Major General John Frederick Charles Fuller was born in Chichester in 1878. He was commissioned into the British army in 1899 and saw service during the Boar War in South Africa. During the First World War he was a staff officer in France and in 1916 he became chief staff of the British Tank Corps, and it was he who planned the Cambrai offensive which took place in 1917 which involves 381 tanks.
After the war Fuller wrote many books, two of the most popular being ‘Tanks in the Great War’ (1920) and ‘Memoirs of an Unconventional Soldier’ (1936).
His advocacy of armoured tank warfare, to be used in lightning concentrated thrusts, was considered too extreme for the military establishment in Britain, but was taken up avidly by the younger German Generals, particularly those like Guderian in the new Panzer arm of the German army. These tactics became known as Blitzkrieg when unleashed upon the West in 1940.
It was in 1934 that Fuller joined Oswald Mosley’s British Union and during this period he wrote frequently for both the main fascist newspaper of the day “Action” and likewise for the magazine Fascist Quarterly. He visited, as a reporter, both Ethiopia and Spain during the conflicts in these countries. He was also a prolific writer for the more mainstream journals of the day in both Britain and the United States of America. He lectured in army staff colleges and was saved from internment during the war by Churchill’s intervention. In 1948 he wrote one of the first books covering the period, called The Second World War 1939-1945. Still regarded as a seminal work on the subject.