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"Don Featherstone Passes" Topic

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©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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Liliburlero Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2013 7:59 a.m. PST

Rest in peace Don. You were an important part of my early gaming years in the 1950's, always taking time to answer letters full of questions from a Yank. I shall miss another old friend who's now rolling D6's in Wargame Valhalla.

Larry Brom

Grumble8710604 Sep 2013 8:04 a.m. PST

Don's book <Advanced War Games> was the first miniature wargaming book I ever purchased (1969 as a first-year college student -- and I still have it, of course.)

As a result, I bought the "prequel" <War Games> soon afterward. Don kindly autographed that one -- as well as <Tank Battles in Miniature – The Western Desert Campaign> -- when he was at Historicon about the year 2000.

My recollection of his comment about "crossing the pond" for the last time is that the Historicon announcements stated it might be his last trip, but his comment to me was "They must know something I don't know"!

I was glad to have the opportunity to thank him for his seminal and prolific contribution to the hobby as well as my own development.


Jubilation T Cornpone04 Sep 2013 8:13 a.m. PST

Sad news. Like Grumble87106, my first introduction to war gaming was through Don Featherstones Advanced Wargames. This spurred me on my way to a life time of war gaming. Undoubtedly it was the same for many. A giant of the Wargames world passes. RIP.

dagc5404 Sep 2013 8:13 a.m. PST

What a great loss to our hobby. He was a true gentleman. Met him once several years ago when he came to Tennessee to visit several civil war battlefields beore going to Historicon. He gave a wonderful talk about gaming to our club.
Mr Featherstone, may the face of the Lord shine upon you and give you peace.

Lions Den04 Sep 2013 8:34 a.m. PST

We think about things like this happening. Time passing. I have heard a hobbyist's passing refered to as "when your command stand is removed from the table."

RIP Don Featherstone

I gamed with him on one of his visits to Kansas City. Wonderful gentlemen and inspiration in the hobby.

Personal logo svsavory Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2013 8:34 a.m. PST

I had the honor of playing in an ACW game he ran at a convention in the late '80s. He was indeed a true gentleman.

RIP, sir.

Gloria Smud04 Sep 2013 8:36 a.m. PST

Lovely man, a good old fashioned gent – always time for a chat.
We shall have a game this evening using one of his many scenarios in tribute to a great servant to our little hobby.

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2013 8:44 a.m. PST

If there wasn't wargming in heaven before, there is now.

Rest in peace, good Mr. Featherstone. We'll all roll a six in your honor.

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Sep 2013 8:47 a.m. PST

This is a sad passing. He was a vital figure in the genesis of the hobby as we play it today. Although I did not know him very well he always made me welcome when I visited his various homes. The loss of Peter hit him hardest. Here was a gamer who had such early Bellona models that they were hand made(pre-vacuum forming)!


Corporal Agarn04 Sep 2013 9:03 a.m. PST

His books absorbed me as a young lad. I've enjoyed many years of a wonderful hobby meeting good people along the way. Thank you Don. You will be sorely missed. RIP.

Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2013 9:05 a.m. PST

Man. what a bummer. RIP Don. Dare I say, there will never be another like you. Thanks for the books… and the magazines… and the cons… and the homemade terrain… and the camaraderie… and the joyful enthusiasm.

Marc the plastics fan04 Sep 2013 9:05 a.m. PST

Always sad to lose such a legend. Fond memories of his many books as a child. The hobby and my life would have been very different without the efforts of Mr Featherstone and his contempories.

It appears he had a full and interesting life, which is all any of us can wish for. May he rest in peace.

Seamus04 Sep 2013 9:23 a.m. PST

Rest in peace, Donald.

Bad Painter04 Sep 2013 9:41 a.m. PST

Our hobby has lost one of its greats. Most of us are reading TMP today because of Mr. Featherstone's works. I had the pleasure to chat with him at Historicon several years ago as we walked from the Tennis Barn to the Main Building of the Host. It was a hot day, he was already frail, so I offered to get him some water and sat with him for a few minutes. Because of that chat, I consider it one of my best Historicons.

GonerGonerGoner04 Sep 2013 9:46 a.m. PST

All his books from the local library shelves started me off. Thanks for the years of enjoyment, Don.
Rest in Peace.

NedZed04 Sep 2013 10:10 a.m. PST

I subscribed to the Wargamer's Newsletter in the '60s and '70s (still have them) and also have some of his books. I always looked forward to receiving the Newsletter. The best way I could describe the style was that I felt like I was receiving a letter from home… even though I am an American who has always lived in California! I think my favorite articles were "At The Colonel's Table" by, if I remember correctly, a Don Houghton. I think there was a note that he was a writer for the Doctor Who show, but I had no idea about what that was until decades later. I think it may have been in the book "Advanced Wargames" that I saw the idea for knitting needle index cards to pull up particular data for a game. I never actually used that idea, but like much of Don's writing it inspired other ideas. He will be missed.
– Ned Zuparko

Bob the Temple Builder04 Sep 2013 11:14 a.m. PST

I awoke early this morning to get ready to go to the second day of the Connections UK conference when I received an email informing me that Donald Featherstone had died yesterday in hospital following a fall at home.

