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DIED - 23.01.88




There were 673 issues of Battle Picture Weekly printed before it joined forces with Eagle in 1988.
Some famous stories you may remember were Johnny Red, Charley's War, Dredger, Spinball Wars and the Rat Pack.

Thanks for the website - it inspired me to put up a fan page for the'Darkies Mob' strip that was printed (twice) in 'Battle'... l - Mark Jarvis

Hi,thanks so much for your Battle page of memories,its great.It inspired me to build the only Charley's war website on the net.You can find it at http://charleyswar.tripod.com Thanks again - Neil Emery

Battle - bibliography

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Hi Guys, Just thought that you should be kept aware of the following info re: Charleys War from Battle as I know it's a favourite of those who read the comic. I had enquired from Titan Books whether there was any likelihood of them ever reprinting the original two volumes they released back in the 80s and while they originally told me no, now it appears minds have changed:

Just a bit of news for you that you may not have heard - we have recently secured a deal to publish Charley’s War and the first in our series of Charley’s War books should be available in October. The book will be a 144 page hardback retailing for about £16.99 and will contain plenty of new bonus material and a new cover (all details have yet to be finalised).
Reader Feedback Dept.
Titan Books

And best of all - first in a SERIES! Can't wait! Now what should we ask for next? Johnny Red? Death Squad (that might have been from Action comic though)? Darkie's Mob? The Commando They Didn't Want? Er, maybe - but NO!!! to D-Day Dawson or any of the dubious arse that made its way into its pages in the early 80s! - Ciaran Downey

I remember that Battle joined up with Action and about 1985- 1986 for some very dumb reason combined with the company that manufactured Action Force figures. I seem to remember that it's stories went downhill very quickly after that. The vehicles used looked like toys and even to a kid were not very credible particularly the major bad guy Iron Blood who just looked like an idiot with a bin on his head.

The golden age of Battle was probably 1982- 84 when Johnny Red and Charleys War seem to take turns in appearing on the covers which invariable had yellow bordering which made them very visible on the news stands.

If there is any justice in this world I hope which ever idiot suggested joining up with action force figures ended up out of work or working on a Chinese toy assembly line. - Phil Cahill

Visited your site today and was looking at the stuff for Battle or Battle Action, which I used to read avidly in the early 80's.

Johnny Red I loved of course and particularly Charley's War. There was also a story called I think Darkey's Mob about a bunch of soldiers behind the lines in Burma which was very good. Definitely not Chindits either, cause they ran into some Chindits once and were very scathing about them, they weren't a patch on Darkey's Mob!

I'd happily forgotten about the Airfix page and that famous modeller Dick Emery. Funny how the memory is selective isn't it?

I think the thing that surprised me later was how factually accurate most of the stories were (in Charley's War anyway) when they could have put in almost anything really.The 10 year old reading them would not have known much different.

Good to see it's still remembered by some fond readers anyway! - Adrian

I read Battle avidly, until just after it joined up with Action Force, I particularly enjoyed Charley's War and Death Squad, which was about a German Penal Regiment and, loosely based on Sven Hassel's books I believe. It really died a death after joining with action force, which was really bad, as it was a great comic. - Brent Whittam

Battle Character

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Great to see that there is still mention of good old Battle Picture Weekly along with the move to promote crap Action Force merchandise the European law to tone down violence with particular attention to facism and the banning of the swastika (along with even stopping airfix box top artwork showing violence) seems that it was just not the right thing for youngsters to be exposed to did'nt do me any harm
Yours Sincerely
Saddam Hussein

No seriously I have very detailed memories of BPW, D-Day Dawson, Mike Nelson (The Eagle of SOE; deaths head dossier, day of the eagle,etc,etc ), Lofty's One Man Luftwaffe, Bootneck Boy, Major Easy ( definitely James Coburn,s double! ), Panzer G-Man, Fighter from the Sky, the Team That Went To War, and of course Johnny Red,Rat Pack and probably the most memorable and finest drawn strip ever Charley's war, in retrospect the only legacy that the ActionForce disaster gave us was the further adventures of Charley in WW.2 as one of the BEF in France '40 and the appearance of his son, My what a blast from the past this has been Lets see a dedicated web site with all these great stories openly availble again I still have my aannuals 1977-1983 and have recently bought via ebay the first 1976 annual and a load of comics too. All The Best to all who still hold dear to themselves the memories of these fine comics. - Andy Smith (aged34 and three qtrs)

