When we were at Britcon a few months ago Phil and I were sat next to Dave Lanchester's second-hand book stand and in our quiet moments we would both start rummaging through the shelves, drawn by the fantastic smell of old books and the huge range of military history just sitting there whispering to us.

As I hunted through the various sections I rapidly realised how many of these books I used to own that over the years I had discarded for the sake of space as I moved between grubby shared houses and flats and groaned. For starters there was Tanks & other Armoured Fighting Vehicles of the Blitzkrieg 1939-41 and the follow-up volume Tanks & other Armoured Fighting Vehicles 1942-45 by BT White. Followed a few minutes later by the fantastic books by Liliane and Fred Funcken L'Uniforme et Les Armes Des Soldats Du Premier Empire, big white volumes which I actually learnt some French for so I could read. For those who don't have copies a great online version can be found here complete with the Revolutionary war book as well. The artwork is as good as I remembered. 

I was at this point successfully resisting buying all these back, but then I found by all-time favourite uniforms books (barring the Angus McBride Osprey on Hussars) which I never actually owned but had out on permanent loan from the library. These were the Blandford Colour Series on uniforms in particular Uniforms of the Peninsular War 1807-14 and Uniforms of the Retreat from Moscow written by Philip Haythornwaite with illustrations by Mike Chappell, one of my all-time favourite illustrators. Then the buying started.

So I'll take this as a lesson and never throw my books away again. And if you are confronting this very same problem you can always make sure you stop off at Dave's stand the next time you are at an event. I'm sure he'll have something to tempt you...