Don was not a young man, but he was a very active one, and his death was totally unexpected … and all the more shocking as a result. He can quite rightly be called 'The Father of Modern Wargaming' as far as the recreational side or wargaming is concerned … and he was certainly an influence of professional wargaming as well.

His passing will be deeply mourned by many people.

1918 2013

Rod MacArthur04 Sep 2013 11:23 a.m. PST

Picking up Ned's comment on the Wargamer's Newsletter, I was there at the start of that venture and contributed a couple of articles, as well as starring as "Wargamer of the Month" in an early edition. Moving around in the Army I had a clear-out and got rid of my old magazines, from Issue 1 onwards. When I later told Don he told me that collectors would have paid good money for them!!!

As some may know Don served in the Second World War in the Royal Tank Regiment as part of the 79th Armoured Division (Hobart's Funnies) with their bridgelayer tanks, flamethrower tanks etc. After the war he was a physiotherapist for the Southampton Football Club.


Tin hat04 Sep 2013 11:38 a.m. PST

Oh what a great shame. Feels like part of hobby has gone too. Rest in piece sir .

doug171704 Sep 2013 11:44 a.m. PST

Thank you, Don.

My first real wargames were with your rules.
"Battles With Model Soldiers" gave me many hours of fun.

Later when I joined a toy soldier club, they derided Don's rules as "bang yer dead" rules, and touted expensive and expansive rules that took hours to wade through. The battles were colourful, but extremely dull.

Don's rules were fun, and I spent a good deal of my adult life re-embracing the simple and satisfying rules he offered in his books.

Thank you Don.
May you always roll sixes.

Maxamillion275804 Sep 2013 11:55 a.m. PST

Rest in Peace and many good battles

freewargamesrules04 Sep 2013 11:57 a.m. PST

Am inspiration to generations. His legacy will live long within the hobby.

flipper04 Sep 2013 12:06 p.m. PST


As a teenager (perhaps 12-13) I sent Don a postal order to place an advert in wargamers newsletter for my painting service (I was pretty good for my age)- it was almost unheard of back in the early 70's to pay someone to paint figures, (but hey I was trying to earn some money!).
a few weeks later I recieved a letter with my postal order from Don saying he thought it probably would not do so well, with an aside that he paid his son sixpence a figure and it was hardly worthwhile!

He wasn't wrong – I sent the postal order back again and the add was published – I got one inquiry from an american (I am in the UK)!

'Wargames' was my first read … from the library.


Supercilius Maximus04 Sep 2013 12:14 p.m. PST

My first wargaming read was "The Wargame" by Charles Grant (snr), in the school library, followed by the series of Napoleonic articles he wrote in Military Modelling.

However, the man whose writing took me beyond that into the greater complexities of period-specific rules, campaigns, solo wargaming, and other aspects of the hobby, was The Don. His "handbook" on AWI wargaming – a little dated from the history perspective now, but the rules are still good – was the first proper wargaming book I ever bought for that period, and opened my mind to the gaming potential for that conflict.

Sadly, his son – another avid wargamer – was killed in a motor-cycle accident in the 1980s, and the obituary Don sent in to the two main UK magazines clearly showed the depth of his loss.


ToySldr04 Sep 2013 12:19 p.m. PST

I am fortunate enough to have spent many days and traveled many miles with Don. Each was memorable. He was a unique person in so many ways – so many ways even beyond what he did for wargaming. He was a man who changed his world and those about him for the better. He carried great burdens and sadness about events in his life but they never stopped him from brightening the lives of those he touched. We all have much to honor in him and still much to learn from him.

Jim Getz

hornblaeser04 Sep 2013 12:49 p.m. PST

One of the great. A true inspiration. RIP.

Deedles04 Sep 2013 12:56 p.m. PST

All I can say is thank you Don for the inspiration all those years ago


John Secker Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2013 1:00 p.m. PST

Like so many here Don's books were my introduction to wargaming. I can still remember reading Air Wargames in a bookshop in Blackburn, about 1968, and the shock of discovering that this game I had with my friends of rolling a die and knocking over some of our Airfix soldiers – that it was a real hobby, with books and rules and grown ups doing it. A truly life changing moment, in it's way – and it is odd to think that this unassuming man genuinely changed the lives of so many people.

SgtPain04 Sep 2013 1:34 p.m. PST

He was influential in our hobby and will be missed.

