Speech on behalf of the Nijmegen Games club Casus Belli
on the occasion of the cremation of
Honorary member Drs. Frank van den Bergh
Beuningen, 15 october 2011
Frank was an exceptional personality. Even something down-to-earth as a chat about the weather went his way: on some Sunday June 17th we talked in Pub ‘de Fiets’, for years the lair of games club Casus Belli, about the current weather, nice and sunny, in comparison with the wether exactly so many years ago, raining cats and dogs, on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo. Sunday next week we could have talked in the same manner about the storm following the Battle of Trafalgar.
I cannot describe him better than he did himself. One day I arrived at the club with a game called Charlemagne. “Frank, the game has two sides: ‘Frank’ and ‘Chaos’”. Frank’s response: “What, that’s both me!”. Quite right, Frank, you were somewhat chaotic, but in the first place, you were Frank.
Our friendship dates back to 1971, when we met over a wargame at the national games club Ducosim, at a memorable meeting in Amsterdam with the antimilitaristic protest group ‘Onkruit’ at the door. Hence it was no coincidence that I joined the games club Casus Belli, founded amongst others by Frank, immediately after moving to Nijmegen. There I spent many Sundays with Frank, and it is there where he agreed to be the Best Man at my wedding with Annemarie.
Besides being a founding member of Casus Belli, Frank served for years as Secretary. His notes were very precise, but so slow that sending him on a Stenography course has been proposed, though it never got that far. He contributed very much to the club magazine ‘De Nieuwsbrief’. And he was there at all club activities. His blog gives a clue: the question whether someone could bring him and his wheelchair to the introduction market of the university. Hence his elevation to Honorary Member is fully deserved.
This does not end his contributions to wargaming. He was Honorary Member of Ducosin and wargame editor of club magazine ‘Spel!’, and a welcome guest and lecturer at Hexacon of the Gesellschaft für Historische Simulation in Germany. Not only did he collect wargames, he contributed as well. ‘The Devil’s Cauldron’ on the Northern part of the Battle of Arnhem has been fully checked and approved by him, both the map and the highly detailed Order Of Battle. In addition he wrote a paper on the historical background. His contribution to two Arnhem Megagames should be mentioned too.
He wasn’t a very competitive player, and he must have known it. Whether the situation was good or bad, Frank enjoyed playing. Even though he contributed a sizeable portion of the ship miniatures at our annual sea battle, he himself preferred the calmer water of reporting. Even that he did his way: with a model of Her (Dutch) Majesty’s ‘Unstoppable’, a rubber dinghy.
We will definitely also miss Frank’s immortal words on no matter what historical subject mentioned: “I’ve got a booklet on that!”. Frank, you were a formidable friend!
Niek van Diepen