Tuesday 19 November 2019

Farewell Stuart Asquith

So, on Monday 18th November, I attended the funeral of Stuart Asquith. There was a beautiful service at Cheltenham Crematorium, when heartfelt and moving tributes from two of Stuart's children allowed us an insight into the much loved husband, father and grandfather. There was also a speech from Charles S. Grant, who explained how Stuart's 'life in wargaming' was so significant to thousands of wargaming enthusiasts worldwide.

We then proceeded to the wake. At the family's request I had set up a display intended to reflect Stuart's wargaming hobby, as well as his love for toy soldier collecting. On one side a stylised Napoleonic wargame, on the other his magnificent toy castle ('Castle Stuart') surrounded by some (in fact, less than half) of his astonishing collection of Britain's figures.

The castle was actually a gift from Charles S. Grant from many years ago, and one of Stuart's prized possessions.

Just a couple of close ups of the 30mm wargaming figures, which exemplified Stuart's wonderful painting style which brought out the colour and drama of the Napoleonic uniforms.

Wakes are funny things. You are there to grieve and remember, but (particularly with someone like Stuart who was so loved by his family and was such a dear friend to so many others), you also celebrate a life. And so I hope a few smiles will be excused. 

Wargamers and cake? Who'd have thought it.
We both knew Stuart would have approved. Myself and Dave Ryan.

The photo above shows the wargaming contingent of the gathered mourners. Sadly, Charles Grant couldn't make it to the wake as he had to fly back to Scotland the same day (via Amsterdam, as the schedules would have it). The very fact that he had made it to the funeral at all was evidence of his great determination to be present.

Left to right:
  • John Curry, History of Wargaming project.
  • Some wargamer much smaller than John Curry.
  • Roy Boss, President of the Society of Ancients.
  • Phil Olley, well known proprietor of the 'Classic Wargaming' and 'Phil's War Cabinet' blogs.
  • Dave Ryan, owner of Caliver Books and Partizan Press
  • Henry Hyde, who hardly needs any introduction.
And so we went our separate ways, and the figures were tidied away. I was honoured to have been invited and to make some small contribution to the event. Stuart was a great inspiration to so many wargamers and a great ambassador of the hobby. He was also a great pleasure to know. He will be sorely missed.


Der Alte Fritz said...

Nicely done Kieth, a fitting tribute to Stuart.

Unknown said...

Keith, once again, thank you for your kind words and help yesterday. We did dad proud.

Fitz-Badger said...

What a great tribute! And cake!
I do like the idea of celebrating a life (and mourning the loss).

Peter Douglas said...

Great tribute. Looks like you sent Stuart off in style.

marinergrim said...

A nice tribute to a much mourned loss to the hobby.

Steve J. said...

I'm glad the service was a fitting tribute to Stuart and a celebration of a life well lived. A touching tribute to have his wonderful looking figures on display at the wake. Gone but not forgotten.

Jonathan Freitag said...

Fitting tribute to your fallen friend.

Ross Mac said...

Thanks for posting this Keith. If my friends gather when my time comes, I hope there will be some smiles and good memories for them to share.

Sounds like a very fitting wake. His memory and legacy will live on.

WimVdB said...

Thank you for sharing the pictures.
I never met Mr. Asquith (I live in Belgium), only own a few books of him, which I like a lot.

Mumbles Cafe said...

Thaanks great post