History Of The War Game article Illustrated London News 1970

Great pictures of Peter Young, Derek Guyler, Donald Featherstone and of the war Games scene in 1970.

Read and see more at my ManofTIN Blog Two post here: https://manoftinblogtwo.wordpress.com/2022/03/19/illustrated-london-news-article-29-august-1970-on-the-history-of-the-war-game-then-and-now/

Donald Featherstone War Games published 60 years ago this May 1962

Today is Donald Featherstone’s birthday (born 20 March 1918, died 2013).

This is one of two birthday posts I have done for Featherstone’s birthday, the other being on my Man of TIN Blog Two about his views on the ethics of playing at war on the tabletop. https://manoftinblogtwo.wordpress.com/2022/03/20/happy-104th-birthday-donald-featherstone-in-the-60th-anniversary-year-of-war-games-1962/

60 years ago this May 1962, the 44 year old WW2 veteran Donald Featherstone published his first book on War Games.

War Games was published with the background of the Cold War; my late Dad had recently finished amongst the last National Service men as conscription in Britain was coming to an end. The Cuban Missile crisis was only a few months away in October 1962.

In 1962 Featherstone’s own war service as a young Tank NCO in the Royal Armoured Corps in Italy was only 17 years behind him. Since WW2 he had established a successful business as a sports physiotherapist.

The Courier’s Timeline of Historical Miniatures Gaming has an interesting link to this first May 1962 publication, a copy inscribed by Don Featherstone to fellow Southampton gamer Tony Bath.

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~beattie/timeline2.html

Cut this page out and stick this in your copy for inspiration … “Hazardous career”?!?

There is an affordable paperback reprint available from John Curry’s History Of Wargaming Project. Second hand copies of the original 1962 hardback and reprints can be found for reasonable prices online.

I’m sure many gamers cut their teeth on this first War Games volume. I did but it was 15 to 20 years later before I found this first book as a youngster (by then second edition, reprinted many times) in the adult section of my local branch library. I still have this exact well thumbed copy, bought when the library cleared old stock in the 1990s.

I also have a tatty 1962 edition picked up quite cheaply several years ago.

When did you first read or encounter this book?

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Other tabletop gaming events of 1962 from the Courier Timeline.

Added highlights to this 1962 list should be the arrival of an increasingly varied range of cheap Airfix figures from 1959 onwards, according to Featherstone, “the latest and possibly most vital contribution to the wargames world”.

My tatty 1962 edition lists the existing and following figures to arrive in 1962:

Part of what piqued my interest when first borrowing this book from the branch library was seeing these older first version Airfix figures, ones that I had a few of, in use in this ‘grown up’ gaming book. These photographs said to me: I can do this, I don’t have flats or Spencer Smiths, but I have Airfix.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/05/11/final-flocking-and-basing-done-after-thirty-odd-years-some-airfix-and-featherstone-first-versions/

Most of the Wargamers’ Newsletter has now been scanned and is available at https://www.fourcats.co.uk/mags/

*

What are your first or early memories of this ground-breaking book?

*

Donald Featherstone’s radio talks

Transcripts have been passed to John Curry for future publication; BBC Written Archives do not allow for easy publication on a blog. Some of the early sections of War Games is roughly there:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/donald-featherstones-bbc-radio-talks-1962-1963/

Thanks Don Featherstone for providing so much inspiration, distraction and fellowship through your “hazardous career” in writing this book and many others.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 20 March / May 2022

Previous posts: Featherstone’s centenary anniversary 2018:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/03/featherstone100-donald-featherstone-centenary-20-march-2018/

Tankette Tuesday, Skybirds and Crescent tiny metal Khaki Infantry

The mystery of some tiny Khaki infantry solved … and next week’s Tankette Tuesday contender.

Skybirds, Crescent Infantry 20-25mm and Tiny Trojans, heading back to the birth of the plastic OO or HO wargames figures of the 1960s.

Read more at:

https://manoftinblogtwo.wordpress.com/2022/02/22/skybirds-and-crescent-type-tiny-metal-british-khaki-infantry/

Crossposted from my Man of TIN Blog Two, Tankette Tuesday 22 02 2022

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/

Happy Robert Louis Stevenson Day 13th November 2021

Thanks to this reminder from the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum in USA I am reminded that it’s Robert Louis Stevenson’s birthday today, 13 November!

