John Church (1926-2014)
Military Vehicle Draughtsman Who Inspired A Generation.
Military vehicle modellers everywhere will be saddened to learn that we have lost John Church, who was a founding member of MAFVA and one of its most popular personalities. Inspired by his own experiences of operating wartime British Army vehicles, he was a prolific modeller and gifted draughtsman who played a pioneering role in the development of our hobby.
Beginning in 1964, John drew 626 1/76th scale plans of British, Commonwealth and American vehicles and artillery of the pre-1939, Second World War, and post-1945 periods, plus 4 vehicles in 1/32nd scale making a grand total of 630 plans, of which 73 were published in Tankette. John continued drawing until ill-health compelled him to lay down his pens in 2001, but his plans remained on sale until 2014, providing an unrivalled service for almost half a century.
John's plans were drawn for modellers, and they were especially popular because every plan was a self-contained reference pack. They were also highly influential. Before 1969 "softskin" vehicle modelling was a neglected branch of our hobby, until Airfix released their Emergency, Refuelling, and Recovery Sets, and the Observer's Fighting, Military, and Army Vehicles Directories were published. John's plans enabled modellers to develop the full potential of those kits and books.
In 1982 John published his book "Military Vehicles of World War 2", describing the development of' military transport up to 1945, which also displayed his understanding of modellers' needs. Of its 127 photos, 45 were rear or interior views, revealing details that other books omitted.
John's generosity was legendary, and he was always happy to exchange information with kindred spirits. He was an ideal mentor, and he inspired a new generation of military vehicle draughtsmen to follow in his footsteps.
John was one of Nature's gentlemen, whose altruistic spirit helped to make MAFVA a society of friends. We can all take inspiration from his work and personal example, and his cheerful courage in adversity. Declining health never prevented him from enjoying the hobby that he helped to create, because he always took as much pleasure in his many friends' achievements as in his own.
John Church passed away on the 18th January 2014. He is survived by his wife Beryl and their children and grand-children, to whom we extend our deepest sympathy and sincere condolences.
9th February 2014.