10 DECEMBER 1937, Page 21


SPECTATOR.] SIR,—It is all very well for Paymaster Lieut. Warren Tuke, with his safe job in the fighting forces, and pensioned retirement at a convenient age, to tell the rest of the Under Thirties to go looking for Adventure [copyright by America]. He should be more practical and show where Adventure may be found. If Paymaster Lieut. Warren Tuke would have us do or die in an occupation like overseas goldmining [acknowledged to be the most adventurous of engineering activities] he will find that European staff are recruited by the mining companies from England, subject to the necessary technical qualifications, references, &c. If he would have us follow in the wake of the Merchant Adventurers to West Africa, he will find that highly competitive trading has been organised by large companies whose junior staffs receive fixed remuneration, guaranteed leave periods, and slight prospect of advancement. In England, a University man may spend five formative years of his life designing small improvements to commutator bars of electric motors, or investigating minute irregularities in the hysteresis loss of certain types of sheet iron; he does- this for a small wage, under the direction of a man who has grown up with the work. He cannot rush off to the Wide Open Spaces and there make for himself an electric motor, as he possesses neither the capital nor the technical knowledge necessary to manufacture a motor the equal of those already being marketed. Our elders, who were young when technical progress was young, expect us to find adventure, true love, and ethical morality from such unpromising material as" creative thoughts" on commutator bars and hysteresis losses, when all the time we are wondering how four pounds a week and our specialised technical knowledge can possibly supply even the first step forward in a successful career. If a new method of trading or some new transport invention to replace the car and the railway was developing, many of us would gladly enter on the adventure and risk of such develop- ment. If Adventure or an outlet for enthusiasm existed, we Under Thirties would be the first to take advantage of it. But, as it is we are left wondering how we are to fit into a world that does not need us. Small wonder then that we gladly turn to our Saturday night cinemas and hot Sunday joints, and thankfully leave the defence of the Empire to such as Mr. Warren Tuke.—I am, yours faithfully, UNDER THIRTY No. I.