A fantastic comic, superbly politically incorrect and a great read for any 10 year old lad of the time! Me at age 10 and my 12 year old brother used to fight over who would pick it up from the newsagents to read it first and my mum eventually was forced to draw up a rota! Johnny Red was my favourite, he was Battle Action's equivalent to 'Roy of the Rovers', a ruggedly handsome blonde renegade, happy only when behind the controls of his patched up Hurricane shooting down Jerries! Charley's War came a close second due mainly to the high quality artwork and realistic storylines. Loads of other great stories and characters graced the pages over the years - too many to mention here and there were some notable exceptions too, namely - Spinball Wars which I recall was a futuristic and violent sports story. I never really got into Spinball Wars and felt it more suited to 2001AD than Battle Action. In common with others here I felt it went terminally downhill after its link up with the Action Force figures series and stopped buying it soon after, perhaps the fact me and my brother had found my dads secret stash of Fiesta and Knave magazines helped our decision along too!! A mention must go to a lad named Kiran Patel from Wolverhampton who I recall often had his letters published on the 'Readers Letters' page detailing obviously fabricated stories about his grandads war exploits in order to win the £5 star letter prize, one such story had his hero grandad jumping off the ship he was serving on into the water and miraculously diverting an oncoming torpedo!! My brother and I tried to emulate Kiran Patel by sending letters of our own with outrageous stories about our own grandad, alas our grandads heroic wingwalk on a Lancaster bomber over Dresden to put out an engine fire never made Star Letter status, maybe they checked the war records and found out our grandad actually served in the Royal Corps of Transport and was in Ireland for most of the War!! Great Memories - Gav Crute

I used to get Battle each week, and subscribed between, Sept 1981 and Feb 1984. I still have all of these copies, and even now I am 34, I still enjoy reading them. That sounds incredibly sad!
The artwork was superlative, especially, from the likes of Joe Colquhoun, John Cooper, and Cam Kennedy. So much better than it's then rival, Warlord. My friends and myself used to spend much time copying illustrations from the comic, and building up quite hefty collections of drawings.
Johnny Red was probably my personal favourite, as being a student of the Russian Front, I would avidly look forward to reading the exploits of Johnny and the Falcons each week. The aircraft depicted were technically accurate, with the exception of the PO-2. Which for some unexplained reason, the artist had taken an I-153 fighter, and merely stuck an extra cockpit in for a rear gunner. To my knowledge, such a variant of the I-153 never existed. The resultant aircraft depicted, only resembled the PO-2 in that it was a biplane, nothing more. Anyway, that was just a minor nitpick, and there may have been reasons best known to the author and artist for this. Also his overall red Mosquito, marked with a large white skull painted over the extreme nose, did nothing for low visibilty!
Charleys War was also a particular favourite. The artwork of Joe Colquhoun, had to be seen to be believed.The technical accuracy of the artist and author, Pat Mills, was exemplary. Also the artwork of Carlos Pino, (The Commando They Didn't Want and The Hunters),which had a somewhat simplistic, but nevertheless unique and likable style.
The publication definetely started going downhill, when it started to introduce "action" stories; The Fists Of Jimmy Chang, Truck Turpin etc, and really seemed to die a horrible death when it became Battle Action Force. It became, in my opinion, less of a comic for young teenagers, and more a comic for pre teen kids. It was a great shame that the original format was not continued with.
Now, in my thirties, I am an illustrator specialising in military and aviation subjects, and although I have always had an interest in these areas, including in my pre-Battle days; it was the likes of Johnny Red and Charley Bourne that stimulated and honed my enthusiasm. I feel that I owe something to the artists and authors of this once great publication for this.
Mark Rolfe

