Friends from home, academia, wargaming, and the military gathered to celebrate the life, work and impact of Paddy Griffith in a memorial gathering at Sandhurst earlier this month. Reminiscences were made from school friends and flatmates, wargamers and historians. Reflections were offered on his key position, both in the establishment of War Studies within the military, and of history within wargaming. A very influential career. Paddy Griffith knew everyone.
(6th November 2010)
There was a ritual gathering of WDers beforehand … food and drink, a toast to absent friends, and the hats came out … and came off. In memory of a maverick spirit.
More formally, at the Royal Military Academy, we listened to Duncan Andersen, John Curry, Andy Callan and others celebrating the career and the personality … this was done in segments fitted around the Waterloo episode of the of Game of War (Angela Rippon, Ian Dickie’s waistcoat, Farrar-Hockley ‘sacking’ Grouchy – it had everything, including the famously matching Harman/Griffith knitwear …)..
The Society of Ancients announced that it had awarded Paddy the 2010 John Westwood Trophy in recognition of his contribution to military history and historical wargaming.
The tribute wargame, of course, was Operazione Herkules at Duxford … as well as the report here (Phil Steele), see reports by Tim Gow, Paul Elton (on Tim’s blog) and Bob Cordery. I hope there will continue to be a relationship with IWM.
Through the games and events, many old acquaintances have been renewed, and many of have had the opportunity to reflect on where we have gone over 30 years (and why and how we got there).
I remember well the TV series Game of War … and how we thought it a missed opportunity. But it was illuminating to see it again. I must say it has worn quite well. We are much more used to news readers talking to generals and pundits over maps and military projections these days. Yes, of course it would have been better with toy soldiers and proper rules (but most TV producers aren’t wargamers, and will always know best) … then again, Harman and Griffith would not have been best to lead the line on that one. For a reminder, Bob Cordery posted this towards the end of last year. Thanks, Bob.
Wargaming the Griffith way always seemed adventurous and unpredictable … it didn’t always work, but you generally felt better informed by giving it a go. It has taken us forward (albeit somewhat grudgingly at times, and without true recognition in some quarters). I hope that legacy will last.
Paddy’s Funeral was reported on Ancients on the Move (Manchester, 9th July)