Roman Collection - John Gillespie
The John Gillespie Collection
John was born in Australia (of Scottish parents), is married with two daughters and resides in Perth, Western Australia (WA). He is a former member of the Western Australia Police serving nearly 31 years, and the recipient of the WA Police Award for Bravery medal. Since leaving the WA Police in 2005 John has been employed by Global Justice Solutions, working in the Asia Pacific Region (Fiji Islands and Samoa) in a senior advisory capacity in the areas of policing reforms and Community Justice. Currently he is a Project Officer for the same company working in Perth.
As three year old my parents returned to Scotland where we lived for about seven years. It was whilst in the UK that I became really interested in armies and toy soldiers through primary school in Scotland, learning about the Romans, Britons, Saxons and Normans, and my other cousins who had similar interests. A number of my family members were in WW1 and I became interested in their history (as one had won the Victoria Cross when in the Scots Guards) and was given some family heirlooms—medals, photos and even an Argyll and Sutherland Glengarry which I still have and display to this day. My first toy soldiers included sets of Herald plastic red Guards. This interest went further with one of my cousins and I finding a toy soldier shop whilst on holiday in Bournemouth, England in the 1960s where we purchased some Britains’ detail plastic Guards band figures, WW11 British soldiers and a couple of the then Britains’ field guns. My parents decided to return to Australia and had to leave most of my toys behind with my cousins.
In Australia, I collected the Airfix 1/72nd military figure packs, and established a group of friends who were interested in playing wargames. As I got older I moved to WW11 1/35th scale model vehicles and figures. When I was married I became interested in collecting and painting larger scale 70 to 90mm metal figures. Britains figures were very scarce in Perth and about 1990 I found a shop that was selling them, and I just had to have them. I even have the odd military battle print hanging up but restricted in sharing wall space with my wife. I collected the odd figure over the years but got more enthused on a trip to the UK in 2008 when I saw the variety and quality of toy soldiers on the market. My keen interest areas are the British Army guards and bands, Zulu Wars era, Normans and Romans. I have my collection displayed in two large China cabinets my study/home office. So when I need some escape time I just look at the display that also houses a replica Roman Legionnaire’s helmet.
Owner: Sierra Toy Soldier
Size: 14 items