Glad to see you are getting the attention this website deserves better still reading the letters of those who read Battle when it was a comic and not an advertisement for crap toys- thank you Andy my sentiments entirely.
Simlarly I look back in fondness of the stories produced back then for what they were good honest fun. I would certainly be (and am) more concerned about football teams manipulating kids into wanting the latest football kit (that was only released a few months earlier) than any amount of box art on a model kit or ridding the comics shelfs of war comics or even of the symbol of the swastika.
Give kids credit for having some intelligence (maybe they would like to wrap us up in cotton wool too??) I'd like to think I was capable of telling who the bad guys were when I was a kid and what the Swastika represented- hiding it does'nt mean it did'nt exist or happen. Well done Battle! - Philip Cahill

I have great memories of Battle my favourite being Charley's War. My Dad was a friend of the aritist Mr J.Colquhoun who lived in Swanage Dorset who sadly past away about ten years ago. I found it quite distastefull when Action force joined Battle and took Mr J.Colquhoun name off the credits. I would love to see a book of the entire series put together under his name lets hope one day this will happen and he will be known for the genius he really was. - Susie Byfield

Regarding Joe Colquhoun and his artistic triumph, Charley's War: Two collections covering the early strips were published by Titan Books in the mid-late 1980's. Sadly, they never managed to reprint all of the series. I had the pleasure of publishing an interview with Joe Colquhoun in my fanzine, "Fantasy Express" about twenty years ago. It's long out of print, but I hope to repackage it oneday. - Lew Stringer

I've just got back from a school trip to Ypres and I couldn't believe how much I remembered from Charley's War (I'm 30 now). The research and detail of the comic was magnificent. Any reprints of the TItan volumes would be welcome. They should be on the GCSE corse book list. - Phil KImetsch

Stumbling down memory lane, all because I wondered if it was possible to get a collection of Charleys War strips... Ah, the good old days. Mind you, during this time, and before Action Farce took over - as one person pointed out - it did start to feature such questionnable classics as 'Truck Turpin' and some pseudo-Professionals, except that the leading nonces were actors who were REALLY secret agents - DI-5 or something like that.

In the midst of the classic war stories we did have that shoot-me-now-knobhead D-Day Dawson, though I think this may have been a repeat from earlier days. Week after week, my teenage blood boiled at the notion that, despite that bullet edging every closer to his heart, D-Day Dawson could catch a 88mm shell between his buttocks so as to save the lives of the rest of his plucky platoon. And the strip would sign off each and every week with those floating think clouds emanating from his head as he reminded us of the lame plot device just in case we had dozed off half-way through the gripping tale. Put him up against 'Death Squad' and we'll see what Grandad & Co. would make of him.

But enough of the bad parts, and pre-AF they were slim on the ground. Let's remember classic Charleys War with Pat Mills' engrossing story-telling and Joe Colquhoun's artwork that made you smell the gas as the warning whistles blew. Remember Bluey and the French Foreign Legion? Sarge? Smith 70? Captain Snell?

Even Charley got to go home sometimes and have pie 'n' mash before being rudely interrupted by the falling bombs on London. Brilliant, brilliant stuff. Does anybody know where these tales can be found again cos I'd love to loose myself in them for, oh, a long time. And laugh at the '9p' price tags on the cover too. I can't let Johnny Red escape either as the covers alternated - pre-1981/2 or so - between him and Charley Bourne. John Cooper brought Johnny Redburn, Yakob and the rest of the Red Eagles (or was it a different name?) alive as they hacked their way through the Krauts on the Russian front. I have one particular endearing memory of one image (a cover, I think) that had Johnny Red's convereted Mosquito all guns blazing - and there were quite a few on it - as the caption said something like "It was like looking down the barrel of a shotgun" as some Luftwaffe ME-109 or the like simply disintegrated in mid-air.

So let's hear it for Battle. Long may its memory continue on. Maybe some day a new generation will find it and hopefully appreciate what all the fuss was about. Thanks for the memories ! CD, Dublin.

Have just stumbled upon your site, and like most other sane people here I too couldn't wait each week to get my hands on the latest copy. I read the comic from 1980 until about 1983/4 and totally agree that AF was the begining of the end, as far as Battle was concerned, and hopefully the suits who decieded to join forces, ended up making tea at " My first Thomas ".

