by the History Press this month.

The Panjandrum – a rocket-powered cart packed with explosives - was designed in London and tested on the beach at Westward Ho!

The plan was that it would nip out of the ocean from a landing craft and blast its way through the Atlantic wall, a Nazi defence line, at 60 miles an hour.

The bad news is that the Panjandrum didn’t work. Even the need for secrecy was compromised when the good people of Devon, having been implored by the authorities to stay away for their own safety, responded by turning up in droves to watch what many hoped to be a magnificent firework display.

A series of tests resulted in varying degrees of failure. Once it launched itself in every direction at the same time. Once it spluttered to a halt and was left to the incoming tide. And once it tried to assassinate the watching generals and official cameraman. In short, it was a consummate failure.

Paul said: “The Panjandrum takes its place in the book amongst other enthralling examples of startling schemes, including the story of how birds were trained to direct World War Two weapons to their targets, the ideas for a nuclear powered car, anti-seasickness ships and inventor Thomas Edison’s plan for concrete furniture.

“Some of these ideas became the victims of the eccentric figures behind them, others succumbed to financial and political misfortune, and a few were just too far ahead of their time.

“Pigeon-Guided Missiles also explains why the great groundnut scheme cost British taxpayers £49 million; why the bid to build Minerva, a whole new country in the Pacific Ocean, sank; and why the first Channel Tunnel (started in 1881, over a century before the one we know today) hit a dead end.”


Other News Stories

Yesterday, 12:30
Children from the Topsham school had an assembly as part of Anti Bullying Week given by Roisin Turley: NSPCC Schools Organiser for the region. Roisin Talked to the children on staying safe and it is hoped the youngsters will help raise funds for the charity during their next term. Ref ext 7019-47-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Schoolchildren in Topsham were visited by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) with an anti-bullying message.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:00
Exmouth Mayor cllr Maddy Chapman and Town Crier Roger Bourgein joined Bob Dennison-the MD of Stagecoach SW to launch the new Gold Stagecoach bus service which features free wi-fi and USB charging points and will be on the 57 route between Exmouth and Exeter. Ref exe 7072-47-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Stagecoach is promising customers in Exmouth a first-class service after spending £2.1 million on a fleet of 10 new buses.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:30
Melissa Hockings, from Marpool Primary School, who was named as Children and Young People’s Workforce Apprentice of the Year at the Exeter College Apprenticeship Awards.

An Exmouth pre-school and nursery, and an apprentice at an Exmouth primary school, are celebrating after receiving awards for their work.

Read more
Saturday, November 28, 2015
Father Nick Batchelor with his daughters Rosie (left) and Grace (right)

A kind-hearted school pupil from Topsham has nominated her father for a community award.

Read more
Saturday, November 28, 2015
Syria children were 'overwhelmed' to receive letters of friendship from Lympstone Primary School pupils.

‘There wasn’t a dry eye left’ as Lympstone Primary School pupils looked at pictures and watched a video of Syrian youngsters receiving letters of friendship.

Read more
Saturday, November 28, 2015
Overflowing recycling bins at Tesco, Salterton Road.

Supermarket chain Tesco has called for people to use its recycling area responsibly, after it was left strewn with dumped waste.

Read more
Friday, November 27, 2015
Freddie Woodcock, pictured with grandchildren Izabella Woodcock, Beau Watson, and Jay Woodcock, and copies of his book, The Secret Coin.

A Brixington grandfather, who has overcome dyslexia to write his first novel, is hoping to encourage others to write.

Read more
Friday, November 27, 2015
Brixington Church

Plans to demolish Brixington Community Church and spend £2.5million rebuilding it could be altered to ease residents’ concerns, the Reverend Simon Atkinson has said.

Read more
Friday, November 27, 2015
Aerial view of Exmouth Ref: 23-05-0043SH

A new survey, asking the public about redevelopment plans for Exmouth seafront, has found strong opposition to the current proposals.

Read more
Friday, November 27, 2015

A formal planning application has been submitted for an M&S food store on the site of Exmouth Bus Station.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 11°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Photo Orders
Family notices
Google Plus
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

Search for a job in Exmouth

Find planning applications