Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Friday, 6 December 2019

Waterloo Wargame, Duke of York's Headquarters - 1965

Further to my previous reference to the 150th anniversary commemorative Waterloo game played at the Duke of York's HQ in Chelsea in 1965 (a good year for it, as I'm sure you'll agree, though I have some confusing idea that it took place in March, which would be less appropriate), David very kindly supplied a scan of the photos of the event which were included in Donald Featherstone's Advanced War Games - a book which I used to own, subsequently unloaded on eBay and never bothered to replace.

I have to say, right up front, that I have no right or permission to reproduce this picture, so if anyone is compromised or upset by its appearance here, please shout and I shall delete it.


The pictures mostly show the players on the French side - Tony Bath, who took the role of Napoleon, is in evidence, slightly to the right of centre in the two left-hand photos - as we look at the picture, Bath is on the right of the bald-headed man without glasses - he appears also on the right edge of the lower-right photo. The only hope I had of a glimpse of the other army's commanders was the middle image on the right side, but, having spent a little time working out the ground plan of the Hougoumont feature, I am pretty sure that is the end of the table, not the Mont St Jean side - the gentleman with the lapel badge and the opera glasses looks like an official player, though. Frustratingly, we can see the back view of the Allied commanders in the top-left photo.

As I understand it, Eric Knowles was Wellington for the day.

Not to worry - this is all I have for the moment. Does anyone recognise, or can you put names to, the people who are pictured, or even people known to have been there who are not pictured? I believe that the organisers were the British Model Soldier Society, though I am not very sure about that either - any clues, names, links or further photos would be very welcome. These chaps must have been well known at the time. I also read somewhere that the BMSS rather disapproved of wargaming, and thus a separate wargaming section was set up - round about 1965, in fact!

I am deeply impressed by the formal turn-out - even the schoolboys in the crowd wore ties - does that suggest official school parties, or did everyone wear ties then? In passing, the table looks to be about 24 feet x 6 feet - any views on that?

****** Late Edit ******

I was sent some links to these photos, which are definitely copyrighted by Alamy, though I understand that it is legal to download the preview versions (as I have done) for non-commercial purposes.

This is a larger version of one of the photos above, which gives a better view of the miniatures, and also reveals that the three participants here are (L to R) Ney, D'Erlon and Napoleon (T Bath)
And this is Eric Knowles, in uniform, no less, in his role of Wellington. Picture details give the date as 3rd March 1965




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26 comments:

  1. These photos are such period pieces , I wonder what rules they used .

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    1. No idea, but the units are big - infantry about 30 men each!

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  2. I got an email from Dan S, who suggests that the man on the left of the photo of 3 (Ney?) is Neville Dickinson, before he went grey(!).

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  3. Donald Featherstone is also pictured at this event? https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/10492209/Donald-Featherstone-obituary.html
    And https://brooklynwargaming.com/2013/09/04/donald-featherstone-1918-2013/

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    1. Mark - thanks for this. The Telegraph site wanted me to sign up to allow access (I could never bring myself to do such a thing!), but the Brooklyn site link worked OK. You can apply your own date to the lady's hairstyle! DF may well have been there, but he also staged his own 1965 anniversary game, which was played twice - once in Southampton and once in London, which I think was separate from the DoY HQ game. There was also a 1975 game, but the hairstyle doesn't look like 1975 to me!

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  4. Is there any chance that the tallish chap with his back to the camera in the top left-hand photo, just below the near end of the overhead lighting (with a trace of bear under his chin?) could be Peter Gilder?

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    1. Maybe - I can't see enough of him to make it out.

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    2. We need some people to write in and say "I am the little boy in the school cap, behind La Belle Alliance" or similar - in the shot of the end of the table (middle pic on right hand side) the man with the beard looks like someone I should know - writer? That's bugging me. And the younger man next to him looks a bit like a VIP of some sort. That bearded guy - I know his face...

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  5. The balding chap in the centre of the lower left picture, to the left of Tony Bath looks like David Chandler, but I could well be wrong. Fascinating pictures anyhow.

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    1. Interesting shout - could be - bear in mind that D G Chandler was 31 in 1965, and this chap maybe looks older than that?