Born in 1850 in Edinburgh, today would have been his 171st birthday.

They have a full day of pirate birthday activities planned at the RLS museum – enjoy – but as it’s in St Helena CA (California) in another country, sadly I won’t be going.

RLS and his American wife Fanny Osborne stayed in this area of California when they married.

The Museum has the largest collection of Stevensoniana on public display in the world https://stevensonmuseum.org/the-museum/history/

Source: Pinterest / Nancy Horan, Roberts Louis Stevenson Museum collection

including some of RLS’ toy soldiers:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/10/02/robert-louis-stevensons-toy-soldiers/

***************************

Not able to pop over to Mt. Helena to the RLS Museum?

You could of course celebrate RLS’ birthday at home by reading some Stevenson or even playing a toy soldier wargame.

Whilst convalescing, RLS played complex toy soldier war games written up by his stepson Lloyd Osborne in Scribners Magazine as the Yallobelly Times

http://vintagewargaming.blogspot.com/2009/11/robert-louis-stevenson.html

Famous as the author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson is less well known as an early war gamer.

His role as ” grandfather” or “great uncle” in the history of wargaming (depending where you place H.G. Wells) was acknowledged by “father of the modern wargame” Donald Featherstone in his book War Games (1962), a book that began the hobby careers of so many of us.

Toy soldiers also feature in several of his famous poems feature toy soldiers including “The Land of Counterpane” https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/the-land-of-counterpane/

which inspired one of my toy soldier wargames last year

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2021/04/07/the-land-of-counterpane-invaded-part-2-the-battle/

Chaos and carnage on the Counterpane with RLS’ poem and Jessie Wilcox Smith’s famous illustration https://www.gutenberg.org/files/25609/25609-h/25609-h.htm

and the garden game focussed “The Dumb Soldier”.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/block-city-rls-and-

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2018/02/17/more-dumb-soldiers-in-the-garden/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/07/rls-martial-elegy-for-some-lead-soldiers/

Happy birthday RLS!

Blog post by Mark Man of TIN, 12 / 13 November 2021

“And for the more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys games”

Famous or infamous quote from H.G. Wells https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/25/that-more-intelligent-sort-of-girl-who-likes-boys-games-and-books/

Female war gamers often describe themselves as legendary or mythical creatures.

Search around, there are now a fair number of female war gamers blogging (usually more fantasy than historical).

Other Mythical Creatures – https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/12/22/military-unicorns-of-the-world-in-colour/

Cards on the table: I am not a club war gamer or club board gamer, never have been and probably never will be. I have always been essentially an occasional solo gamer, but mostly a repairer, converter, painter, collector and general hack-abouter of toy soldiers.

However the ‘social history’ of gaming and war gaming is an interesting one to me as it spread out from a military training tool in the nineteenth century onwards via H.G. Wells’ Little Wars, avoiding a destructive swish of skirts on the nursery floor to a more diverse civilian audience in the 1960s and 1970s boom.

I was intrigued whilst casually researching ‘war games’ on the British Newspaper Archive to come across this curious snippet from The West Briton November 18, 1971 (interestingly around the Armistice / Remembrance period):

Wargame Society

“A meeting of wargaming societies from Truro School and Truro Girls Hugh School was held last week at Truro School to discuss the possibility of forming a Wargaming Society which would be open to members of the public of Truro.

About 20 attended the meeting, which was presided over by Mr. Derek Burrell, headmaster of Truro School.”

*************

What makes this noteworthy fifty years later is the words “and Truro Girls High School“.

Both schools are still in existence, both long established (nineteenth century) independent, fee-paying or private schools in Cornwall.

The time of the event is not surprising: 1971 was midway through the ‘first Wargames boom period’ from Featherstone’s War Games 1962 onwards with Airfix riding high: cue vintage wargaming sort of nostalgia.

A month or so later a further interview turns up in the West Briton, 20 December 1971: almost no mention of any girl gamers or female gamers.

Club spokeswoman sixth former Bob Aldridge on “Britain’s fastest growing hobby” West Briton, December 1971. (Bob Aldridge was still active on Facebook in the last few years.)

I can find no further trace of this Truro Wargames Society involving girls or female gamers.

As club members move on, it may not have lasted very long. Clubs schism over rules, scale and periods played.

