The Volunteer Inn

One of a number of Rifle Volunteer or Volunteer named public houses glimpsed on my travels over the last few years – this one in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.

https://manoftinblogtwo.wordpress.com/2022/04/15/the-volunteer-inn/

This uniform looks to be Napoleonic rather than Mid Victorian Rifle Volunteer, as befits a Regency seaside town.

Blog crossposted from my Man Of Tin Blog Two (my progression or migration site for when Man Of TIN Blog one reaches its free 3GB Max after 5 to 6 busy blogging years).

Pathe Newsreel – Model Battlefield with Magnets, a Donald Featherstone connection

Tiny Stonehenge! 1936 Pathe Newsreel – Model Battlefield

Crossposted from my Man Of TIN Two blog:

https://manoftinblogtwo.wordpress.com/2021/08/07/model-battlefield-pathe-newsreel/

Micro Militaries or Europe’s Tiniest Armies – Mark Felton on Youtube

I can’t remember how I found this but I already keep an eye out / subscribe to the Mark Felton Youtube channel and found this episode on https://youtu.be/dBRdLYUkDKk

It reminds me that many of the back stories of our ImagiNations such as my Forgotten Minor States (FMS) are not really that far fetched, when listening to this account and seeing the impressive, mostly ceremonial uniforms.

Some of the uniforms are featured in the book Uniforms Uniforms by Bill Dunn that I reviewed here https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/09/uniforms-uniforms/

Well worth watching – Fascinating and quirky, especially the twelve man national army!

Blog post by Mark Man of TIN, January 2022Blog

Books under £5 sale from Bovington Tank Museum online shop

An amazing and eclectic selection of military books (tanks, planes, autobiographies, biographies, military history) as well as general non- fiction and fiction and children’s books on sale for under £5 from Bovington Tank Museum online shop:

https://tankmuseumshop.org/collections/books-under-5

An excellent way to support the Bovington Tank Museum!

I have ordered a couple of ECW books.

***********

Previously on Man of TIN at Bovington Tank Museum …

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/12/11/support-the-tank-museum-wooden-tank-models/

Wooden Tank models – Still available!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 6 November 2021

Svenmarck Invaded: EWM 20mm Danish Infantry 1940

***** Svenmarck Invaded ****** Troops Mobilised ****** Border Crossed by Hostile Forces *****

EWM Danish 1940 Infantry versatile figure with rifle grenade option and spare Madsen LMG curved round – masking tape repair to the left hand rifle which I clumsily broke.

Over the last weekend or two I have been painting a strange mixture of metal 20mm figures in my collection, as varied as 1940s Boy Scouts and Girl Guides from Sergeants Mess, some more colourful 1910-20 Mexican Infantry from Jacklex and these Early War Miniatures 1940 Danish Infantry, along with their Dutch equivalent.

EWM Danish 1940 Infantry with rifles and grenades

One of the best films or programmes that I have seen in the last couple of years that isn’t weird sci-fi (Star Wars / Stranger Things / X-Files) is 9.April, the Danish film about the first few hours of Blitzkrieg as German forces cross the border of Denmark on 9 April 1940.

EWM Danish 1940 Infantry with rifles amid EWM scenic boxes and oil barrels

This tense drama focuses on the fate of a small handful of conflicting characters (including some usual war film stereotypes) in a platoon of bicycle mounted troops desperately to hold off the motorised columns of the German Army until reinforcements arrive.

EWM Danish 1940 Infantry with rifle and grenade

The film has that ‘against the odds’ feel of a western with an outnumbered and outgunned retreating outpost of troops with little chance of the cavalry arriving. The cinematography and its eerie soundtrack captures well the chaos and confusion of the short lived resistance.

Anyway, film club over …

I have posted about the 9.April film before in 2020:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/09/remembering-denmark-april-9th-1940/

EWM three man Madsen LMG and rifle team with EWM scenic boxes

Svenmarck? Gaming scenarios?

I don’t intend gaming the historical scenarios from Denmark or the Netherlands in 1940.

Instead I will be recreating those insteresting small scale infantry skirmishes in the forests, heaths and border villages of a small Scandinavian ImagiNations setting called Svenmarck. The kind of small country like Leichtenstein that you go through to reach somewhere else. Further north in Nordweg, it’s a bit more snowy forests with beautiful Fjords. It all exists somewhere on or in my ImagiNations map, probably near Tradgardland from Alan Gruber’s blog Duchy of Tradgardland.

