Stuart was already a keen wargamer by the time of his marriage in 1966. Like so many of us he seems to have started with Airfix ACW armies, but in 1967 he discovered the book Charge!, by Lawford and Young, and essentially never looked back. I have lost count of the number of times he has told me that that particular book would always be his favourite, and the rules within were the ones he most enjoyed playing. Many of our games on his 6' x 3' dining table were fought with stripped down versions of the Charge! rules.
Sadly, the cut-throat world of publishing saw both the above magazines stopped in 2000. This was a considerable blow to Stuart - his own words from 2016 demonstrate the consequences:
"Suddenly my wife and I had no income and a mortgage on a large London town house still to pay. So for about 5 years I was at a low ebb with the hobby. I gave away all my 25mm figures; my terrain boards, formerly belonging to Terry Wise, went to the tip. I thought I was selling my books, but the buyer defaulted on payment..."
Temporarily disillusioned with the hobby, Stuart moved to Northleach in the Cotswolds, and for about 5 years did little or no wargaming, until gamers from the nearby Cirencester Wargames Club brought him back into the fold. He rebuilt his collection as his painting mojo returned, maintaining a prodigious output of excellent figures, and we met a few years later.
Stuart was always an Old School wargamer. Mainly he was a strictly historical gamer, but he was also dismissive of those committed to pedantic detail. He was a firm believer in simple rules - he said my Honours of War rules made his brain hurt! As for figures, it was the 25-30mm 'Willie' figures of Edward Suren and the work of Charles Stadden which particularly inspired him, right through his wargaming life. He was never shy of calling his beautifully painted collection 'the toys'.
When I first met him, Stuart was still bubbling with ideas for games that would get his collection out on the table. I treasure the memories of the gentlemanly and relaxing games we played together, when winning hardly mattered and the pre- and post-game discussion would include ideas for the future and stories from the past. You can get the flavour of those games from the posts HERE, HERE and HERE. Those were days when my wall calendar was graced with entries such as 'Wargame with Stuart' or 'Stuart - Black Cat Cafe'. Now I have had to make a final and very sad entry - 'Stuart's Funeral'.
The photo below shows Stuart, with his friends Steve Gill and Phil Olley, on 1st September this year awarding prizes at the Cotswold Wargaming Day held in Northleach. His last wargaming event. As usual, everyone was keen to speak to him, and he always had something interesting to say.
I'm going to miss that guy. Stuart is survived by his charming wife and three children. My sincerest condolences to any of his family who may read this. We have lost a giant of the hobby - rest in peace my friend.