In the Beginning ...
Tunbridge Wells Wargames Society was formed at the end of the 1960's by our Founder and Life President George Gush, on the left in the middle photo below. We meet in the wargaming room at his home in Tunbridge Wells. Many of our current members joined in the early years of the Society and have, with occasional absences due to work commitments, been members throughout that time. The Society has maintained a steady and healthy Membership and regularly attracts new members in all age groups.
As the number of members outgrew the space we moved over the years via various locations in the area to our current venue in Speldhurst Village Hall, where we have been since 3rd August 1997.
… 50 years and still going strong
In 2018 The Society celebrated the fact that we had been going strong for 50 years. We are one of the oldest, if not THE OLDEST, wargames societies in the United Kingdom. To mark the occasion a new logo was created for the Society by Henry Hyde; the logo is very similar to that which was put together many years ago to go on the cover for our magazine, Rank and File, which we produced for many years before the age of the internet.
We also honoured our founder by the creation of the George Gush Trophy for our Painting Competition, which will be awarded to the overall winner each year, to be displayed at the member's home until the following year’s competition is concluded.
... OK then, what DO we do ??
We are a group of individuals of differing backgounds, brought together initially by our common interest in table top battles using "toy soldiers". This was way back at the beginning. The Society grew from its origins in George's attic to meet regularly in a local church hall. As we grew other styles of game became available, including board games, not just with a military background, but allowing us to have a light hearted evening game. One typical game was Junta, where all present were trying to "stab each other in the back".
Over the years the size of the Society has grown, as has the availability of all sorts of new models, games and historical information that we could only dream of back in the early days. One aspect of our hobby that may be overlooked is that it also involves the development of other skills in the realm of model-making and painting figures and models for use on the table top. Where we started with a paintbrush and some (usually) Humbrol enamel paints, there are now a wide range of paint manufacturers and the medium used has evolved and the use of acrylic paints is widespread. Many people now also make use of an airbrush which can be used just for the initial paint covering or, in practised hands, provide intricate camouflage patterns.
One of the great attractions of attending the meetings is the fact that we can exchange tips about aspects of our hobby, be it painting, applying transfers to models, the inaccuracy of new releases from some manufacturers who cannot have tried to assemble them before they sell them to us! It is nice to just sit round with a coffee and have a chat and reminisce about "the Good Old Days" !
Many of us may think we are still 18, but creaking joints prove otherwise; however we have a large number of new younger members, who actively participate in our activities and regularly place entries in our Painting Competition.
The overall balance in "how" we enjoy our hobby has changed over the years: In the old days we were almost exclusively playing games on a table with 20mm model soldiers, converted often from Airfix figures. Nowadays, you can get nearly anything that you want to use in your table top battle, be it Ancient, Napoleonic, Fantasy, etc. Where we had one scale there are now dozens. We also now play many more games not involving models but on a game board. Some of these are quick games to fill in half an hour at the end of a meeting, others start in the morning and go on till the end of the meeting.
The general ethos of the Society is non-competitive, though we do on occasion hold light-hearted tournaments. Over the years members have coalesced into groups of players who tend to play together, though these groups do not restrict themselves to any particular periods or set of rules. Many of the members have overlapping interests, so there is also a exchange of players between the groups. As a Society we do not organise competitions and tournaments, which enables us to keep a friendly and informal atmosphere at our meetings. Many of our games involve several players on each side, reflecting our social side and lack of competitive drive. Even a game with just two players will attract plenty of onlookers ready and willing to provide "helpful advice".
We are a friendly Society playing games across all periods and scales, including Board games, some with a military connection. You do not need to have collections of figures or models to become a member of the Society. If you are interested in any aspect of the hobby and are interested in learning more, come along to one of our meetings.
If you are interested in more background you can read a copy of an article from Miniature Wargames Magazine from May 2021 by downloading it here:
The Society decided in 2009 that following our Open Day, Cavalier, we would make a regular donation to the Charity Combat Stress, which helps our Veterans and ex-service personnel. We also operate a Charity book stall at our meetings, where donated books raise money for the cause.
Following Cavalier in 2019 a donation of £500 has been made, bringing our total donations to date to around £5000. A further donation of £250 was made during 2020.
For more information about the work of the Combat Stress charity please visit their website at:
The Society meets twice per month at the Village Hall in Speldhurst. The postcode for Satnav users is
Access by public transport on a Sunday is regrettably non-existent, but arrangements can be made for lifts.
If you click on the following link, this will open Google Maps, centred on the location.
Occasionally we become aware of local disruption to roads around our area which could affect getting to Speldhurst. If we do find such information, details are shown on our Meetings Page.