No doubt an ImagiNations equivalent or renaming of Nazi Germany will be required, such as Großreich or GrosReich. All ethical issues about gaming the modern period swept aside, then …

***** Update ***** see blog comments below for brief outline of the political and military geography of Tradgardland and Svenmarck and surroundings *****

It was from Alan Gruber and also from Bob Cordery of Wargaming Miscellany that I first heard of this film. Alan has converted some 54mm figures with the help of Danish helmets from the late Les White. Alan’s conversions here show the mix of traditional old black, grey and newer khaki greatcoats in 1940 that Danish troops wore, many of the updated newer khaki uniforms still in store and unissued:

http://tradgardland.blogspot.com/2020/04/finished-danish-conversions.html

Uniform References / Painting Guide

Preben Kannik, Military Uniforms of the World in Colour (Blandford)

*** EWM Dutch or Netherlands 1940 Infantry are next on the painting table. ***

Uniform notes from Kannik

Danish Infantry in black greatcoats, Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Uniforms of WW2

There is a useful painting guide for Great Escape Games 28mm WW2 Danish troops range and well painted examples of their figures – download the PDF painting guide at https://www.greatescapegames.co.uk/danish-infantry

This mentioned the useful research into the history and uniform of the Danish troops in WW2, thankfully published in English by Per Finsted, well illustrated with photos and almost paper soldier like illustrations from an old chakoten.de magazine. https://www.chakoten.dk/The%20Danish%20Army%20on%20April%209th,%201940_complete.pdf

EWM Danish 1940 figures – Madsen LMG group

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madsen_machine_gun

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9qbbr-_QdyY&feature=youtu.be

Mistakes were made …

Painting took longer than expected on these figures as I undercoated using a bulk craft acrylic Mars Black that dries shiny rather than matt, leading it to look in some awkward areas like unpainted shiny metal even after I thought I had first finished painting. This showed up in nooks and crannies in photos, after I had already once overcoated the black greatcoats with Revell Aquacolor Acrylic Teerschwarz / Matt Tar Black. A second overcoat of tar black and targeted infill was required.

Forstærkninger?

Unlike the bicycle troops of the 9.April film, there are forstærkninger or reinforcements on the way. More EWM troops from the Danish, Dutch, Norwegian (and Mexican!) range have been ordered from Paul Thompson at EWM for the Christmas cupboard including Tankette Tuesday material and bicycle troops!

Like Annie at Bad Squiddo’s little extras on postal orders, there’s sometimes the odd complimentary surprise item from EWM as a thank you for ordering, such as resin items (from the EWM scenics range?) like the oil barrels and boxes seen in the photographs. Peter Laing used to do this with his 15mm ranges, such as a new sample figure from a new period, in his rapid post returns.

Good customer service touch, tempting your customers with new ranges of shiny figures …

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, 12 September 2021

B.P.S Blog Post Script

One of my blog readers left me a comment (thanks!) that others may also be interested in re. a free Memoir 44 scenario and hexmap for Denmark 1940 on Kaptain Kobold’s site Hordes of the Things site:

https://hordesofthethings.blogspot.com/p/free-stuff.html

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7jivXekpX0LOUtiZjdmekFTR0thd0tQcEFWWUFaQQ/view?resourcekey=0-q3kwDaC4R27pi4A_yiRb-g

Dazzle Camouflage Returns 2021

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-56904257

Pictured: Dazzle Camouflage recently applied at a west country / Southwest shipyard at Falmouth Docks 2021.

In the days of Radar, “Dazzle camouflage was phased out by the Royal Navy after 1945. Commander David Louis of the Overseas Patrol Squadron, said “Dazzle has much less military value in the 21st Century” but “it is very much more about supporting the unique identity of the squadron within the Royal Navy.” (BBC source above)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-58331695

More BBC coverage of Dazzle Paint and its history

2014 Mersey Pilot Boat Edmund Gardiner repainted as an art event to mark the 1914-18 WW1 centenary

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-27818134

“A Venezuelan artist called Carlos Cruz-Diez designed its fancy new coat. He was commissioned by the Liverpool Biennial and 14-18 NOW – a pop-up arts outfit that is planning a series of commissions to mark the centenary of World War One … Carlos has turned the plain old Edmund Gardener into a “dazzle ship”: a piece of optical art intended to bemuse. The dazzle idea is not his, it was the brainchild of a rather conventional British marine artist called Norman Wilkinson (1878-1971).”