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  6. A squint at the Unfashionably Shiny blog reveals that the BMSS Waterloo anniversary bash in 1965 took place at the Rembrandt Hotel (Thurloe Place, Knightsbridge) in June of that year, and featured a wargame played between Bill Pearce and Peter Gilder, and umpired by Bob Gould. So it looks as though I have a couple of events confused here. The BMSS event, naturally placed a lot of emphasis on manufacturers of model soldiers, including (according to a contemporary report by "Quatrebras") one Marc Hinton.

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  7. Someone commented re what rules were used and I am making an assumption here but I have just obtained copy of the BMSS Wargame Section rules for circa 1813 that were published in July 1966. Could these be the rules? They certainly would fit the time frame.

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    1. Could well be - they don't seem to have sheets all over the table, so maybe there was strict protocol about keeping everything neat and tidy.

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  8. Extraordinary. I can't identify the cap badge of the one uniformed player. Would that all players were so well dressed. Presumably there was a decent cheese board laid on.

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    1. I would guess so - with port rather than bottled beer.

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    2. Mad Padre,

      Eric was a member of the Inns of Court Regiment (RAC), better known as The Devil’s Own because their original members were mostly lawyers.

      Bob Cordery

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  9. Fascinating how large the game is, and with so many players for back in 1965. The rather formal dress (suits, ties, vests) always looks so... civilized! :-)

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    1. I guess this really was a special occasion - must have been well planned and publicised. Not a woman in the house, as far as I can see - you don't suppose they refused to let them in...?

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  10. Foy - I have been emailing with an old school gamer for years by the name of Jim (Walkley) and I seem to remember him telling me he featured in one of those pictures (bottom left if I remember rightly)... must send him a link to the article as he may have some memories of the event to add to the background...

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  11. Prompted by Steve the Wargamer I must confess to appearing in two pictures. I am the bespectacled youth behind the fellow with the opera glasses and also to the left of the top left picture about 3 rows from the table - not so much hair now but just as handsome :-). As a hoarder I wonder if I still have the details of the game. A quick visit to my loft under the pretence of looking for Christmas decorations did not produce anything but there is still a slight hope. Unfortunately, at my age, I have bursts clearing old stuff out to help those who come after me. My recollections of the day are sparse I am afraid. It seems to me that I was impressed greatly by the spectacle but never really sure what was happening. My strongest memory was of buying several boxes of Airfix 7th cavalry to be used as ACW and one wag saying that I had enough for a whole cavalry division. I too believe that Neville Dickinson was as identified but doubt that the balding chap was David Chandler. I can't put a name to him unfortunately.

    All of which was a nice meander down memory lane but not really what everyone wants to know. When time permits I shall fight the spiders and dust in the loft once more and report if there are any findings.

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    1. Thanks very much Jim (and Steve) for this - I see you in the photos - you were very smartly turned out! Was it officially formal, or did you always dress like that? I'm keen to get a few more names for faces - that small bearded chap sitting at the end of the table looks more familiar all the time.

      Take care with the spiders etc, but if you find anything, please let me know.

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    2. Sorry, I am afraid I always dressed like that unless completely casual. Never knew what the trend was so didn't know if I was ahead or behind!

      I found some newsletters from 1964/5 but tantalisingly there is a short mention in Jan 1965 issue that there would be more details of the event in February which I can't find. I fear that the remaining issues from the 60's succumbed to damp as I don't think I gave them away.

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  12. Jim (Foy) - the copies you sent me start at March '65, but the big review is in April '65 which I also have.. give me a few days and i'll scan it and put up an image..

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    1. Excellent - looking forward to see what you've got there.

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  13. Hi!

    Don't panic. The Alamy Website allows to use these pictures it for 'editorial use'. And this is what your website does. You are not printing posters and t-shirts and you are not selling them.

    Second, your use of a single photo of an old book in a context where you write something about the content of that book is covered by fair use. You are using your own photo that shows a small part of a book, not a photo by someone else.

    And the copyrigth ends in the near future. The way the scenes or the content in these pictures is not 'created', they are only snapshots. So they are not 'artistic' by any means (no models, no special arrangements by the photographer and so on), they are not 'art'. The copyright for photos of that kind finally ends 50 years after publishing (in the EU). The book that you showed above is from 1969. Two weeks from now, with the start of the year 2020, there will be no copyright for this pictures anymore. Then they will be in the public domain.

    Maybe they are allready in the public domain if anyone finds an earlier place of publishing as an evidence. Can't imagine that these photos weren't taken for a newspaper and published promptly in the year 1965.

    rw

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    1. Thanks very much for this, rw - much appreciated.

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