And the Angel of The Lord said “It’s a Tank”

On Christmas Eve 1915 an Inter-Departmental Conference was called to consider “The Present and Future Situation regarding the Provision of Caterpillar Machine Gun Destroyers or Land Cruisers”.  Swinton was the secretary.  Decisions made at that meeting included:

  1. The Admiralty agreed to supply the War Office with 100 6-pr guns for the experimental vehicles.
  2. The War Office agreed to consider raising a preliminary force of 75 officers and 750 men.

After the meeting as he was writing up the minutes Swinton gave some thought to the terms landship and land cruiser.  He was concerned that these words were too descriptive and thus lacked the required level of operational security.

Lt Colonel W Dally-Jones photographed later in 1917

Lt Colonel W Dally-Jones photographed later in 1917

He chatted the issue through with Colonel Dally Jones and alternative names were mentioned.  They used D’Eyncourt’s 4 Nov 15 suggestion of ‘Water Carriers’ as their start point and quickly dismissed alternatives including  ‘container’,  ‘receptacle’,  ‘reservoir’,  and ‘cistern’.  But when one of them suggested ‘tank’ the simplicity instantly appealed and the name was born.

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