Quote from Dazzle Ships and the Art of Confusion, Will Gompertz BBC online 2014

BBC Teach piece on Norman Wilkinson and the WW1 origin of Dazzle Camouflage.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/how-did-an-artist-help-britain-fight-the-war-at-sea/zmkx8xs

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 31 August 2021

Music of The Allies From the Peninsula to Waterloo Bate Collection CD

Some of my original 1980s 15mm Peter Laing Napoleonic figures drum in the arrival of this interesting CD.

“An evocative programme of army marches and songs from the period 1808-1815”

I cannot remember how I first came across this 2016 CD of recordings of Napoleonic music played by the Bate Military Ensemble on original period instruments from the Bate Collection at the University of Oxford.

I thought it might make an interesting quirky present for a relative with an interest in Napoleonic history. Tracks unheard, I bought this a few weeks ago for the very reasonable price of £10.50 plus postage from the University of Oxford online shop:

https://www.oxforduniversitystores.co.uk/product-catalogue/music-faculty-bate-collection/cds/music-of-the-allies

This is the back of CD blurb and liner notes track listing:

The CD has an attractive cover image, “Winter Warmer, Barba del Puerco”, by Osprey artist Christa Hook.

As I bought this tracks unheard, before I send this CD off as a present, I had second thoughts and opened the shrinkwrap to listen to a few tracks to check this CD out in case it was not suitable.

I was impressed enough by what I heard. There is a short spoken introduction to each track or bugle call by Major Richard Powell. There are also extensive liner notes by Colin Dean with fascinating details of the songs and instruments.

As well as French and British marches and songs, the Allies part of the title covers other marches and songs from nationalities who fought against Napoleon including the Dutch and Prussians. It finishes with the well-known tune “Ich hatt’ einen kameraden”.

Major Richard Powell explains the different trumpet, bugle or fife calls used by cavalry or infantry. The fife or whistle infantry and rifleman calls sound like a form of Morse Code that would have to be carefully learnt by both musician and rank and file. Just as you may target Enemy officers, picking off their musicians, signallers or radiomen could cause similar chaos in the Enemy ranks. These often very young musicians were the “comms” of their day, giving officers the ability to pass on ‘coded’ orders in the heat of battle. The audio version of a signal flag, to rally around?

The film about Arnhem and Operation Market Garden, A Bridge Too Far, amply illustrates that well over a century later, without comms such as radios that work, you might be better off with a bugler or whistler!

There is lots of interesting material here – from the difference between sound quality and audibility over distance of brass or copper instruments, a bugle played at Waterloo by 15 year old Trumpeter Edwards, who joined up aged 9 years old to trivia nuggets such as where the phrase “being drummed out” comes from and what this sounded like.

For those gamers who enjoy having suitable films playing during games in the clubhouse or background, they might like this album.

For those like me who have a playlist of suitable period music to use whilst painting those era of troops, this is also a very good album.

Admittedly some might not like the short spoken introductions and prefer just solid uninterrupted music.

Attractively packaged with the Christa Hook picture, informative liner notes, spoken introduction and good clear sound quality – if you are interested in vintage instruments, military music, signals and comms or the Napoleonic and Peninsula War period, this is an affordable and interesting addition to your music collection.

You can file it on the music shelf, right next to 1970 film soundtrack of Waterloo and the Sharpe’s Rifles soundtrack CD.

I hope my intended gift is suitably well received!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 2nd July 2021

https://prometheusinaspic.blogspot.com/2020/07/featherstonia-acw-rules.html

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

Donald Featherstone’s vintage typed American Civil War rules had a section for the morale role of military bands on the gaming table – I am indebted for this bit of gaming archaeology to MSFoy of the Prometheus in Aspic blog

https://prometheusinaspic.blogspot.com/2020/07/featherstonia-acw-rules.html

Airfix OOHO Washington’s Army conversions by Steve Haller from The Courier magazine early 1970s

After posting my colourful black and gold ImagiNations paint version of Airfix OOHO Washington’s Army figures, I had an interesting blog comment / email from Steve Haller about his use of these 20mm figures:

Steve had pictures of his Washington’s Army troops published in the pages of The Courier magazine, which I have reprinted here with his permission.

You can see those familiar Airfix poses!

