Misuse of Arnhem Veteran's Details

Discussion in 'Modelling' started by JJS, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. JJS

    JJS Senior Member

    Jim and the dummy.png

    This needs to brought to the attention of all veterans, their families and all ex forces personnel.
    King & Country are selling a model with Jim's name and his Arnhem story attached to it without permission of the family. I have been communicating with them to get all reference to Jim removed from the item. The details being used are those posted by me on various sites over the years of research to establish what happened to him. It should be noted that his story was not known in such detail until the research started.
    So far King & Country have removed the details from their UK sales site, but not from their main site in Hong Kong ...
    There are also models still being sold as Jim on e-bay. So far UK based e-bay sellers have changed the description on the sale item, but have not replied to messages, or to my request to let me know where on the model the details are, ie: on the model itself or are they in or on its packaging. Their standard response is to change the details that appear on the internet, but they do not reply in writing with a commitment to not sell it with Jim's details.
    As a family we need assurance that no model will be sold with Jim's name and details from now on.
    The international e-bay seller site has not responded or changed the details. Once again this is a common theme! http://www.ebay.co.uk/…/King-Country-Sergeant…/351512217535…
    I have not had a reply from my last mail to the 'Co-founder & Creative Director' Andy C. Neilson and had to find out that the UK site description had been changed via a friend.
    My mails to them and their replies are here for you all to make your own judgement. Please feel free to share this on any and all sites you feel appropriate...


    MG61(P) Sgt Jim Sharrock (Glider Pilot Regt)
    Dear sirs,
    I am a relative of Jim Sharrock and am writing on behalf of the family, including his next of kin, to ask that you remove his details from the description of the above item. You have not sought our permission to use these details on your products and the doll bears no resemblance to him whatsoever. This is a gross misuse of his sad story and it is inappropriate that you are using his name in an effort to add authenticity to your models to increase sales.
    Jim was a young mill worker who had to work incredibly hard to become a glider pilot and we know as a family that he would have been extremely proud to have achieved something that many men could not. I find it disgusting that you use the details, without permission, of a soldier who died so young and so tragically. You should either make anonymous models for your sole profit or make them with relevant family consent and donate some of the profit to an appropriate charity.
    I hope that you will comply with our request, to remove Jim’s name and details, so that this matter can end now and save us all the time and energy a long campaign will entail, but be assured that we will take this further if Jim's name is not removed.
    Parnel Seabrook.
    Hi Parnel
    Thanks for your e mail, I have forwarded it onto my colleague, Andy Neilson Co Founder of King & Country in Hong Kong for clarification.
    I am sure you will receive a reply shortly.
    Best Regards
    Mike Neville
    Director King & Country UK
    Dear Parnel Seabrook,
    Mr. Mike Neville of King & Country UK has passed on to me your email of 12 October concerning the representation of Sgt. Sharrock as part of our “Operation Market Garden” series of military miniatures depicting the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944.
    If I may, allow me to provide you with some background information as to why we chose to depict Sgt. Sharrock as part of this particular range.
    Back in 2008, after a King & Country Collectors Meeting in London at which two very highly decorated Glider Pilot veterans spoke I was approached by an elderly gentleman who introduced himself as a relative of another glider pilot who had lost his life during the Battle of Arnhem.
    The gentleman concerned asked if our company ever “portrayed in miniature” any actual participants of any of the battles and campaigns we featured in our many different historical series.
    I was happy to reply that we did...and that we tried to portray not only the famous leaders and generals but also the ordinary soldiers, sailors and airmen who fought and died in these wars and struggles.
    At that point he told me of his relative, Sgt. Sharrock who had flown his glider into Arnhem but, alas, had not survived the epic, doomed battle.
    He also suggested that, down the line, if K&C ever produced another Glider Pilot Regiment figure we might like to remember Jim Sharrock.
    I thanked him for his suggestion and requested that if he had any other details he could forward them to me when I returned to Hong Kong the following week.
    This the gentleman did some time later. Over the next few years our paths would occasionally cross at the London Toy Soldier Show and the gentleman would always ask, “How’s that Glider Pilot figure coming on..?”
    Alas it was not until earlier this year that we eventually got around to making another Glider Pilot figure and I duly remembered that we should sculpt and make “Sgt. Jim Sharrock” which we did.
    As with all figures representing real unsung British heroes of the Second World War we make a substantial donation to one of several British service charities in their memory. In Sgt. Sharrock’s particular case...we chose The Royal British Legion.
    Let me assure you it was never, ever King & Country’s intention to upset or annoy Sgt. Sharrock’s family in any way whatsoever. Our wish was simply to honor, in our own small way, a man who achieved much in his short life and deserved his memory and service to be known by a wider and respectful audience of military soldier collectors.
    Please accept my apology for any distress this may have caused to anyone of Sgt. Sharrock’s living family.
    I hope and trust however that my explanation goes some way to providing you with the reasons for our company making the figure itself.
    Should you wish to discuss this matter further please supply me with your telephone number and I will be happy to call you personally.
    Thankyou in advance and sincerely yours,
    Andy C. Neilson
    Co-founder & Creative Director
    King & Country
    Dear Mr. Neilson,
    I think, for the time being I would prefer to keep any communication via e-mails, but would appreciate your telling the family who this person was so that we can confirm if he was actually a family member.
    Parnel Seabrook.
    Dear Parnell Seabrook,
    Many thanks for your prompt reply to my email to you. Just as you are a wee
    bit hesitant to either speak to me personally or put me in direct
    communication with the Sharrock family I am similarly hesitant to give out
    the name of anyone else concerned as I also want to avoid any kind of family
    'rift' over this issue. All I would say is that it seems strange that
    someone NOT connected with the family would specifically want or suggest
    that we make a figure of the Sergeant..?
    With best wishes,
    Andy C. Neilson.
    Dear Mr Neilson,
    You are in contact with the Sharrock family, they are my family, our response to your mails is as a family. There is no point in talking over the phone to one person, because no one person will give you the approval you seem to be seeking without us all agreeing. I can assure you that there will not be a rift if this is genuinely a family member, especially one of the older generation, but, genuine or not, he is not Jim’s next of kin.
    The main point we want an answer to is will you now remove any reference to Jim because that figure is not of Jim Sharrock. Not only is it offensive to us as his family, but also it is a false description of your product from a consumer point of view. If you really must sell the figure, do so as a generic Glider Pilot and let the buyer decide who they want it to be.
    I do hope we can now get a straight answer to our simple question to avoid taking this any further.. Will you remove any reference to Jim Sharrock?
    Parnel Seabrook.
    AB64, Tricky Dicky and DPas like this.
  2. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    More power to your elbow !

