Donald Featherstone (wargamer)

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This article is about the British author of books on wargaming and military history. For other notable people named Donald Featherstone, see Donald Featherstone.
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Donald F. Featherstone (20 March 1918 – 3 September 2013) was a British author of more than forty books on wargaming and military history.

Featherstone was born in London.[1] and during the Second World War, he joined the Royal Armoured Corps. An account of his war experiences can be found in his book Lost Tales.[2] Professionally a physiotherapist living in Southampton,[1] Featherstone was first introduced to wargaming by reading H. G. Wells' Little Wars and his first opponent was his brother. His second opponent was Tony Bath many years later in 1955. His wife saw a description of a solo wargame being played in Southampton by Tony Bath and Don then got in touch.[3][4][5]

Tackle Model Soldiers This Way 1963

In 1960 the two of them began editing the UK version of the War Game Digest, a seminal wargaming newsletter started by Jack Scruby. Featherstone expressed disapproval of a trend towards articles "attempting to spread an aura of pseudo-science over what is a pastime".[6]

After a discussion with Paddy Griffith, Featherstone realised that wargaming as a hobby could considerably aid in understanding military history.[7] He started his own periodical in 1962, the Wargamers' Newsletter. He produced this each month without a gap, with 214 editions until January 1980.

In 1961, he organised the first UK wargames convention at his home in Southampton.[8] Two years later he organized the first National Wargames Championships Convention at a local hotel which was attended by about a hundred wargamers from all over the country.
In 1977 he was one of the founder members of the British Commission for Military History.[9]
Featherstone appeared on the BBC in 1978 to promote the hobby.[10]


Donald Featherstone died on 3 September 2013, aged 95, from complications following a fall at home.[11][12]



  1. ^ a b Newsletter,
  2. ^ History of Wargaming Project
  3. ^ Obituary for Tony Bath
  4. ^ Wargamer's Newsletter, March 1974, p. 23.
  5. ^ Donald Featherstone's Lost Tales Volume 1
  6. ^
  7. ^ Donald Featherstone's Lost Tales (2009); ISBN 978-1-4092-9431-3, pp 173-174
  8. ^ It was attended by almost every known wargamer in the UK at that time, including Tony Bath, Charles Grant, Stan Aspinall, Bill Mell, Ted Suren, David Chandler, Brigadier Peter Young DSC, MC
  9. ^ Observation made in 2008 for Featherstone’s 90th Birthday : “I suspect that Don Featherstone has had a greater influence on amateur – and even professional – military history and historians in this country than many would suspect or acknowledge.” Editor of the British Commission for Military History Newsletter Mars & Clio
  10. ^ Timeline of the Historical Miniatures Wargaming Hobby
  11. ^ Notice of death of Donald Featherstone,
  12. ^ Donald Featherstone - obituary, The Telegraph
  13. ^ Naval War Games, History of Wargaming Project
  14. ^ War Game Campaigns, History of Wargaming Project