A Fantasy and Wargames Society was announced in the same area in the 1983, according to the article, one particularly seeking female members to play Dungeons and Dragons.

Kevin Roke, organiser of a Fantasy and Wargames Society of Cornwall, (21 March 1983 West Briton) sought more members including women gamers. Keen to “attract some women, secretary Kevin Roke believes, the games being played have appeal not only for men.”

This type of press article is always fascinating, as bemused local journalists try to get their head round a quirky niche hobby and make it sound interesting to outsiders:

West Briton 15 December 1980 – Trevor Jones and Grant Pettit name checked – Grant is still active in the Cornwall Wargames Association Facebook group forty years later. Life-long lasting hobby!

An Armageddon Club of gamers also met in the Truro area in the 1980s, maybe not the most sensitive of naming in the Nuclear 80s when the phrase The War Game in the British Newspaper Archive ironically throws up multiple 1980s listings of the local CND groups showing ‘The War Game’ film in village halls.

Another West Briton newspaper snippet about a new Wargames West society was announced at a local boys club in Truro in 1993 suggesting the other 1971 Society or 1980s ones were no more?

As mentioned, the Cornwall Wargames Association and other SW games societies still exist, with a few outposts of Games Workshop stores down West and a declining number of local model shops.

Maybe other readers know more?

There may be some veteran Truro High School for Girls female war gamers in their sixties and seventies out there with vague memories in 1971 of pushing lead and plastic figures around a table

but sadly I somehow doubt this …

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Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, down far West, 2 October 2021.

Title Quote from H.G. Wells https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/25/that-more-intelligent-sort-of-girl-who-likes-boys-games-and-books/

Here is a bit of background research from early 2021 into the women around the Wells household when Little Wars was written.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/03/07/the-dread-broom-and-the-swish-of-skirts-jessie-allen-brooks-part-of-the-h-g-wells-household-floor-games-and-little-wars/

The real Hook’s Farm on old maps

Following up my blog post about H.G. Wells’ childhood battles in his head in the late 1860s and early 1870s across the wild spaces of Bromley, recaptured in his Little Wars floor games and garden games of the Battle of Hook’s Farm,

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/02/27/the-battles-of-hooks-farm-and-st-martins-hill-h-g-wells-experiment-in-autobiography-and-little-wars/

“The land was still mainly used for farming, divided up principally between Hook Farm to the west of Bromley Common, situated in the location of what is today the car park of Norman Park, and Turpington Farm to the east, close to the junction of Crown Lane and Turpington Lane.

Hook Farm was owned by the Norman family of The Rookery, and Turpington Farm belonged to the Wells family of Southborough Lodge (both of these residences are now destroyed).”

https://thehistoryofchattertonvillage.wordpress.com/bromley-common-in-the-early-1800s/

I have looked through more maps of the real Hook’s Farm in Bromley. Firely Church still eludes me.

Close up shows the Hook’s Farm terrain, ridges and higher ground more clearly – 1857.

This 1857 map is from the Longbourne Collection, Bromley Borough Local History Society

https://www.bblhs.org.uk/longbourne-2#&gid=1270181636&pid=1

There are other mapping programmes or websites that allow you get an idea of the lie of the land as H.G. Wells saw it as an imaginative child General H.G.W. and as you can see it now.

Although the Bromley Local History site maps are placed online, it is worth pointing out that I do not own the copyright of any of these maps – I am sharing screen shots for research purposes, not commercial gain.

Hook’s Farm is where the Norman Park car park can now be found – mid centre of the map.

Norman Park the site of Hook’s Farm has a Google Street View panorama

and scanning around such Street View images I spot a distant spire – Firely Church? I can’t pinpoint it on a modern map or know if it was there in late Victorian times but here is a church, visible just the same roughly from where Hook’s Farm was located.

Screen shot of a Google Street View panorama showing a spire – Firely Church?

Norman Park also has a Wikipedia entry

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Park,_Bromley

and a photograph by Mike Quinn of a modern wooden bridge over the Ravensbourne stream, surely a contested military objective?

see also https://www.geograph.org.uk/stuff/list.php?title=The+River+Ravensbourne+in+Norman+Park+&gridref=TQ4167

I have yet to find a photograph of the old Hook’s Farm. Here is what it really looks like inside H.G. Well’s head and house in Little Wars 1913 wooden block form, Firely Church to the left, Hook’s Farm on the right ridge. The Ravensbourne stream is not marked.