Steve wrote: “Here are some Courier early 1970s photos from my old AWI Airfix and Scruby 20mm collection (sold in late 1970s).”

They were published in Courier Magazine issues IV-4; V-2; VI-4.

Proof how versatile these figures are and how they made the AWI period accessible to many, even to the stage where they were mixed in games with ‘proper’ metal figures.

Thanks to Steve Haller for sharing these pictures, for which he still has the original prints.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 8/9 June 2021.

Happy St George’s Day – It’s Shaxberd’s Birthday!

Happy St George’s Day!

1. It’s Shakespeare’s Birthday! Last October I knocked up this pound store plastic Bard for my ongoing Arma-Dad’s Army Elizabethan 1509s Home Guard scenario …

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2020/10/26/shaxbeard-the-armada-and-war/

Toy Theatres had an attraction for many men of letters including early wargamers like RLS, GK Chesterton and H G Wells.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/h-g-wells-little-wars-floor-games-toy-theatres-and-magic-cities/

There is an excellent Shakespeare toy theatre available from Pollock’s Covent Garden shop: or support the Royal Shaxberd / Shakespeare Company shop in Lockdown: https://shop.rsc.org.uk/products/shakespeares-toy-theatre

2. April 23rd is also St George’s Day, an under celebrated and quite odd National Day whose main point is to ignore it if you’re English and not make a fuss about it unlike other country’s more noisily observed National Days.

Portuguese image of a Boy Scout on horseback like a knight of old slaying the dragon of evil.

https://tabletopscoutingwidegames.wordpress.com/2021/04/23/happy-st-georges-day-to-all-those-fabulous-beasts/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/05/05/further-wide-game-design-ideas/

“If I should die … a corner of a foreign field that is forever England”

3. It is also Rupert Brooke’s death day – 23 April 1915 – whilst serving with the RNVR en route to Gallipoli. Brooke was amongst the first to die of the well-known WW1 poets. His Neo-Pagan circle of artistic bohemian wealthy Edwardians included Harold Hobson, an early player of H.G. Well’s Floor Games or Little Wars:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/02/05/three-more-players-of-h-g-wells-floor-game-little-wars-1913/

Brooke met Wells when he as an emerging literary talent met several leaders of the Fabian movement including George Bernard Shaw, Wells, Beatrice and Sidney Webb. Like fellow Fabian Society members he developed an enthusiasm for long walks, camping, nude bathing, and vegetarianism (Spartacus Educational website). Through the Fabians, he would also have known E. Nesbit and her husband.

Rupert Brooke took part in the Royal Naval Division action at Antwerp, October 1914, often seen as one of Churchill’s “piratical adventures”.

“Brooke’s accomplished poetry gained many enthusiasts and followers, and he was taken up by Edward Marsh, who brought him to the attention of First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. Brooke was commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a temporary Sub-Lieutenant shortly after his 27th birthday and took part in the Royal Naval Division’s Antwerp expedition in October 1914.”

“Brooke sailed with the British Mediterranean Expeditionary on 28 February 1915 but developed pneumococcal sepsis from an infected mosquito bite. French surgeons carried out two operations to drain the abscess but he died of septicaemia at 4:46 pm on 23 April 1915, on the French hospital ship Duguay Trouin, moored in a bay off the Greek island of Skyros in the Aegean Sea, while on his way to the Gallipoli landings (Another Churchill’s brainchild). As the expeditionary force had orders to depart immediately, Brooke was buried at 11 pm in an olive grove on Skyros.” (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Brooke)

https://www.nmrn.org.uk/news-events/nmrn-blog/remembering-renowned-war-poet-and-serviceman-rupert-brooke

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/apr/27/rupert-brooke-death-first-world-war-poet-1915

So Happy St. George’s Day and celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday (which is traditionally his Deathday too.)

Remember Rupert Brooke’s death and the many men who died at Gallipoli as well. Anzac Day this year is on Sunday 25th April 2021.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 23 April 2021.

Little Wars – some more from the memoir of Mathilde Meyer, Governess to H G Wells’ children

There are tantalising glimpses of the Floor Game that became Little Wars in the memoir of Mathilde Meyer, H. G. Wells and his Family (1955).

She arrived for work at teatime at the Wells’ seaside house, Spade House, Sandgate, Kent on October 22, 1908 when she first meet Frank (b. 1901)and his younger brother Gip (b.1903):

At the far end of the room I saw two little boys squatting among numerous wooden bricks and boards of various sizes, with toy soldiers, and cannons in ambush ready to do battle.

