It is of great sadness that we learnt of John’s death in July (2007). He had extensive knowledge of both ships and modelmaking which he was more than willing to share. He was a good friend to this site always willing to share his extensive knowledge of both ships and models. All who knew him describe a charming gentleman who was generous both in knowledge and in spirit. The 1/1200 scale society is poorer with his going. Over the last few years it was a pleasure to correspond with John. His great enthusiasm was catching. One of his final projects was to create all the ships involved in the famous Pedestal Convoy, which relieved Malta in August 1942. In 2004 I asked him to write a small piece about how he got started. I am pleased that he agreed:
‘How did I get started on this nutty hobby?
Firstly by Modelcraft Plans from Bonds of Euston Road. I had an Uncle who while serving in Egypt somehow got a plan for H.M.S. Revenge. The war was only over by a few months and he made the model, sent it and the plan home. I can remember my Mum going into Hobbys in London to get fret saw blades to send him. Later Gamages, (Where you could buy everything from a Lancaster Bomber to a Dingy) sold masses of surplus stuff 1ncluding Basset Lowke recognition models in 1/1200 at about two shillings for a Battleship and about six pence for a Destroyer. I remember my uncle buying a model of the Warspite for me in mint condition still in its original box.
From there on it was the slippery slope; I bought every Modelcraft Ship plan I could afford although they were 50:1. Then came Eaglewall, Triang and so on. Met the Farther of 1/1200 in U.K. Tony James, Kelvin Holmes and Martin Brown. We all did a bit for the 1/1200 magazine Broadside.
Later Len Jordan, Steve Cracknell and Brian Robinson came on the scene. Having to retire five years early I converted a couple of Lens Castings to armed merchants, these I took to Theale and putting them on Kelvin’s table said, “If anyone is interested in these flog them for me.
Bernd Schwarz of G/M was interested, and I even sold a couple of Ships!
Models No SR are conversions of Lens castings; SRs are from my own Masters.’
LEFT My favourite example of John’s work – HMS Jervis Bay – as Armed Merchant Cruiser, after she had been repainted back to her civilian colours as her AMC livery of grey made her too readily identified her as an Armed Merchant Cruiser. It was in this livery that she was sunk as the sole escort of the Halifax – Clyde convoy by the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer in October 1940.
Below : two slide shows giving further examples of John's work.