Hooks Farm is now ‘Norman Park‘ and the demolished Farm is now a parking area. The restaging of Hooks Farm or a Little Wars centenary game in 2013 that was fought on the lawns of Sandhurst might have been a very different affair on a commandeered Bromley car park.

You can see in the wider Google satellite map how the Martin’s Hill site of many imaginary battles is still part of a green slice or wedge off to the South of Bromley through to the Norman Park Hook’s Farm site and on to Bromley Common and off the map, Keston Fish Ponds or Pool, mentioned in Wells’ battle narrative.

Nice to know from the Google maps overlay of businesses that not only the old Hook’s Farm site is now a place of leisure and hopefully imaginative play and Wide Games but that on the corner of Hook’s Farm Road is a nursery, hopefully full of imaginative play with wooden blocks and small world figures.

One excellent site is the National Library of Scotland website https://maps.nls.uk/which allows you to look at the same place or grid reference on a range of maps over time – it works for your home, where you grew up and for looking up places like Hook’s Farm.

Thanks to Bromley Common and the other Bromley parks there is still a leafy edge that the young H.G. Wells might recognise, despite 150 years of building and suburban infill. The Ravensbourne Stream can be clearly seen.

https://maps.nls.uk/view/102343480#zoom=6&lat=8025&lon=1801&layers=BT

The Battle of Hook’s Farm – where geography meets ImagiNations?

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN, 28 February 2021

The Battles of Hook’s Farm and St Martins Hill – H. G. Wells’ Experiment in Autobiography and Little Wars

H G Wells (1866-1946) in his lengthy Experiment in Autobiography (1934) mentions Little Wars (1913) only once:

https://gutenberg.ca/ebooks/wellshg-autobiography/wellshg-autobiography-00-h-dir/wellshg-autobiography-00-h.html#Page_76

Here we get a glimpse of Little Wars and the Battle of Hooks Farm in his boyhood imagination forty years earlier, The Battles of Martin’s Hills, Bromley, Kent.

Page 74: “I had reveries—I indulged a great deal in reverie until I was fifteen or sixteen, because my active imagination was not sufficiently employed—and I liked especially to dream that I was a great military dictator like Cromwell, a great republican like George Washington or like Napoleon in his earlier phases.

I used to fight battles whenever I went for a walk alone. I used to walk about Bromley, a small rather undernourished boy, meanly clad and whistling detestably between his teeth, and no one suspected that a phantom staff pranced about me and phantom orderlies galloped at my commands, to shift the guns and concentrate fire on those houses below, to launch the final attack upon yonder distant ridge.

The citizens of Bromley town go out to take the air on Martin’s Hill and look towards Shortland across the fields where once meandered the now dried-up and vanished Ravensbourne, with never a suspicion of the orgies of bloodshed I once conducted there.

https://bromleytownparks.wordpress.com

“Martin’s Hill indeed is one of the great battlegrounds of history. Scores of times the enemy skirmishers have come across those levels, followed by the successive waves of the infantry attack, while I, outnumbered five to one, manœuvred my guns round, the guns I had refrained so grimly from using too soon in spite of the threat to my centre, to enfilade them suddenly from the curving slopes towards Beckenham.”

St Martins Hill in Bromley – image source: Bromleytownparks.wordpress.com – Who walking there today could imagine the epic battles that once were waged there in HGW’s young head?

“Crash,” came the first shell, and then crash and crash. They were mown [p. 75] down by the thousand. They straggled up the steep slopes wavering. And then came the shattering counter attack, and I and my cavalry swept the broken masses away towards Croydon, pressed them ruthlessly through a night of slaughter on to the pitiful surrender of the remnant at dawn by Keston Fish Ponds.

And I entered conquered, or rescued, towns riding at the head of my troops, with my cousins and my schoolfellows recognizing me with surprise from the windows. And kings and presidents, and the great of the earth, came to salute my saving wisdom. I was simple even in victory. I made wise and firm decisions, about morals and customs and particularly about those Civil Service Stores which had done so much to bankrupt my [shopkeeper] father. With inveterate enemies, monarchists, Roman Catholics, non-Aryans and the like I was grimly just. Stern work—but my duty….

In fact Adolf Hitler is nothing more than one of my thirteen year old reveries come real. A whole generation of Germans has failed to grow up.

