Wednesday, 2 May 2018

The Collection of Eric Knowles....Part 2

 
The classic Charles Grant title, together with Charge! were staples at the start of my wargaming journey - as I suspect that have been for many others.
 
 
The 1931 3rd edition of the H.G. Wells book - the version I have is minus the dustjacket


 
The hardback 1967 edition of the Tradition catalogue with some wonderful figures contained therein
 
 
Yesterday evening was one of big surprises. Not only was there the unveiling of a third of Eric’s collection but also that I was presented by Bill, his son, with a selection of wargames books that were part of his father’s library. This was an act of incredible generosity and I was both moved and humbled by the gesture. Bill was disarmingly pragmatic about this – his comment about them being old school, rather like me, was well made and we had a laugh at this. I should point out that Bill used to wargame but has not done so since the mid-1980s and so being presented with the enormity of his father's collection probably did not have quite the same effect on him as it did on me! I suspect his feelings at having to deal with his father’s collection are mixed as he commented about how it took over the house when he was living at home, required a dedicated van when Eric and Ivy retired to Lincolnshire and is now in danger of taking over Bill's house! As previously mentioned sorting through Eric's collection is going to be a mammoth undertaking.
The bag of books Bill presented me with are for the most part they are ex library books but there are a few that were not including a first edition hardback of Charles Grant’s The Wargame, a third edition (1931) copy of Little Wars by H.G. Wells and a quite superb hardback Tradition catalogue from 1967. The Donald Featherstone titles (all hardback) include Wargaming Airborne Operations, Advanced Wargames, Wargames Campaigns, Battles with Model Tanks and Battles with Model Soldiers. There is also a paperback edition of Charge! and also Introduction to Battlegaming by Terry Wise. To complete the collection is the second edition of Bruce Quarrie’s Napoleons Campaigns in Miniature. Finally, there was a couple of printed order pads that used to be available from Shire Publications years ago as well as Pengal and Hurt title on  the armies of the Palatinate during the Seven Years War. 
 



 
Some of the titles now in my collection - note that the pictures are not of the copies I have as these need a little TLC before being unveiled to the public. Google Images have been used for the most part.

I was at a loss for words with this lot as in one fell swoop Bill had virtually rebuilt my wargames library from way back to my Isle of Sheppey days in the 1970s. 

The books overall are in pretty reasonable condition – there is some chipping of dust jackets and the whole are quite dusty and musty as they have lived in a loft for a long time – and so need only some minor TLC to be restored to their rightful place in the wargames library. The ex-library titles need little doing to them other than removing the badly faded plastic covers whilst a quick dust should suffice for the rest, perhaps with the odd wipe over with a slightly damp cloth.
 
As a source of inspiration these books are second to none and the ideas contained therein will no doubt give me much to think about. I suppose some gamers, used as they are to the ‘instant-buy-it-all-at-once’ style of pre-packaged gaming may question the relevance of such books today as they really belong to another age. To this I will only say that were it not for the likes of Messrs, Grant, Featherstone and I will include Knowles in this, then that other age would not have given rise to the age we find ourselves in now - form is temporary but class is for ever. I am also equally confident that gamers 'of a certain vintage' will appreciate exactly what this collection means.

Nostalgic? Certainly. Relevant? Absolutely! 

It only remains for me to thank Bill for this incredibly generous present and I am sure I can put them to good use.

14 comments:

tradgardmastare said...

A fortunate fellow indeed!

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

David,

I have almost all the books you were given by Bill Knowles, and they are worthy additions to your own.

I have just finished uploading the files for the book I have compiled about Eric Knowles and his famous Madasahatta Campaign. I've ordered a proof copy, and once that arrives and I've checked it, I will print off enough copies for Eric's children to each have a copy as well as one for each of the contributors. When they have been distributed, I'll make the book available for purchase from Lulu.com, Amazon etc.

All the best,

Bob

The Good Soldier Svjek said...

Glad that the books have gone to a good home .

david in suffolk said...

That's a fine collection, of course. I remmeber I read the 1970-ish edition of 'Battles with Model Soldiers' borrowed from Sittingbourne Library - maybe you borrowed the same copy !

Archduke Piccolo said...

I have the Charles Grant book, which I regard as one of the top 5 classics of the genre. I see two others in your list that I place among those 5: Little Wars and Don Featherstone's Wargames Campaigns. The other nooks? I would be more than happy to have copies in my own war games library.

Archduke Piccolo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David Crook said...

Hi Trad,

I certainly am!

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hi Bob,

The books have pretty much doubled my wargames library and although for the most part are easy enough to come by (except for the Grant title that is) the heritage they share is unique. I am delighted to have them.

Great news re the book and I will email you later re the same.

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hi Svjek,

I am sure they will provide plenty of inspiration and I look forward to making use of them.

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hi David,

Quite possibly! I seem to remember borrowing a small green covered Shire Publications wargames title in a hardback version. Probably others as well. Battles with Model Soldiers was the first wargames book I purchased as I recall.

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hi Archduke,

I would certainly agree with you! I would also add Charge! And probably Battle! Practical Wargaming to the list.

All the best,

DC

Lee Hadley said...

Hours of enjoyment await in their pages...

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

...moving on further from the comments in the last post, I would say that when the time comes for me to start emptying and tidying, these books, which I also have on my shelves, will be the very last that I move on... the Featherstone books in particular are single-handedly responsible for a hobby I have now enjoyed for the better part of 45 years.... nice haul!! :o)

David Crook said...

Hi Lee,

Absolutely! As wargamers we take our inspiration from the past. I see no reason why we should not take our inspiration from the wargamers of the past.

All the best,

DC