Saturday, 27 February 2016

Mark Rowles RIP

The purpose of this post is to celebrate the life of Aussie wargamer, and all round good bloke, Mark Rowles, a wargaming mate of mine. I hope it will also inform wider Australian wargaming community of the loss of one of its nicest members.

Mark (nearest camera) at the Albuera 200th game at the Goulburn Soldiers Club, 2011
- he was responsible for the gorgeous terrain.

Mark Rowles went missing in February of last year, so the news earlier this month that his body was finally found and identified has given his family and friends a sense of closure.

Mark, 3rd from left, at my 50th in 2014. Mate, I'm so glad you came along!
Mark, on the left, dishing out the craic!

Mark suffered from Parkinson's disease, a debilitating condition for anyone, but particularly frustrating for a wargamer, modeller and painter. Not that he ever allowed it to get him down!

Here are some quotes from some of his other wargaming buddies. Of course most shared a sense of relief that we, and more importantly his family, finally had answers:

Sad but at least there has been closure for his family.

It is a sad outcome but I hope this will bring some peaceful resolve to Mark’s parents and family.

Sad news, but as you say, I’m sure not knowing was a living hell for his family.

Mark next to his best mate John at a big double table game - you can tell the far table is the one he did the terrain for!

There were some comments about his terrain skills. Perhaps Mark was compensating, after ceasing modelling and painting, in the incredible attention to detail and effort he would put in when asked to lay on the terrain for one of our games :

I was sometimes a bit nervous when he'd offer to set up the wargames table because he was an absolute stickler for realistic terrain. This involved chopping up lots of foam and spreading grass mats over the top - the room would look like an operating theatre until the dust settled. It was always worth the effort though and we had some lovely looking games as a result of his dedication. He will be missed.

The foam terrain was unforgettable, but always looked amazing.
Mark's terrain for our Mius River 1943 game

Mark's trademark teddy bear fur base cloth for our Albuera game

Everyone commented on what good company and a standout bloke he was:

I remember Mark as a generous friend, who made light of his hardships and was cheerful nevertheless - a genuinely good bloke.

Mark was a jovial and easy-going character and his loss will be keenly felt. I hope he is now at peace.
Mark, 3rd from left, pondering his next killer move...
Mark was also remembered, even by wargaming standards, as knowledgeable and well read in military history: 

Mark was a knowledgeable and engaging man to talk history or play games with.
Personally, I well remember his polite shock that I had not yet read George M Nipe's Decision in the Ukraine - something I hastened to put right! My fondest recollection is when he told me about his younger days, cycling around the Waterloo battlefields, although I think WW2 tied with Napoleonics for his affections. Either way, it had to be large scale - a man after my own heart!

So lets remember Mark as a gentleman, in the traditional sense of the term. Courteous, generous, knowledgeable without being opinionated, always enthusiastic and quietly courageous in tackling his personal challenges.

Attention on the upper deck - face to port and salute - Mark Rowles!


  1. Sorry to hear the sad loss of a fellow gamer ,he will be rolling dice with Featherstone and Grant in Wargaming Valhalla , Tony

  2. Sad new. he was a gentleman. May he find peace.

  3. I offer my sincere condolences to his family and friends. May he be granted God's peace in Heaven.

  4. Yes a true Gentleman, he will be sorely missed, his 1/72 WW1 collection was immense, he taught me how to play Canvas Eagles, and was a big supporter of the Goulburn Valiant Stormers and my mini conventions that I run there.

    I do remember the Albuera game that you guys put on at the Australian Napoleonic Congress, it was super impressive terrain, his teddy bear fur tables were excellent example of what can be done with a drop cloth.


    1. Thanks Matt - I know we always enjoyed our visits to the Goulburn VS club, and yes, he was always happy to share his knowledge.

  5. Sadly will be missed I had a long conversation with him last time I saw him at HOH.He was really feeling the loss of Ross

  6. A true Gentleman Gamer, so sad to hear of his passing.

  7. I never knew Mark which sounds like my loss. I trust he is at peace.

    von peter himself

  8. Thank you all for your thoughtful words and memories, Gentlemen.