In 1991 I was at a car boot sale, all memories of Battle pushed to the back of my mind, when I found a copy of the first collection ( 16 episodes ) of Charley's War, this was quickly snapped up for the bargain price of 20p, this soft-back is still with me and has now been joined by a box of the original comic's. In november I went looking for a christmas present, and went to a book shop dealing with old and second hand copies. Tucked away in a corner was a large box containing 200 copies ranging from 1975 upto 1983, modesty forbids me to disclose the price, but it's been worth it just to relive the exploits of Charley, Jhonny et al.

The artwork, writting and general content is still fresh and in some would say quite shocking, but it was because of battle that I became interested in WW2 and am currently taking a history degree in 20th century history.

Hope a dedicated web site happens, sooner rather than later so that today's 10 and 12 year olds can see that sometimes people in comics and cartoons do actually die and that war's were not always about how fast someone presses a button or how many dots you can get onto a computer screen. Gareth, Yorks. Aged 31

Just happened upon the site by accident, reckon it's the business. The first copy I ever bought was 27/08/85 (blimey. remembered that off the top of my head. It had the action Force dog, leaping at a couple of Cobra goons and the Spanish dog handler, Mutt, chasing after. I need a life, man.) Anyway, so I always knew it in the maligned AF years, but still loved it. Granted, my favourite stories were the battle ones - Charley's War being magnificant and Johnny Red highly enjoyable - inspired my interest in WW2 aviation - but there was still the odd AF story I remember with affection - Revenge of the Red Shadows, Public enemy #1(in back issues acquired later), That one where they were fighting Hitler (daft plot, decent story) a couple of the character biography ones; mind you that's about it. I actually bought Eagle just to keep up with the Charley's War and Johnny Red till they phased out those stories, when I stopped immediately. Just to comment on a couple of earlier letters, I agree absolutely with the comment about the odd drawing of the Po2; mind you the drawing looks cooler than the real thing, Johnny Red's squadron is the Falcons, and the converted mosquito you mention? Is this the Flying Gun you mean? 'Cause if so, that was a B-25 Mitchell, and a similar such model did exist. Excellent site though. - Jack Carter

I thought I was the only person alive that actually bought "Battle", until I stumbled on this site. Can't remember what mechanism got me into having it delivered every week but I suspect it was something to do with my dad; - he'd been a Sergeant in the 8th army 1939-45 and as with all all ex world war two heroes.. they do like to remind you about the war!.

I'm 38 now and I guess that to all Battle picture weekly enthusiasts, this next statement may be with some scepticism/cynicism, BUT... I got the first EVER edition of Battle the very day it went on sale. Naturally at the time, and even until now, I didn't think anything of it. I was 10, and it wasn't significant at the time. Having waded into the world of Battle enthusiasts websites, I now wish I'd kept the comics ( I guess I had about the first 40 editions or so) until I stopped getting it -the stories seemed to be getting very much departed from the original theme/idea they started off with.

My best mate was a mate was an avid "Warlord" fan. that caused friction, almost as passionate as a "Sheffield United"- Sheffield Wednesday stand-off". I couldn't be doing with "Warlord"

Anyway, here are the main ones I remember D-Day Dawson, Rat Pack, Bamboo Curtain, Boot-neck Boy, Lofties one man Luftwaffe, (was there one about "The Battle at El Alamien" or something???) - David

I grew up reading Battle Action Force from 1983-87. Iactually loved both the A.F. and war stories. My favourites being Charleys War and THE NIGHTMARE. I liked the way Sgt Howard (?) and that boy from it used to bicker, fall out and make up again as they had a common purpose. I feel I learnt a lot about WW2 from Charleys War as I vividly recall one part of the saga focusing on the Dunkirk evacuations....

Great comic. Shame they stopped it... - Stan Fernando

I can't remember it degenerating as a result of takeover by action force (must have stopped reading by it before then), and always remember it as a cracking read.
My favourites were the ones about the german penal colony battalion, rat pack, & bamboo curtain. There was also a story about a secret agent who was on a mission to assassinate Hitler (or was that Warlord? I used to read both).

Fond memories indeed, and like many of your correspondents have said, did me no harm whatsoever. Probably taught me about the difference between right & wrong more than anything else.

I would dearly love to see the stories condensed into mini volumes or something so that I could rediscover them again. I'm 40 y/o now, but still look back on these comics with fond memories.
Regards to all BPW fans - Lee Francis

If you have any other information on Battle please drop us a line.Drop us a line.


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