I met up (observing the appropriate social distancing conventions) with Bill Knowles yesterday to take delivery of what will be the final part of the first phase of the great disposal of his father’s collection. By way of clarification this means the last of the 18th century stuff, the Napoleonic collection and some other assorted bits and pieces.
The Napoleonic collection was rather a late entry into the lists in that it did not form part of the initial disposals. In fact much of this only came to light when Bill was moving boxes around. Eric Knowles took part in the famous 1965 refight of Waterloo featuring Donald Featherstone and Tony Bath amounts others, taking the role of Picton. Much of Eric’s Napoleonic collection is Waterloo period and there are some rare old gems in terms of the figures. Time has not been kind to the collection in that most of this was in deep storage for nigh on 50 years and experienced several house moves. As a result units are completely mixed up, figures are off their bases and inevitably there are some casualties. It will be a major undertaking to sort this lot out but sort it I will.
There was also the remnants of Eric’s unpainted 20mm WW2 Russians - mostly gun crews and support stuff - and also a complete 14th Army for Burma.
A couple of painted late 17th century Spanish and Venetian cavalry units and some assorted camp follower/ camp scenic bits and pieces more or less completed the picture, apart from an innocuous looking paper box tucked to one side with a couple of Airfix 1:1200th scale Prinz Eugen boxes.
I was intrigues by these as they sat forlornly on the floor of Bill’s garage, the dust of ages adorning them and with the writing pale and faded.
I am not going to lie but seeing these again after some 40 years actually brought a lump to my throat.
Much of Eric’s collection has brought back many fond memories for me but this lot has really struck a chord, mainly due to my own involvement. I will look forward in due course to seeing what other ships surface (or should be submarines?) but for now I will think back to the days when the Turkish navy sailed proudly across the South China Sea whilst avoiding the allies....