    Well done !

  3. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Surely, if this is to represent a named person, it should LOOK like him?
    That has to be the first aspect!
    Whatever else is the problem, there needs to be a recognisable likeness if you sell a model with a specific named person.
    ould they sell a Churchill that looked nothing like him and expect sales?

    There can't be that many family relatives to fit the description, either.
    From their response, it looks as if the relative kept contacting them, so he should have ensured the likeness was of Jim.
  4. JJS

    JJS Senior Member

    Thanks Ron.

    KevinBattle -

    We are not aware of a male family member that was a collector who would have travelled to these events, nor of any family living in or around London other than Jim's next of kin... And we know it wasn't them!
  5. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I can't really see this as so very different from, for example, the stories of VC winners featured on the front page of weekly 'comics' in the 1960s. They too used the identity of a hero, whether living or dead to increase commercial sales. The stories were in the public domain and were amended by them to target their particular readerships, usually with fairly inaccurate illustrations.

    The internet is a useful tool and we often get back more than we put in, but whether we like it or not, once we have put information on a public forum for instance, the genie is out of the bottle and frequently takes on a life of its own.

    I agree that this is a pretty poor likeness, but many models are. Surely if it helps just one person to understand that the events of seventy-odd years ago featured real people and encourages them to look further then it will have been worthwhile ? If that's unacceptable to the family, then perhaps they should have kept the story to themselves ?