Mrs. Wells asked her two sons to leave their game to come forward and greet me, which they did with the greatest reluctance.

Both Gip and Frank – my new pupils – were dressed alike. They wore navy-blue serge suits with white sailor collars and cuffs, brown shoes and white socks.

Gip, the elder boy, who had brown hair, a small snub nose and intelligent eyes, looked at me critically for a moment, while his brother, a very pretty fair-haired little fellow, showed plainly that he was not interested.

After tea, Gip (the future zoologist) shows his new governess his pet mouse.

“Please come and have a look at my soldiers,” said Frank, taking me by the hand and leading me to the battleground in miniature set out on the linoleum on the floor. Little did I realise then that I was gazing upon one of those early ‘floor games’ which before long became the favourite pastime of distinguished visitors to Spade House and elsewhere.

The battleground had been carefully chalk marked, and divided in two, by a river. On either side of the imaginary river were houses and huts made of wooden bricks, with brown ribbed paper as thatched roofs. There were woods made of twigs from trees and bushes, taken from the garden, and grotesque monuments of plasticine.

“The red-coated soldiers are mine,” explained Gip, who was squatting on his side of the river.

“Yes, and all the other coloured men are mine,” added Frank.

“Is that the town hall, or the post office, Frank?” I asked, pointing to an extra large building bearing a gay paper flag on a pin.

“Oh no,” he replied, “that is the British Museum, but what you can’t see what’s in it unless you come down here where I am.”

I squatted down beside the fair little fellow and looked through an opening in the museum.

“Oh!” I exclaimed amused, “your museum is full of soldiers with cannons and all! How terrifying!”

“Ssh! Ssh! You shouldn’t have said that,” whispered Frank, frowning. “Now Gip knows where most of my soldiers are hidden.”

Alas, yes, I had made a major gaffe. I had given away important military secrets, and the leader of the Red Coats was chuckling quietly to himself on the other side of the chalk lines.

I apologised for my stupid mistake and offered the leader of the Khaki soldiers my help in removing everything from the museum to another place before the next battle.

But Mrs. Wells , who had been looking on highly amused! Intervened at that moment , saying that there was no time now for battles, that it was the nipght when the floor had to be scrubbed, and soldiers and bricks to be put back into their boxes, before bedtime.

Both boys protested wildly:

“Oh, Mummy, Mummy!” They shouted, “not to-night, please, not to-night!” But Mummy was firm.

This was the worst about Floor games. The linoleum, on which they were set out, alas, had to be washed periodically. An armistice had to be declared. The battlefield had to disappear completely; the boards had to be out against the wall, and twigs that looked already looked a little wilted, burnt with the paper flags.

I wished my new pupils good-night, wondering what kind of inspiration I had made on them. It was not until weeks later that Jessie told me what their verdict had been. “Stupid – but quite nice.”

A few pages later, we get another glimpse from Mathilde Meyer of the Floor Game:

My little pupils and I slipped softly upstairs, and were soon ready for tea, which Jessie had prepared for us in the schoolroom.

The boys had brought in from the garden fresh bay twigs and other greenery, and after tea they set out a new battleground on the well scrubbed linoleum. Newly enrolled soldiers with movable arms * were to take part in the forthcoming battle, and new paper flags had to be made. The armistice was called off, and before long the two young generals were firing their toy cannons from opposite sides, and the peaceful life of the schoolroom was once more overshadowed.

Seeing how engrossed my pupils were in waging war, I left the schoolroom for a while. When I returned, the battle was raging fiercer than ever. Guns were now in action in three corners of the battleground, because a third war-lord – a mighty one – had suddenly appeared on them scene. Mr. Wells, relaxing from his work in the study, was lying fully outstretched on the linoleum and aiming a toy cannon with devastating accuracy at his son’s red and khaki clad soldiers. Ah, yes, to be sure, it was a very serious affair, this floor game.

After the battle the wounded were taken to hospital, for, alas, even in toyland, there are always some casualties. Hopelessly damaged soldiers were melted down in an iron spoon on the schoolroom fire, and others had a new head fixed to the body by means of a match and liquid lead.