Katzbalger04 Sep 2013 1:43 p.m. PST

Heard him speak at Historicon (can't remember which one) and have a few of his books. A true gentleman. May he rest in peace.


hasty106604 Sep 2013 1:50 p.m. PST

Again like many others he is the reason I am a wargamer. RIP

pointyjavelin04 Sep 2013 2:16 p.m. PST

Och just heard this. Rubbish news. RIP and may you be in heaven before the Devil rolls dice for initiative……

Gaying04 Sep 2013 2:32 p.m. PST

Was luck enough to meet him once, shook his hand and thanked him for introducing me into the hobby.


Gaz004504 Sep 2013 2:58 p.m. PST

Like many here his books were my introduction to gaming – a figure that rates with H G Wells in our community , sadly missed but never forgotten.

Barks104 Sep 2013 4:23 p.m. PST

'Featherstone's complete wargaming' was a real eye-opener for me about the potentials for the hobby. RIP.

Beeker04 Sep 2013 4:47 p.m. PST

1977.. Found Peter Young's book The War Game in my elemetary school library featuring Featherstone's chapter on El Alamein.. I'm partial to Napoleonics but it was Featherstone's chapter that captured me and made this a life-long hobby.


Snowcat04 Sep 2013 5:29 p.m. PST

Thanks Don – your inspiration lasts forever.


General Jumbo04 Sep 2013 5:36 p.m. PST

He contributed to some scratch built WW1 trench dioramas my father produced during the 1950s in Southampton (6" figures).
God bless.

thehawk04 Sep 2013 5:40 p.m. PST

Rest in peace and thank you for decades of enjoyment.

I discovered War Game Campaigns and Advanced Wargames in the local technical bookshop, probably in 1970. I knew nothing of wargaming at the time and they were mind-boggling reading and still are the most treasured books I own. Let's hope Don gets a great send-off.

Who asked this joker04 Sep 2013 6:29 p.m. PST

In his honor tonight I pulled up a desert scenario in the Battle Academy computer game and took as many Churchill tanks as I could. The tanks gave a good account and hammered the Germans hard. They even took out a Tiger tank. I think Donald would be pleased with the results.

RIP. You will be missed.

capncarp04 Sep 2013 7:12 p.m. PST

Now we consign him to the same History he recreated in his games.
Bow your heads. A Name has passed into Eternity.

Personal logo COL Scott ret Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2013 8:18 p.m. PST

I imagine that, if it does not yet have one, soon heaven will have a very active wargames club.

On second thought I suspect he will be joining his fellow wargamers who preceded him. That is when they are not busy with the business of heaven.

Tarty2Ts04 Sep 2013 8:22 p.m. PST

He was responsible for getting me into wargaming also, didn't know it existed in real life until I stumbled on one of his books at the school library. Thanks Don.

Loren Wiseman04 Sep 2013 8:51 p.m. PST


Thank you, Donald Featherstone, for all you have done for us.


Loren Wiseman

Huscarle05 Sep 2013 7:40 a.m. PST

A true legend, and his legacy lives on in us all. Rest in Peace, a 'parfit gentil knight'

Timbo W05 Sep 2013 8:17 a.m. PST

RIP Don Featherstone, sad day indeed

peter johnstone Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Sep 2013 8:39 a.m. PST

When I won a history prize in 1963, I chose Don's book WAR GAMES and so when my Headmaster brought me up on stage, looked at the book, then looked at me, long and hard and finally he said 'Johnstone, you really still have a long way to go – Next!' Little did he know that actually, I had 'arrived'. Thanks Don and also for suggesting I might be interested in buying Spencer Smith Miniatures in 1982. The legacy lives on.

Youngknight Supporting Member of TMP05 Sep 2013 10:09 a.m. PST

I met Don several times when he visited Massachusetts during his tour of the US. Dick Bryant of the Courier hosted an evening with him and it was time well spent. He was genial, unassuming and could be very funny even when talking about his war experiences. Like many of you have said, I first found his books in my local library and it opened a whole new vista for me. So much of what we do in our hobby can be traced back to Don.

Someone asked earlier about getting his books into your local library. My wife is our town's library director and they always accept gifts and donations of books particularly if they are in memory of a former patron or family member. I can think of no better way to remember Don's contributions to our hobby than by donating a copy of one of his books in his memory. Rest easy, Don!

boy wundyr x05 Sep 2013 10:45 a.m. PST

Thanks Youngknight, that was me. Our library collects donated used books for sale to raise funds to buy new books, and I want to make sure anything I do doesn't end up in that pile! I'll look into donating in memory, and then pick something up with my next order from Lulu/History of Wargaming.

abert6905 Sep 2013 10:48 a.m. PST

I never met don but was very saddened to hear of his death.I like so many others borrowed his books from the library,and this inspired my interest in wargaming.The many kind words written here are a tribute to his life,I hope they bring comfort to his family.A TRUE GENTLEMAN.RIP DON.

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