Donald Featherstone (wargamer)

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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.


Donald Featherstone was born on 20 March 1918 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 Featherstone 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 in the United States. Featherstone expressed disapproval of a trend towards articles "attempting to spread an aura of pseudo-science over what is a pastime".[6] In 1962, he started his own periodical, Wargamer's 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.[7] 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.[8] In 1978, Featherstone appeared on the BBC to promote the hobby.[9]

After a discussion with Paddy Griffith, Featherstone realised that wargaming as a hobby could considerably aid in understanding military history.[10]


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


  • War Games (1962) A revised edition has been printed as part of the History of Wargaming Project (see here)
  • Tackle Model Soldiers This Way, Stanley Paul, London, 1963; ISBN none issued
  • Naval War Games, Stanley Paul, London, 1965, ISBN 0-09-076581-8, Updated edition 2009[13]
  • Air War Games (1966)
  • Bowmen of England (1967)
  • At Them with the Bayonet! The First Sikh War (1968)
  • Advanced War Games, Stanley Paul, London, 1965, ISBN 0-09-087350-5, reprinted 2008
  • War Game Campaigns (1970) reprinted 2009[14]
  • Battles with Model Soldiers (1970)
  • Military Modelling (1970)
  • MacDonald of the 42nd (1971)
  • Poitiers 1356: Knight's Battles for Wargamers (1972)
  • War Games through the Ages: Vol. 1 3000BC-1500AD, Stanley Paul, 1972; ISBN 0-09-110240-5
  • All for a Shilling a Day, New English Library, 1973; ISBN 978-1846771965. Reprinted 2007
  • Solo Wargaming, Kaye & Ward, London 1973; ISBN 0 7182 0921 4. Reprinted 2009
  • Tank battles in miniature: A wargamers' guide to the Western Desert Campaign in 1940-1942[permanent dead link] (1973)
  • Battle Notes for Wargamers, David & Charles, 1973; ISBN 0-7153-6310-7 Revised 2011
  • War Games through the Ages: Vol. 2 1420-1783, Stanley Paul, 1974; ISBN 0-09-118760-5
  • War Games through the Ages: Vol. 3 1792-1879, Stanley Paul, 1975; ISBN 0-09-121250-2
  • Skirmish Wargaming, Patrick Stephens Limited, 1975; ISBN 0-85059-197-X; new edition 2009
  • Wargaming: Ancient and Medieval Periods. David & Charles, UK, 1975; ISBN 0-7153-6939-3. Hippocrene Books, USA, 1975. ISBN 0-88254-353-9.
  • War Games through the Ages: Vol. 4 1861-1945 (1976)
  • Wargaming Airborne Operations. Kaye & Ward, 1975, ISBN 0-7182-1172-3, reprinted 2009
  • Wargaming Pike and Shot (1977)Revised 2010
  • Better Military Modelling (1977)
  • Tank battles in miniature: A wargamers' guide to Mediterranean Campaigns 1943-1945. Patrick Stephens Limited, 1977; ISBN 0-85059-275-5
  • Featherstone's Complete Wargaming, David & Charles, 1989; ISBN 0-7153-9262-X
  • Victoria's Enemies: An A-Z of British Colonial Warfare (1989)
  • The Peninsular War, Argus Books, 1991; ISBN 1 85486 028 3
  • Victorian Colonial Warfare: Africa, from the Campaigns Against the Kaffirs to the South African War (1992)
  • Victorian Colonial Warfare: India: From the Conquest of Sind to the Indian Mutiny, 1992; ISBN 0-304-34172-X
  • Khartoum 1885: General Gordon's last stand (1993)
  • Tel El-Kebir 1882 : Wolseley's Conquest of Egypt (1993)
  • The History of the English Longbow (1993)
  • Omdurman 1898 : Kitchener's victory in the Sudan (1994)
  • Weapons and Equipment of the Victorian Soldier (1996)
  • Redcoats for the Raj, Valda Publishing, UK, 1996; ISBN 0-9526861-0-4
  • Warriors and Warfare in Ancient and Medieval Times (1997)
  • Khaki & Red: Soldiers of the Queen in India and Africa (1997)
  • Bridges of Battle: Famous Battlefield Actions at Bridges and River Crossings (1999)
  • Bowmen of England (2003)
  • The Battlefield Walker's Handbook (2005)
  • Donald Featherstone's Lost Tales (2009) ISBN 978-1-4092-9431-3
  • Donald Featherstone's The Badgered Men: A novel describing the life of the Victorian cavalry man at the time of the First Sikh War 1845-1846 (2011) ISBN 9781470944018
  • Donald Featherstone's Wargaming Commando Operations: (2013) ISBN 9781291398915


  1. ^ a b Newsletter, Archived December 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ History of Wargaming Project[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Obituary for Tony Bath
  4. ^ Wargamer's Newsletter, March 1974, p. 23.
  5. ^ Donald Featherstone's Lost Tales Volume 1
  6. ^ "Hobby or military exercise".
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ 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
  9. ^ Timeline of the Historical Miniatures Wargaming Hobby
  10. ^ Donald Featherstone's Lost Tales (2009); ISBN 978-1-4092-9431-3, pp 173-174
  11. ^ Notice of death of Donald Featherstone Archived September 21, 2013, at the Wayback Machine,
  12. ^ Donald Featherstone - obituary, The Telegraph
  13. ^ Naval War Games, History of Wargaming Project[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ War Game Campaigns, History of Wargaming Project Archived July 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine

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