Then suddenly the schoolroom door opened, and there stood Jessie, gaunt and serious. ‘Bath-time for you, Frank,” she announced curtly, and a Frank without a murmur, followed her out of the room …

Spade House Chapter 1 / Part 1, Mathilde Meyer, H.G. Wells and his Family (1955)

It is good to see that Jessie their former nurse maintained her relationship with the boys, even though Mathilde has arrived formally as governess.

Interesting that Mathilde mentions “soldiers with moveable arms” as prior to William Britain’s Ltd, this was not the norm. This makes them different from the Germanic flat toy soldier. Britain’s soon had competition from other British based firms also producing toy soldiers with moveable arms.

When Floor Games was published in 1911, Mathilde made a mistake in allowing The Daily Graphic to photograph the boys, thinking Wells had agreed and arranged it. Mr Wells was not pleased but allowed the photograph to be published in the Daily Graphic.

If her recollection is correct, this press photo is not the one on the cover of Floor Games. I have so far failed to find a copy of this Daily Graphic December 1911 photograph.

I have identified two more literary players of the Floor Games in November, 1912, both suitable for a future blog post. Finally for today, a link to a past blog post about three friends of the Wells family, well known Edwardians, that Mathilde Meyer mentioned who also played the ‘Floor Game’ at Easton Glebe c. 1912/13:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/02/05/three-more-players-of-h-g-wells-floor-game-little-wars-1913/

In another blog post I will feature more about Jessie Allen Brooks (b. 1873, Richmond, Surrey) the nurse to the Wells children until 1908 who then reverted to more general household duties (‘cook – domestic’) when Mathilde Mary Meyer arrived:

Mathilde Mary Meyer, Governess, 28, single, born Switzerland Lucerne

Jessie Allen Brooks, 38, single, cook (domestic) born Richmond, Surrey.

They were previously briefly mentioned on my blog post here:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/01/21/the-invisible-men-and-women-behind-h-g-wells-little-wars-and-floor-games/

The other household employee, most probably the wielder of the dread mop and scrubbing brush, interruptor of Floor Games and Little Wars, burner of wilted twigs and paper flags, was in Hampstead in 1911 one Mary Ellen Shinnick.

Mary Ellen Shinnick, 27, single, housemaid (domestic) , born in Ireland (Co. Cork, Coppingerstown)

Again another incidental character to research. Jessie Allen Brooks gets mentioned by name in Mathilde’s memoirs, the other domestic (Mary) doesn’t. This suggests that one is more permanent than the other or that Jessie has more of a working ‘handover’ relationship with Mathilde as their former nurse.

For Wells’ health, the Wells household also had before Church Row Hampstead a seaside home at Spade House, Sandgate, Kent. After time at the Hampstead (London) house, the Wells family moved their main residence from Spring 1912 to a new Wells country bolthole on the Countess of Warwick’s estate at Little Easton Rectory which Wells renamed Easton Glebe, Dunmow, Essex. Here Wells’ second wife ‘Jane’ (Amy Catherine) Wells died in 1927.

Part of the Warwick Circle with the Wells family from Mathilde’s memoir

This is the only photograph (below) that I have found of Mathilde Meyer, taken from her memoir H G Wells and his family.

Mathilde Meyer (left?) and the wife (right?) of the other tutor Mr Classey

This lawn may be where the famous photographs of Wells’ outdoors playing Little Wars on the lawn were taken. It is also where the only photo I have found of Mathilde Meyer from her book seems to be taken.

I’m not yet sure if these same household servants travelled with the Wells family from place to place, house to house, as the cook and housemaids were often part of the emotional stability of a young middle class Edwardian child’s life (before boarding school).

A young tutor Mr Classey arrived and after five years as governess teaching the boys French and German, Mathilde Meyer moved to another post in late 1913, around the time that Little Wars was published July or August. A year later both boys went as boarders to Oundle School in Northamptonshire throughout WWI. Gip was about twelve, Frank ten years old.

Mathilde Meyer moved on to tutor another child, the only daughter of Lady Swinburne at Capheaton, Northumberland, the area where she stayed during WW1. This child may possibly have been Joan Mary Browne-Swinburne (1906 -2012).

It is nice to know that Mathilde Meyer kept in touch with the Wells children well in to the 1950s when, with their permission, she wrote her memoir in 1955 in her late sixties / early seventies. H. G. Wells had died in 1946. It is a highly complementary memoir towards the Wells family. Wells offered her the promise of support ‘like a distant brother’ throughout the rest of his life. Frank helpfully wrote the preface to the book.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 20 February 2021.