Here at downthetubes we were sorry to learn this week of the death of Charley’s War fan site runner Neil Emery, who his partner tells us passed suddenly and unexpectedly, cause unknown, at the far too early age of 39 in June.
Charley’s War co-creator Pat Mills campaigned for some time for the re-publication of the critically-acclaimd World War One series first published in Battle Picture Weekly. But it was Neil’s interest in the saga, creating a small but fascinating web site devoted to the saga (that grew very quickly), which played a significant role in revitalising interest in the series and persuading Titan Books to reprint it.
Recently, after a long absence from the web following the death of his mother in 2006, Neil ‘rebooted’ the site and both he and I (as the current editor of Titan’s Charley’s War books) talked about expanding the resource, giving it a higher profile it fully deserved. Sadly, shockingly, those plans are, for now, in abeyance.
I had only limited contact with Neil and did not know him well, but he was always helpful in all our correspondence and I wish I’d known him better. (“I’m currently finding myself,” he noted on his Blogger profile. “I did see myself in Ealing Broadway once, but couldn’t find me in the crowd.”)
downthetubes extends our sympathies to all those who knew Neil well at this time.
Here, Catherine Marie Gypsy Glenton, Neil’s partner, pays tribute to him. in a piece she fully admits is “written from the heart”….
It is with great sorrow and heartache that I bring you the news, that my partner Neil Emery, who most of you here will know as the author and creater of the stunning Charley’s War website charleyswar.tripod.com died suddenly on 18th June 2010.
He died in my arms, cause of death not yet determind, aged just 39.
Those of you familar with the Charley’s War site will know how passionate Neil was on the subject and the time and effort he put in to making the site shows his dedication and love for the comic and World War 1.
The best tribute I can give you on Neil and give you a little of Neil’s background, is by way of a few excerpts from the eulogy myself and my daughter wrote and read out at Neil’s funeral…
We will never meet anyone like Neil again. Some people are lucky enough to be blessed with one gift in life: Neil was multi talented. A draughtsman by trade, he was an amazing artist, musician and historian, particularly of World War 1. A prolific writer and journalist admired by people around the globe for his articles and blogs, but mostly for his intelligence, wit and humour, he was a comedy genius.
Often referring to himself as an “anorak”, his knowledge on subjects he was passionate about was infinite. He would have made a great teacher.
Those who were lucky enough to meet Neil in person would find the most polite, warm, quiet, unassuming man. He had a beautiful presence about him: he would always try to think for others. He was often shy, but if you were privileged enough to get close to Neil, the wall of shyness fell and there would be the most amazing character that could fill a stadium.
Neil was brilliant, articulate, a complex and a unique individual, misunderstood at times, but the good soul always shone through. Honest and deep, yet forthright and modest, he was a no nonsense person who wouldn’t suffer a fool, yet was fiercely loyal to those he cared about.
He is idolized and loved by many for his wit and warmth. His real father Pete Townshend (that’s an in joke) described Neil as ‘The Legend’, and he was to so many, he captured the hearts of so many people it is no exaggeration to say that tears are falling all around the world for Neil today.
• Visit Neil’s site at: charleyswar.tripod.com. Be aware that the site has limited bandwidth and traffic is likely to be high over the next few days.
• Pat Mills has initiated a comments thread on his Facebook page, Pat Mills Political Comics