My head teemed with such stuff in those days. But it is interesting to remark that while my mind was full of international conflicts, alliances, battleships and guns, I was blankly ignorant about money or any of the machinery of economic life. I never dreamed of making dams, opening ship canals, irrigating deserts or flying. I had no inkling of the problem of ways and means; I knew nothing and, therefore, I cared nothing of how houses were built, commodities got and the like.

I think that was because nothing existed to catch and turn my imagination in that direction. There was no literature to enhance all that. I think there is no natural bias towards bloodshed in imaginative youngsters, but the only vivid and inspiring things that history fed me with were campaigns and conquests. In Soviet Russia they tell me they have altered all that.

[76] ”For many years my adult life was haunted by the fading memories of those early war fantasies. Up to 1914, I found a lively interest in playing a war game, with toy soldiers and guns, that recalled the peculiar quality and pleasure of those early reveries.”

“It was quite an amusing model warfare and I have given its primary rules in a small book “for boys and girls of all ages” Little Wars.”

“I have met men in responsible positions, L. S. Amery for example, Winston Churchill, George Trevelyan, C. F. G. Masterman, whose imaginations were manifestly built upon a similar framework and who remained puerile in their political outlook because of its persistence.”

“I like to think I grew up out of that stage somewhen between 1916 and 1920 and began to think about war as a responsible adult should.”

H.G. Wells, Experiment in Autobiography, 1934

A gathering of Generals and Staff Officers (Little Wars illustration by J.R. Sinclair)

It is easy to gain a sense of Wells the adult writer trying to recapture the world of Wells the imaginative child (in his hindsight autobiography) yet you can see elements in his recreation of childhood fantasies in his War of the Worlds and other such late Victorian and Edwardian Invasion Literature.

I am also sensing some thing a little bit similar to the Brontes’ warlike ImagiNations juvenile fiction in their Little Books – explored in my blog page / posts here https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/gaming-the-bronte-family-imaginations-of-glasstown-angria-gondal-and-gaaldine/

To be honest who amongst us, like H. G. Wells, has not as a child in their Wide Games over parks, woods and gardens had such imaginary battles as knights, cowboys, backwoodsman and troops, especially to relieve the monotony of repeated walks? It is what Baden Powell / Gilcraft in Scouting Wide Games (1933) called the Cloak of Romance. Puck of Pook’s Hill, Treasure Island …

STS Little Britons & BP’s Cloak of Romance reading list for imaginative Scouting Wide Games

I used, like Wells, on my several mile walks to school as a tweenager / teenager, especially if late, be marching uphill as head of a flying column or parade to get the pace up (music in your head, no Walkmans allowed in school then) before knocking on others doors to collect them and keep going. I had seen Star Wars but had not then seen the film Billy Liar. Thankfully I did not too often have to do the trumpet fanfare running March (of the Italian Bersaglieri) to avoid being late for school.

As a result I find it interesting to see the evolution of the boyhood imaginary heroic man “General H.G.W.” of the young child and early teenage days on St Martins Hill back into the equally imaginative adult “General H.G.W.” of Little Wars in 1913.

In his 1934 Experiment in Autobiography, his teenage ImagiNations now have to compete with the disillusion of WW1, his Shape of Things To Come (1933, later filmed) and the then topical modern world of the 1930s, of Hitler and Soviet Russia, the disillusion of their future crimes still then unknown.

Maybe our own modern War Games and Role Playing Games are a way to recapture these Wellsian “early reveries” and “fading memories of these early War fantasies” of our own ImagiNations, yard games and garden war games.

Not having sisters or daughters, I presume that, akin to or alongside my schoolboy heroic fantasies, that girls had their own versions.

The charm of Wells’ Little Wars were brought to an end by WW1. The Falklands and the Gulf Wars brought some more such gritty reality to our view of things for my generation.

https://archive.org/details/littlewarsgamefo00well/page/62/mode/2up.

Wells wrote more about his often quarrelsome relationship with Frank and his brothers

Later on I grew up to my brothers, so to speak, and had great talks with them. With Frank, the eldest, indeed, I developed a considerable companionship in my teens and we had some great holiday walks together. But at the time of which I am writing all that had still to come.

Our home was not one of those where general ideas are discussed at table. My mother’s ready orthodox formulæ were very effective in suppressing any such talk. So my mind developed almost as if I were an only child.

