Donald Featherstone

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

18 Comments on “Donald Featherstone”

  1. Met him a couple of times back in the 70s. I thought of him then as an old man, he was younger than I am now!

    Perspectives change with time. He'll be missed.

  2. arthur1815 says:

    Bob, that is sad news.

    But Don's place in the history of wargaming is assured, and his books will remain to keep his memory alive, so he will never be forgotten by the hobby he did so much to establish and promote.

    One of his books inspired me to begin wargaming, so I am forever in his debt.


  3. Conrad Kinch says:

    He was a great man and though I suspect a little prickly, he was full of small kindnesses.

    I treasure the carefully type written letter he sent in response to mine.

    He will be missed.

  4. Lee Hadley says:

    A true 'great' of the hobby. His series Tank Battles in Miniature is for me some of the best wargaming books on armoured warfare I have ever read. Not surprising given his service in the Royal Armoured Corps during the war.

  5. Steven Page says:

    I was visiting Chickamauga Battlefield twenty-five years ago, and heard a distinctly English accent in the visitors center, looked up and there was Donald Featherstone talking to one of the attendant Rangers. He was amazed that I recognized him. I was “star-struck” and babbled about reading his articles in Military Modeller and the Courier. He was very kind to my daughter and I, and I will never forget our happy encounter. I,too owe him for so many gaming ideas…

  6. Jim Duncan says:

    A great man and a great wargamer.

    He will be sadly missed.

  7. nic101 says:

    Very sad news,his War Games was the first wargaming book I read. Forty-two years later and I'm as enthusiastic as ever – not a bad legacy.

    He's up there now with Reisswitz and Wells – what a wargaming convention that'll be!

  8. TamsinP says:

    It was accidentally finding one of his books in the library when I was 10 or 11 that got me into wargaming.

    A great man who will be sorely missed.

  9. Don M says:

    A sad day for the hobby, I always loved his Solo Wargaming book in particular.
    If immortality is measured by the lives you touch, he will indeed live on for many years to come.

  10. A very sad day, Bob – but a life lived to the full in service to his country and through which he inspired us all.

  11. Thanks to all of you for your comments.

    Donald's death was a shock, even though he was not a young man. He had been around for so long that he seemed to be immortal. Our memories of Don and the work that he did are his legacy, and every modern wargamer owes him a massive debt of gratitude.

    All the best,


  12. CoastConFan says:

    Don Featherstone spanned nearly a century of gaming and pretty much got in on the ground floor of “modern” gaming. His introduction of gaming into the mainstream exposed many people to gaming, gathering a fresh crop over the decades into what was once an obscure and faintly ridiculous (to outsider’s perception) pastime of grown men playing with toys. Mr. Featherstone’s professionalism and tenacity helped make gaming respectable by both mainstream society, historians, and the military. I salute him and all those early gamers from decades past.

  13. Jim Duncan says:

    I have it on good authority that of the original 20 wargamers who attended the first British wargames convention in 1961 Donald Featherstone was the last survivor.

  14. Jim Duncan,

    That would not surprise me at all.

    All the best,


  15. Chris says:

    Some years ago, my wife tagged along on a trip to Historicon, a huge convention held every July in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. While I was busy converting gold into lead, she was relaxing next to the pool, and struck up a conversation with a very pleasant English gentleman. When he introduced himself as Don Featherstone, my wife replied, “Oh, I think my husband may have heard of you.”

    Indeed. The last few years have seen the giants of the hobby slipping away, like gold pieces. They all will be missed, Don perhaps more than most.

    Best regards,


  16. Chris,

    What a lovely story … and from what I can gather, very typical of Don.

    As long as we remember him and continue to read his books, he will still be with us.

    All the best,


  17. As someone who worked with him closely for the last decade reprinting his books, I only heard him say one harsh thing about any body. He was pleasure to have worked with.

  18. John Curry,

    The more I hear about Don, the more I realise that he was one of nature's gentlemen.

    All the best,


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