Monday, 11 July 2016

Tony Dillon at the Wargames Holiday Centre, Youtube footage.

Tony Dillon, has very kindly sent me recorded footage of his visits to Peter Gilder's Wargames Holiday Centre, with a small explanation to go with the footage.

When I went to see the Basingstoke re-incarnation of the Wargames Holiday Centre a couple of years ago I gave the new proprietor Mark Freeth a copy of the various videos that I’d taken of the WHC since fist going in the early 80’s. I have no footage of the first premises at Bridgefoot House which was a smaller setup altogether but I took video footage of most of my games at Folkton.
It should be pointed out that the video was recorded 30+ years ago and therefore before digital cameras became the norm. I have had several video tape cameras over the years, some with full size VHS cassettes and others with a smaller format cartridge. These tapes have been transferred onto my VHS tapes and more recently digitised so that they can be played on my computer.
This accounts for some of the dodgy quality of the sound and inability to focus accurately. I’m afraid that my mumbling in the background doesn’t help matters as I try to explain what’s going on in the games.
Several wargamimg worthies make an appearance including the great man himself Peter Gilder, Pete Morebey of Elite Miniatures, Doug Mason whose excellent conversions and painted figures graced so many wargames magazines and also Mark Allen, another superb painter and modeller.
The tape opens in 1986, I think, and shows members of the Ladywood Club from Birmingham playing with a Russian/Austrian Prussian army against a French and Allies army. This was a re-fight but a made up scenario involving the forcing of a river crossing. I played with Russian figures and was on the left hand flank.
Pete Gilder appears at 2.19 and acknowledges that “I was there sir!” I’m not sure what accent he is putting on but it is amusing. Throughout the video you can hear PG explain the rules and how they should be applied. He was present for long periods of time when the games were on which allowed played to seek clarification on any points raised by the players.
At 3.39 Doug Mason appears sporting a beard. I’d know Doug since his time in Birmingham where he’d been a regular member of the Ladywood club and already had a reputation s an outstanding painter and modeller. I have some examples of his work in my collection and always admire the attention to detail that he put in to each figure.
I appear in camera at 4.06 in case you want to know what I look like. I was much younger then and had more hair. My scouse accent was still fairly strong in case you’re wondering what I’m saying.
At 7.01 Doug explains his successful tactics on the right hand flank in his own confident style.
The battle continues to rage over the first day. It’s noticeable that there are many different makes of figures out on the table including Minifigs, Hinchliffe and Connoisseur.
The room was quiet on the Sunday morning so I stood on a stool to film the whole table. This gives an idea of the size of the games at the WHC and the marvellous terrain and buildings available.
Marshal Victor with a broad Scottish brogue makes his views known regarding how the game is going for the French. If I remember correctly the French lost this one as can be seen by the face on the player who was Napoleon.
23 Mins shows another game (Austerlitz) is starting. Peter is ensuring that the correct figures are available to the players. The hardboard tiles used for initial/hidden movement are visible as is Peter Morebey of Elite Miniatures fame.
Excuse the section where a chap discusses Coronary Heart Disease but as mentioned above the various videos where copied and recopied over many years before being uploaded onto YouTube.
34 mins a young Mark Allen appears. He was very ill that weekend and had just delivered some excellent Austrian Cavalry figures to Peter.
The footage of this game is all rather brief which suggests that I was too busy to do much filming.

There are a few moments at the end of the upload that show the Battle of Leipzig being started but it ends abruptly. I have another hour or so of footage of the WHC that hasn’t been uploaded onto YouTube yet as this cover the Mike Ingham era rather than Peter Glider’s.


  1. Doesn't everyone look so young! Mark Allen with hair!

  2. Fascinating video. The WHC sure puts my little games to shame!

    1. I wouldnt worry Chris, Peter Gilder was all about inspiring wargamers, paint some more troops.

  3. Oh I remember being the wrong side of Tony's video camera!

    1. Dave,
      You seem to be a bit like Forest Gump, youre everywhere.

  4. Mark had just delivered some Austrian cavalry figures to the WHC. Peter is seen opening the box concerned . I've never seen these figures again but they included a dismounted Austrian cuirassier adjusting his stirrups. Mark was proper poorly over that weekend.

    1. Its nice to know that wargamers can remember the occasion.

  5. I went to Thornton in late 70s the games were played on an L shaped table and was there that I first encountered the dreaded pin bayonets and swords you had to give those figures respect or feel the pain

    1. I never could master the steel pin technique. I always admired wargamers who could. I am certain Doug that you have some forgotten photographs and anecdotes that should be on here. You were one of Peter's main painters.