My childish relations with my brothers varied between vindictive resentment and clamorous aggression. I made a terrific fuss if my toys or games were touched and I displayed great vigour in acquiring their more attractive possessions.

I bit and scratched my brothers and I kicked their shins, because I was a sturdy little boy who had to defend himself; but they had to go very easily with me because I was a delicate little fellow who might easily be injured and was certain to yell. On one occasion, I quite forget now what the occasion was, I threw a fork across the dinner table at Frank, and I can still remember very vividly the missile sticking in his forehead where it left three little scars for a year or so and did no other harm; and I have an equally clear memory of a smashed window behind the head of my brother Freddy, the inrush of cold air and dismay, after I had flung a wooden horse at him.

Finally they hit upon an effectual method of at once silencing me and punishing me. They would capture me in our attic and suffocate me with pillows. I couldn’t cry out and I had to give in. I can still feel the stress of that suffocation. Why they did not suffocate me for good and all I do not know. They had no way of checking what was going on under the pillow until they took it off and looked.

A little later Wells mentions another of these Billy Liar-type fantasy moments to relieve boredom when a young teenage apprentice in a draper’s shop:

Part 4 First Start in Life—Windsor (Summer 1880)

…. The one bright moment during the day was when the Guards fifes and drums went past the shop and up to the Castle. These fifes and drums swirled me away campaigning again.

Dispatch riders came headlong from dreamland, brooking no denial from the shop-walker. “Is General Bert Wells here? The Prussians have landed!”

He refers back to his Hitleresque (based in the word Chaplinesque) fantasies once gain later (Part 5 p. 533?)

Sadly Martin’s Hill now has its own war memorial, proving the point of Wells’ last chapter in Little Wars about the perils of the Great Wars that occurred merely one year later and a quarter of a century later https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1116976

For a glimpse of Old Bromley in Wells’ childhood you can buy repro maps of 1861 from https://www.alangodfreymaps.co.uk/kent0716.htm in case you wish to recreate the Battles of St. Martin’s Hill for yourself as a Little Wars gaming scenario (a change from Hook’s Farm?)

Is Hook’s Farm a real place?

Intriguingly maps of Wells’ imaginative battle areas in 1860s 1870s Bromley feature an area called Hook and Hooks Farm Road (road name still there) . Just as wells wrote about people he knew under different names, maybe he recycled and wrote about real places under other names too?

“The land was still mainly used for farming, divided up principally between Hook Farm to the west of Bromley Common, situated in the location of what is today the car park of Norman Park, and Turpington Farm to the east, close to the junction of Crown Lane and Turpington Lane.

Hook Farm was owned by the Norman family of The Rookery, and Turpington Farm belonged to the Wells family of Southborough Lodge (both of these residences are now destroyed).”

https://thehistoryofchattertonvillage.wordpress.com/bromley-common-in-the-early-1800s/

The Wells family of Southborough Lodge – any relation I wonder to H.G. Wells? He came from a large family, as did his his father Joseph Wells.

Firely (Church) does not seem to exist but there is the exotically named Farwig!

Free historic maps can be found at the Bromley Local History Society https://www.bblhs.org.uk/maps

https://www.bblhs.org.uk/bromley-common#&gid=1189361799&pid=6

One to explore on the old maps for future gaming scenarios and wide games maps.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, February / March 2021

Three More Players of H.G. Wells’ Floor Game (Little Wars) 1913

Reading Mathilde Meyer’s memoir H.G. Wells and his Family (1955), about her time as Governess to Well’s two sons Frank and Gip, she makes occasional references to the ‘Floor Game’, which I take to mean Little Wars (1913).

Mathilde Meyer mentions the names of three visitors to Wells country home at Easton Glebe, Dunmow, Essex who took part in the “Floor Game”:

“On wet days, however, The Floor Game, was till the most popular amusement of all. Not only Gip and Frank, but also such friends of their father as the Politician the Rt Hon C.F.G. Masterman, Mr Harold Hobson and Mr. E.S.P. Haynes could be seen stretched out upon the schoolroom floor at weekends.”

Who are these people?

