Former Herald reporter pens new book

13:36 14 October 2011

Exeter FM new oweners

Exeter FM new oweners

Archant

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.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

The Matthews Hall in Topsham was packed on Sunday for the Flower and Vegetable Show. Ref ext 8406-35-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

An annual horticultural photographic competition looks set to continue for another year after this year’s event was hailed as the best yet.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:32
Ray Davison, Labour candidate in the diatrict council election.

The ranks of the East Devon’s Labour Party have swelled by almost 200 per cent in just ten days.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00
Woodbury flower show. Jane Greenslade won first class with her orchid. Ref exe 7952-33-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

There was a great display of botanical delights at the Woodbury Garden Club Flower and Vegetable Show.

Read more
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Kaz Lobendhan of the south devon chilli farm with staff at Darts Farm about to take the chilli challenge. Ref ext 2706-34-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

People visiting a Topsham-based farm shop were being asked to test their taste buds as part of a chilli tasting test.

Read more
Dame Hilary Mantel: 'As I work my way through the third book it often feels as exciting as the first day I started'

World-renowned author Dame Hilary Mantel has spoken of her love for Budleigh Salterton in an exclusive interview with Devon Life magazine.

Read more
Saturday, August 29, 2015

The most common tactic fraudsters used last year to try to con Devon residents’ out of cash was to offer a ‘free’ trial.

Read more
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Janice is pictured with Managing Partner, Neil Curtis left and Exmouth Partner Ruskin Wilson after receiving her bouquet of flowers and card.

An accountant is celebrating her 30th anniversary with an Exmouth firm.

Read more
Friday, August 28, 2015
Harry Wilkes celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends at Amberwood Nursing Home on Exeter Road this week. Harry is pictured enjoying his day with his family. Ref exe 8446-35-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

At least 40 friends and three generations of family turned out to celebrate the 100th birthday of Exmouth’s newest centenarian, Harry Wilkes.

Read more
Friday, August 28, 2015
Yvonne Wardrop in the glider she flew in for her 90th birthday present.

An Exmouth great-grandmother has enjoyed a 90th birthday celebration with a difference – taking to the skies in a glider.

Read more
Friday, August 28, 2015
Founder of Exmouth Zop passes away

Trudy Smith, who died earlier this month, aged 85, had a truly remarkable life.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition today E-edition


Exmouth's trusted business finder