A wargaming update

Today I have been writing the rules for my “Bomber” game, based on Len Deighton’s eponymous book.  It’s all coming together nicely.  The game was first played as a post-Christmas fun game in Chris Scott’s gaming room.  I am now expanding it for a weekend at the Wargames Holiday Centre. The new version is much better than the early picture below.

I also spent a little time basing some 6mm artillery pieces for my domestic campaign game set in 1702.  For these games I normally use Irregular Miniatures blocks of 3 x 6 Infantry (a company or a battalion as required) and 1 x 4 cavalry (a troop or squadron).  But I find their field artillery pieces less than adequate, so I go to Heroics and Ros for the guns.  Irregular siege guns are much better than their field pieces.

As an aside Ian Kay of Irregular Miniatures was kind enough a few years back to sculpt for me a bunch of “early 18th century routing infantry” as a marker unit, based on his ACW-Modern period models.

A Voyage Round my Father – Part 6

After a quick visit to talk to the British Columbia Aviation Museum staff (see the previous post) I set off to search for the location of this photograph of three RAF types waiting for a lift back to base. (My dad is the middle of the three.

John Dean Park

I thought I had found it, but nowadays the road junction and its signage are far less impressive.

Dean Park 01

Saanitch and Dean Park

I continued up the road towards the park, and arriving at the car park spotted someone erecting a signpost.  “Aha,” I thought, “he might be able to cast some light on the picture.”  As it happens, he was not only a local park volunteer, but has written a history of the park and the area and confirmed that I had found the correct location.  I gave him all my spare copy photo’s from Dad’s album.  He was very interested in my pilgrimage and he advised me of a short walk that I could take if I had half an hour to spare.

Walking through this ancient forest land was almost like wandering into a location for “Jurassic Park”.  I have walked through ancient woodland in England, but it is totally different to this area.  Some pictures below:

John Dean Park 01

 

On my return to the car park, the park volunteer introduced me to a passer-by, who turned out to be an ex-pat “Geordie”, whose father-in-law served at RAF Patricia Bay at the same time as my dad.  He told me that he had a copy of the squadron photograph at home, so we drove the short distance to his house and took a look at it.  We were unable to identify either of our relatives – every man being dressed near identically does not help – but it was another unexpected bonus to my trip.

But can anyone explain this?

John Dean Park 13

Why would First Nation Cultural Activities involve the use of chainsaws?  I take part in historic cultural activities, but very few involve chainsaws, even for the evening cultural campsite conviviality.

Next post – a visit to Fort Rodd.

A Voyage Around my Father – Part 4

Day three of my trip to Victoria, British Columbia.  Armed with photographs taken in 1943, some personal and some small purchased souvenir pictures, I set off with my camera around the city’s landmarks.

The first was obviously the Parliament Building.

Parliament Buildings Victoria BC

 

Totem at parliament house

In front of the Parliament Buildings is the War Memorial, seen here in 1943

War Memorial 1943

and in 2016, with the addition of 1939-45 and 1950-53.

War memorial

From there I moved on to Thunderbird Park, a small area filled with totem poles of what are now known as “First Nation” people, but which were in 1943 were referred to as Indians.  The “Patrician” of April 1943 devoted several pages to the local Indian people, including these photographs of the totems:

1943 Thunderbird Park 01.jpg

1943 Thunderbird Park 02

1943 Thunderbird Park 03.jpgMy own photographs are shown below.

The large central picture it the oldest schoolhouse on the island which. along with the First Nation house, was not yet open for the tourist season.  We have at home a wooden model of the “thunderbird” totem bought by my father.  Checking the souvenir shops I found that all modern versions are cast in resin, which somehow did not make them worthwhile buying.

The final place on my town tour was the Crystal Gardens, which in 1943 was a swimming pool, but now is part of the Victoria Conference Centre.  Again, I appear to have lost the 2016 photo, but here it is in 1943.

1943 Crystal Gardens

 

A voyage round my father – part 1

Last week I visited Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada in search of my father.

As reference material I had his photograph album, luckily in the main annotated in his copperscript hand. As a backup I had the collection of his old RAF station magazines “The Patrician” from July 1942 to February 1944.

I flew to Vancouver Airport (My ideal would have been to cruise across the Atlantic and take the Canadian Pacific Railway to Vancouver, but alas it could not be achieved.)

This picture shows why, even on the approach, I could understand my father’s wish to return to live in this beautiful place after the War.

BC ferry 06

More experiences to follow…