1. Politician, the Rt Hon C.F.G. Masterman

Charles Masterman (Wikipedia Image Source)

1. Charles Frederick Gurney Masterman MP, Privy Council, (1873 – 1927) was a British radical Liberal Party politician, intellectual and man of letters. He worked closely with such Liberal leaders as Lloyd George and Churchill in designing social welfare projects, including the National Insurance Act 1911. Masterman wrote ‘State of The Nation’ books such as “The Condition of England” 1909

From The Oxford Companion to English Literature, ed. Margaret Drabble (2000)

His postwar political career as a Liberal was a difficult and disappointing one and he died relatively young at 54 years old. In a similar way, the former Liberal Churchill had a long period in the political wilderness in the 1920s and 30s.

Wells, Masterman and Wartime Propaganda Bureau WW1

In Masterman we have another link between early Wargamers H.G. Wells and Winston Churchill.

“During the First World War Masterman played a central role in the main British government propaganda agency, designed to counter the German Propaganda Agency and promote British interests in neutral countries like America. Masterman served as head of the British War Propaganda Bureau (WPB), known as “Wellington House.” (Wikipedia entry WPB)

Masterman’s War Propaganda Bureau enlisted eminent writers such as John Buchan, H.G. Wells and Arthur Conan Doyle as well as painters such as Francis Dodd and Paul Nash.

Until its abolition in 1917 to become the Ministry of Information headed by John Buchan, the WPB department published 300 books and pamphlets in 21 languages. It distributed over 4,000 propaganda photographs every week and circulated maps, cartoons and lantern slides to the media.

Masterman also commissioned films about the war such as The Battle of the Somme, which appeared in August 1916. (Adapted from Wikipedia source: Charles Masterman)

Wellington House was home of the War Propaganda Bureau on Buckingham Gate (the building has now been demolished).

The War Propaganda Bureau began its secret propaganda campaign on 2 September 1914 when Masterman invited 25 leading British authors to Wellington House to discuss ways of best promoting Britain’s interests during the war.

Those who attended included (then) well known authors such as William Archer, Hall Caine, Arthur Conan Doyle, Arnold Bennett, John Masefield, G.K. Chesterton, Henry Newbolt, John Galsworthy, Thomas Hardy … G.M. Trevelyan, H.G. Wells [and in the subsequent ‘Author’s Declaration’ several popular women authors].

Rudyard Kipling had been invited to the meeting but was unable to attend.

In view of its propaganda role, all the writers who attended on 2 September 1914 agreed to maintain the utmost secrecy. It was not until 1935 that the activities of the War Propaganda Bureau became public knowledge.

Some of these writers and their author friends agreed to write pamphlets and books that would promote the government’s point of view.

The War Propaganda Bureau went on to publish over 1,160 such pamphlets during the war. (Wikipedia entry WPB)

In 1917 the Department of Information partly took over this role under John Buchan before Lord Beaverbrook took charge of propaganda in 1918.

For a good book on British Naval intelligence and propaganda at home, America and in the more forgotten theatres of WW1 – see Codebreakers by James Willie and Michael McKinley (Ebury, 2015). Author A.E.W. Mason from the Authors Declaration (below) crops up in the book as an ‘interesting’ figure:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/01/my-world-book-day-choice-2018-worldbookday/

https://spartacus-educational.com/FWWwpb.htm

Two of those involved in the development of Little Wars signed the ‘Author’s Declaration of Support’ for Britain’s entry into the Great War – G.K. Chesterton and Jerome K. Jerome. It makes the final ‘pacific’ chapter ‘warning’ by Wells in Little Wars about the danger or blunder of Great Wars all the more poignant.

Propaganda or publicity to the Americans – “The Authors Declaration”, New York Times, October 18th, 1914

The Slate.com blog post authors state that “H.G. Wells satirized his own wartime career in Mr. Britling Sees It Through (1916), and by 1918 had withdrawn from propaganda work altogether.

Another one for the Wells book list for this year … available in Project Gutenberg or Librivox.

This New York Times image came from the blog post about the WW1 Authors Declaration at Slate.com https://slate.com/human-interest/2014/10/british-authors-and-wwi-propaganda-manifesto-signed-by-h-g-wells-arthur-conan-doyle-rudyard-kipling.html

Another unusual and even more direct or active link to the development of Little Wars occurred to me this week – read about this in my next blog post.

2. Mr Harold Hobson

At first a mystery – this is not the theatre critic Sir Harold Hobson (1904 – 1992).

