Former Herald reporter pens new book

PUBLISHED: 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

15:19

Woodbury Castle in the mist by Richard White wins our iwitness24 photo challenge, My Countryside.

Read more
13:15

Devon’s ‘highest ranked’ brass band, from Lympstone, is to represent the West of England in the national finals.

Read more
10:51

Devon County Council’s public health team is warning people to be ‘tick aware’ as they get out and about in the countryside, due to the risk of health problems including Lyme disease.

Read more
10:00

Exmouth town crier Roger Bourgein has received the latest donation to a fundraising campaign for him to attend the International Town Criers Competition in Bermuda.

Read more

Budleigh Salterton’s popular museum will be opening for the new season next month - and will be celebrating a special landmark this year.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:18

Ian Shaddick, from Lympstone, has been jailed for eight months at Exeter Crown Court. Shaddick, who has a history of mental illness, attacked the police and his family, brandished a knife at officers and slashed the tyres of a car.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:30

An Exmouth 10-year-old with autism is seeking help from the town to raise funds and awareness.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:00

A Budleigh Salterton fisherman claims a decision to ‘force’ him into taking expensive public liability insurance on vital seafront huts will ‘screw’ his livelihood.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:10

Residents of an Exmouth care home have had a visit from a four-legged friend.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:30

A disabled woman’s fear of becoming housebound will become a reality if funds cannot be found to pay for a new wheelchair.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 11°C

Most Read News

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

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications