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

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

12:30
Bassetts Farm School

Youngsters at four primary schools in Exmouth have had a donation of footballs from a town club.

Read more
06:30

Fairy magic caught the imagination of youngsters as they searched around a trail for miniature doors hidden around Phear Park.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:30

District council bosses have made a U-turn on a decision to not replace a seat at a Budleigh Salterton bus shelter.

Read more
Fri, 15:45
Branscombe primary school children were among other local school's who scooped a prize in the school's garden competition presented by Lady Cave and organised by Sidmouth Rotary. Ref shb 28-16SH 2067. Picture: Simon Horn.

Branscombe Primary School pupils are among the winners of a gardening competition.

Read more
Fri, 15:11
Dinosaurs in Manor Gardens. Ref exe 29-16TI 4617. Picture: Terry Ife

Exmouth’s dinosaur invasion is spreading fast, with the prehistoric creatures now popping up at the Manor Gardens and on the seafront.

Read more
Fri, 12:30
Cyclists from CDE raised £4,000 for FORCE

A group of cyclists from Clinton Devon Estates (CDE)have raised more than £4,000 for FORCE cancer charity, writes Daniel Wilkins.

Read more
Fri, 12:18
car driving fast into forest.

Exmouth’s chairman of the Chamber of Commerce has followed business leaders in calling for Devon County Council to go ahead with proposals to expand the A303 at Monkton, near Honiton.

Read more
Fri, 10:51

Conservatives have achieved a double success at by-elections held in Littleham on Thursday.

Read more
Fri, 06:30
St John's Court

An application to have an under-threat mental health facility declared a community asset has been rejected by the district council.

Read more
Thu, 15:12
Stegosaurus model on display in the Strand.

The first model dinosaurs from a new project to promote the Jurassic Coast are appearing in the centre of Exmouth.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 16°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

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

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications