Colin Greenwood 1931 – 2017
The death of Colin Greenwood in November 2017 has deprived the UK’s shooting community of a great champion.
Colin was born in the little Yorkshire village of Cornholme in 1931. He left school aged 14 finding work as a butcher’s boy and then in a textile mill. As soon as he was able to enlist, he followed his brother into the Coldstream Guards, serving for 3 years.
I recall when some plummy Tory peer was introducing people from the shooting world, as “Major this” and “Colonel that”, Colin was unfazed and proclaimed in a no-nonsense Yorkshire accent that he was “Lance-Corporal Greenwood, my Lord”. That was Colin all over; it was not who you were, but what you did, that counted with him.
After leaving the army, Colin joined the police, meeting his wife Pauline during a stakeout in Pontefract. He was the Sergeant at Hebden Bridge for many years. He left as a Superintendent having served 25 years in the police.
Colin was very interested in guns and shooting which led to him setting up as a firearms consultant and expert witness. His expertise and credibility soon led to his appointment as Editor of the leading UK gun magazine, Guns Review. His blunt outspokenness in hard-hitting articles, catapulted him into a position as a leading campaigner for shooting sports. His knowledge of firearms law was unsurpassed and he was no slouch when it came to firearms history and technology either, writing an excellent book on the English Rook Rifle.
BASC owes Colin a particular debt or gratitude because it was his agitation during the 1988 AGM that led directly to the creation of the Firearms Team, in order to counter the political hostility towards sporting firearms in the aftermath of the Hungerford Killings. Later, BASC made him an Honorary Life Member in recognition of his tireless campaigning.
Such was his international reputation, that the World Forum on Shooting Activities made him an ambassador in 2007.
Colin never ceased to remind anyone who worked for a shooting organisation that they were employed by the members for the members’ benefit. He would not tolerate lazy or ineffective people who did not have a 100% commitment to shooting. He applied the same attitude to repressive police licensing personnel or obstructive civil servants. Consequently, he had a reputation as a bit of an ogre, although that was far from the truth as he was actually a warm, convivial and generous man. I enjoyed many a jar with him after difficult meetings.
I once wrote a paper on some aspect or other of the law which Colin read. Having finished reading, he remained silent for what seemed an eternity before saying “This is quite good, well done lad”. That was praise indeed and I was proud to have him as a colleague.
When he retired a few years back, Colin’s final, inspirational words to me were, “Look after yourself and don’t stop kicking those bastards!” I try to live up to them.
Colin’s wife and daughter pre-deceased him. He leaves a son and grand-daughters, to whom BASC extends its condolences for their loss.