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Friday, 15 December 2017

Eric Knowles RIP

Last night I was informed by David Crook that Eric Knowles had died at the age of 91 years.

Eric was one of the early modern British wargamers, and took part in the famous re-fight of the Battle of Waterloo at the Duke of York's Headquarters alongside Donald Featherstone, Neville Dickinson et al.


On his retirement from working for the 'Daily Mirror' newspaper he set up a wargame shop in Manor Park in East London called the NEW MODEL ARMY (formerly WALL MODELS), and it was during a visit to his shop that I got to know him. Eventually he invited me to join the small group of wargamers who met regularly in the shop's basement to play wargames, foremost amongst these being the famous MADASAHATTA campaign.


I visited Eric's house several times, and his family were always extremely welcoming. His home seemed to be full of wargames figures, and it was reputed that they even occupied space in the airing cupboard!

After the shop closed and Eric moved away to Lincolnshire, I managed to see him a couple of times at wargame shows, and he still had a very lively mind and an active interest in wargaming. I understand that in later years he became a guide for visitors to the RAF's 'Battle of Britain' flight, and I am sure that he would have proven to be an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable one.

It is true to say that without Eric's encouragement and advice I would not be the wargamer that I am today. He will be greatly missed by his many friends as well as his family.

Eric Knowles RIP

14 comments:

  1. Sad to see another of The Old Guard departing , RIP .

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    Replies
    1. The Good Soldier Svjek,

      It is a very sad day indeed.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Hi Bob,

    They don’t make them like that anymore.

    Very well put and I echo the sentiments of the last two lines of your post.

    All the best,

    DC

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    Replies
    1. David Crook,

      Because I knew Eric, he probably had more direct influence on my development as a wargamer than any of the other Britush wargaming pioneers. Furthermore, without Eric we wouldn’t have met all those years ago ... and look at what we’ve done as a result.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  3. I visited the shop using a red bus rover ticket and the Woolich ferry. I remember buying some Minifigs ECW and a copy of the Bayonet ECW rules from him. I still have the rules.

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    Replies
    1. Mark Dudley,

      I wonder how many other wargamers of a certain age have similar tales to tell... and how sad it is that shops like Eric’s have almost completely disappeared.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  4. Coming up with a land called Madasahatta has a strong claim to war gaming immortality.

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    Replies
    1. Archduke Piccolo,

      Eric's campaign inspired my interest in Colonial wargaming in general, and imagi-nations in particular.

      Madasahatta was an inspired choice of name, especially as it was supposed to be located not far from Madagascar.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  5. Fallen comrades seems to be becoming an increasing theme as the years go by but each remains a sad loss to friends and family and the community.

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    Replies
    1. Ross Mac,

      I am now of an age when I go to far more funerals than I do weddings or Christenings, and it makes one realise how important it is to make a positive difference to the lives to those who know you.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. Joining that "wargaming the regiment in the sky" .. Gone West as the RFC flyers used to say of fallen comrades
    RIP

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    Replies
    1. Geordie an Exile FoG,

      If such a place exists, Eric will be in the NCO's mess, propping up the bar, and sharing his wisdom ... and especially his opinions about young 'Ruperts'. He'll then sidle over to the nearby wargames tables and organise the biggest and best tabletop battle you ever saw!

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  7. Dear Bob,

    Sorry to hear that Eric has died.

    Regards, Chris

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    Replies
    1. Chris,

      He was one of the 'originals', and his influence on the development of wargaming in the UK was much appreciated by those who knew him. Its just a great pity that he was not as well known as some of the others.

      All the best,

      Bob

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