There are normally about 6 to 10 games going on, and there will usually be an opportunity to join one of these if you arrive early on before the battle gets started.
We hold a painting competition during the meetings held on the first Sunday of the month, allowing members to display their latest work. The winners at the end of each year are awarded prizes in the form of vouchers which can be spent at Cavalier, our annual Open Day.
See the Painting Competition page for more details.
The games at the meetings are generally set up informally between groups of members who regularly play wargames together. We have groups of members who specialise in specific periods or themes such as the Ancient World, Napoleonic, American Civil War, World War 2, as well as Naval warfare in all periods, where we have a relatively large number of players compared to other societies. As members change and the "setting" for favourite games changes, so does the profile. Follow the link in the sidebar to the Games We Play page showing the rules sets and games we are currently using.
What is quite unusual is that among our members we have a large number of creative talents, so many games may be using "Home Grown" rules or adaptations of published rules. Several of the members of the Society have published rules which are now used in the wider wargames community.
As we have the space, there are occasionally quite large games set up, and these will involve half a dozen members or more, as can seen in the photo to the right. We have occasionally have special events at the hall, involving all the members attending. These can often be big games; in the past we have held additional meetings to allow for "One Day Campaigns", using fairly simple rules, and all members are invited to participate. We also host informal visits from other clubs.
When do we meet ?
In broad terms we meet on the first and third Sundays of each month.
See the Meetings page for more details.
Cavalier, our annual Wargames Show
We run an annual show, called "Cavalier", held in the Spring of each year. We invite many Traders and Wargames Societies to participate. The Traders give wargamers the opportunity to stock up on models and equipment. The visiting Clubs, Societies and other groups present attractive Demonstration and Participation games, the latter giving visitors the chance to play a game while attending the show. Members of the public can see what the hobby is all about and in this way, we hope to attract new people onto the hobby. Very good refreshments are available from a professional catering company.
Regrettably, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, we were unable to hold a show in 2021. In light of the current uncertainty of what may transpire in the winter of 2021/22 the TWWS Committee have reached the decision that it would be unwise to organise the show in 2022. Some more information is available on the Cavalier page.
See the Cavalier page for more details.
With the assistance of one of our members we have also developed a private area of the website which is open only to paid up members of the Society. This area is used to let members know what games are being planed for future meetings, and how many places are available. Members also get a reminder in advance of the next meetings.
There is a market place for those who have items that they wish to sell. We have also started an area where members cancontribute to the history of the society, by sharing their memories of how they started wargaming, perhaps also of spectacular successes (less perhaps about the failures!). Information about how to sign up for this facility can be accessed via the Membership page. This part of our web presence is expanding all the time.
See the Membership page for more details.
Registered members follow this link to log in to Members' Pages.
Some Members also exchange details of what games they have planned by using our private Facebook pages. To gain access to these pages you must have a Facebook account yourself and also need to contact the Society secretary letting him know that you want access. If you have access then just click on the image above which opens Facebook in a new tab.
We put games on at other nearby Clubs and Societies' shows, regularly attending SELWG and Salute for this purpose. These games are run by a hard working team of players who ring the changes in the games put on. We welcome participation in these games by any of our members who are willing to invest their time and equipment. These events serve to showcase our Society.
In the Autumn of 2023 we participated in a wargaming event at the Royal Engineers' Museum in Gillingham. This was organised as a joint effort between the Museum and the Milton Hundreds Wargaming Society and was the first such event staged there. We had an enjoyable day, and it is likely to take place again in 2024, with a bit more advanced notice and advertising. The museum is well worth a visit so you can follow this link to to their website.
How are we run?
The Society is run by a Committee of 7 members elected annually. The election is carried out at the AGM, nominations being required at least a month in advance. Any paid up member may stand for election, using a Nomination Form which can be found on our Library Page. Any changes to the Committee take place after the AGM.
As a general rule, if a Committee member is happy to carry on, and only the current Committee members are nominated, then the election is a formality. Following the election of the Committee, they meet and allocate who will undertake the duties of Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. If necessary the Committee will take a vote to determine who has the role concerned.
Our AGM usually takes take place at the first meeting in April of each year, after the Open Day, though this can change if circumstances require this. It normally starts in the early afternoon, and usually lasts about 30 to 45 minutes. The Officers report on the club's activities, finances, and projects. Subjects for formal discussion must be submitted to the secretary in writing in advance, though last minute items may be accepted on the day at the discretion of the Chairman. They must still be presented to the Secretary in writing before the start of the meeting.