Harold Hobson (1891–1974), David ‘Bunny’ Garnett’s friend, and a temporary lover of D.H. Lawrence ‘s wife Frieda, lived at 3 Gayton Crescent, at the end of Gayton Road [in what literary tour guide Catherine Brown calls Hampstead the “Montmartre” of London, where many famous artists and writers including H.G. Wells lived in Edwardian times https://catherinebrown.org/lawrences-hampstead-a-walking-tour/

Before WW1, “Bunny roamed the countryside with his ‘Neo-Pagan’ friends: Rupert Brooke, the Olivier sisters, Harold Hobson, Godwin Baynes and Dudley Ward, all of them swimming naked in lakes and rivers, worshipping nature and sleeping out under the stars.” (Source: Amazon review of Garnett biography).

Harold Hobson later married Coralie Jeyes von Werner or “Coralie von Werner Hobson” (1891 – 1946). Largely forgotten today, Coralie wrote novels, short stories and plays; from 1928 she published under the pseudonym “Sarah Salt”. She wrote her first novel ‘The Revolt of Youth’ in 1909.

They had two children: Sarah Elizabeth Hobson and Timothy John Hobson (Source: “Who’s who in Commerce and Industry”, Volume 6, 1948, p.705).

Harold Hobson was the son of New York-born writer Florence Edgar Hobson and noted journalist and social economist John Atkinson Hobson; Harold, an engineering graduate from King’s College, was tall, male, articulate, extroverted.

As a youth he belonged to a group that advocated freedom and spontaneity, was anti-intellectual and was called the Neo-Pagans by Virginia Woolf; the often changing members included Godwin Baynes, Rupert Brooke, Ka Cox, Gwen Darwin (later Raverat), Frances Darwin (later Cornford), David ‘Bunny’ Garnett, the Olivier sisters Margery, Bryn, Daphne and Noel, Jacques Raverat and Gerald Shove.

Hobson and David Garnett, his best friend went on a hike in the Alps in August 1912 with D. H. Lawrence and his companion Frieda Richthofen.

According to Helga Kaschl “Lawrence valued him – at least initially – for his uncompromising honesty; however, they soon parted ways after Harold and Frieda indulged in their passion in a haystack.”

D. H. Lawrence processed this “episode” in “Mr. Noon” and described Stanley (= Harold) as handsome, with big, dark eyes, an attractive, gaunt face, of casual elegance, who looked at Johanna (= Frieda) languidly. (Mr. Noon, p. 376)

Harold Hobson became a Consulting engineer at Merz & McLellan from 1919 to 1925, was involved in setting up the electricity grid in Great Britain and was then successfully employed in leading positions within the electricity industry.

Harold Hobson, Supply Engineer; Commercial Manager 1932–35; General Manager from 1935; Central Electricity Board Chairman 1944–46..

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

Harold Hobson’s father John Atkinson Hobson was close to the Fabians and influenced Margaret Cole with his ideas. Hobson senior was one of the liberal intellectuals who switched to the Labour Party after the First World War. Hobson senior worked for The Nation newspaper and became a friend of Leonard Woolf, who also started working for the newspaper in 1922. Hobson’ father published the essay “Notes on Law and Order” in 1926 and “From Capitalism to Socialism” in 1932 in the Hogarth Press. Leonard Woolf valued him as Britain’s leading theoretician of anti-colonialism.

Edward Taylor Scott, married to Harold Hobson’s sister Mabel, was the editor of the Manchester Guardian.

(Source: rough translation from Helga Kaschl’s German article https://www.schreibfrauen.at/coralie-hobson/

Here we have clear links to The Fabian Society, Liberal thinkers – all overlap with H.G. Wells, who knew D.H. Lawrence, putting Wells on the edge of the Bloomsbury Group of writers and artists, who later settled at Charleston House. Frank Palmer the publisher of Wells Little Wars and Floor Games also had his office in ‘Bloomsbury’.

Mr. E.S.P. Haynes (Wikipedia image source)

3. Edmund Sidney Pollock Haynes (26 September 1877 – 5 January 1949), best known as Mr. E. S. P. Haynes was a British lawyer and writer, mostly on legal subjects. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._S._P._Haynes

So there you have it – three more players of The Floor Game or Little Wars and proof of the well connected man that H.G. Wells was.

More to come about Charles Masterman, H.G. Wells and Little Wars in our next post.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 4 February 2021