Major General+ '''Sir Ernest Dunlop Swinton''' (21 October 1868 – 15 January 1951) was a British Army+ officer who was active in the development and adoption of the tank+ during the First World War+. He was also a war correspondent and author of several allegorical works of fiction on military themes, including a lastingly influential book on tactics and good practice. He is credited with having coined the word "tank" as a code-name for the first tracked, armoured fighting vehicles.
Swinton recounts in his book ''Eyewitness'' how he first got the sudden idea to build a tank on 19 October 1914, while driving a car in France+. It is known that in July 1914 he received a letter from a friend, a mining engineer named Hugh F. Marriott whom he had met while in South Africa. Marriott occasionally sent Swinton news of technical developments that might have a military application, and his letter described a machine he had seen in Antwerp, an American-made Holt Caterpillar Tractor+. He suggested that the machine might be useful for transport, and Swinton passed the information on to several military and political figures he thought it might interest. At the time, with no apparent prospect of war, the idea seemed to be a matter only of transport efficiency, and Swinton forgot about the matter. The idea of a caterpillar track as the basis for a fighting vehicle occurred to him only as he drove from St. Omer to Calais on the morning of 19 October.
The British War Office conducted trials with Holt tractors at Aldershot+ but saw them only as suitable for towing heavy artillery.
Major Swinton was sent to France as an army war correspondent+. In November 1914 he suggested to Sir Maurice Hankey+, Secretary of the Committee of Imperial Defence, the construction of a bullet-proof, tracked vehicle that could destroy enemy machine guns.
In 1916 Swinton was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel+ and given responsibility for training the first tank units. He created the first tactical instructions for armoured warfare+. The Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors decided after the war that the inventors of the tank were Sir William Tritton+, managing director of Fosters+ and Major Walter Gordon Wilson+. By 1918, the War Office had received 2,100 Holt tractors.
Swinton married Grace Louise Clayton in 1897 and they had two sons and a daughter. His daughter died in a road accident during the Second World War+."Maj.-Gen. Sir Ernest Swinton." Times [London, England] 17 Jan. 1951: 6. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 5 Aug. 2012. Swinton died in Oxford on 15 January 1951.
*''The Defence of Duffer's Drift'' pseudonym of "Lieutenant Backsight Forethought" BF.
*''The Green Curve'' (1909) pseudonym of "O'le Luk-Oie"
*''Tab Dope'' (1915) pseudonym of "O'le Luk-Oie"
*''The Study of War'' (1926)
*''An Eastern Odyssey'' (1935)
*''Over My Shoulder'' (1951)
* Internet Archive author:
Ernest Dunlop Swinton+ Major General Sir Ernest Dunlop Swinton KBE, CB, DSO (21 October 1868 – 15 January 1951) was a British Army officer who was active in the development and adoption of the tank during the First World War.