    Families licensing the image or story of servicemen connected to them is not something that I would like to see. It would curtail discussion and research unacceptably. There do seem to have been problems which could have been avoided by communication but in the absence of packaging stating that a product was approved by the family or that a percentage of sales were passing to them, I really can't see that the manufacturers are acting immorally.
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I concur, I was pretty outraged at the OD dolls when they came out :(

    Ken P likes this.
  7. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Perhaps the likeness or lack of it can be explained by the fact that they wanted to avoid using a likeness to avoid any legal comeback? I don't honestly know the true legal position but I doubt the Sergeants story is actually `owned` by anyone ,next of kin or otherwise, research likewise unless copyrighted ? To be honest from what I have read with the description of the model there`s nothing there which is likely to be classed as misappropriation or a violation to the companys right of publicity, unless of course you can establish a relevant kind of harm ?
    Obviously someone is using the information to publicise their product for financial gain, hopefully the exclusion of profit sharing isn't this part which is really causing offence? As Rich pointed out above its no different to other information uses he has listed. If families believed they owned historical details of service would we actually have a forum or on a wider scope an internet?
    If the story was untrue or casting doubts on the Character of an individual I think `morally` that would be wrong but legally ?? Like I said I`m no `legal eagle`. If the family feel its a breach of their privacy it should be remembered that you cannot legally invade the privacy of a dead person, so you generally cannot sue for any misappropriation of the name or likeness ((of which they haven't?)) of a dead person, unless the misappropriation took place before the person in question died which again they haven't ?
    I think the success you have had so far is remarkable but they could easily have said `NO` to `ALL` your requests.

    von Poop and Owen like this.
  8. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Parnell raises an interesting point about the use and misuse of items that are in the public domain.

    I feel this understandable anger concerning the use of his relative's story to further a commercial enterprise and have had similar dealings with companies who should have known better.

    Speaking personally, I have posted on the internet an obscene amount of images and text concerning my family's ww2 history and on several occasions have had to rap the knuckles of individuals and companies who have lfted this data without the courtesy of showing the original source of the material.

    As this is no longer new to me, I have a standard method of dealing with the offenders.

    I point out that although the item is in the public domain I still own the copywright and they have no right to publish without showing the source.

    It usually works....

    ritsonvaljos and JJS like this.
  9. JJS

    JJS Senior Member

    For me it boils down to which direction your moral compass points, mine is distinctly toward it being immoral and in very bad taste to take the story of a dead soldier, that died for his country's freedom, with no known grave and use it to line your pockets!

    Just because information is on the internet doesn't mean it's a free for all, you're right Ron Goldstein you still own the copyright. I understand that we, as a family, do not own Jim's story, but I think he would want us to stand up to this type of profiteering. If anyone wants to know the stories of the people that were sacrificed in WW2 there is enough information around without them forking out good money on a lump of ugly looking metal that looks nothing like the person the makers are attempting to profit from!
    DPas likes this.
  10. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

  11. JJS

    JJS Senior Member

  12. Tom Wallace

    Tom Wallace Junior Member

    I felt the same way about the eBay seller that was selling pieces of Flt. Lt. Lord's C47 wreckage earlier this year. But then I'm sure there are some collectors that don't see it the same way.

    JJS likes this.
  13. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    These guys http://www.onesixthwarriors.com/forum/sixth-scale-action-figure-news-reviews-discussion/768431-pte-baines-d-coy-2nd-ox-bucks-li-op-mallard-d-day.html did the same with 'Darky' Baines from the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry - it doesn't look a lot like him either and the only other alternative was using a Barack Obama figure! It freaked his daughter and granddaughter out a bit. All a bit too weird for me I'm afraid - not sure the word 'tribute' isn't a bit overused on occasion.....
    JJS likes this.
  14. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin


    GRHAM M MOBBS New Member

    What happened with this?

    From reading I saw no actual proof the people complaining were actually from the family?
    Does anyone know what action the family had taken action in the past to legally protect their relative? Or was this reactive. Plus I was not actually sure just what the person contacting the forum wanted? I did see that the information had not been completed on the website below and the site is asking for the family or friends to complete, but no one has.

    James J Sharrock | ParaData

    I am tempted to think this was a bit of a con job, with someone trying it on with K & C.

    I know the figure, I like the company's figures, but do not collect this range

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