Walter Gordon Wilson
Major Walter Gordon Wilson (1874–1957) was an engineer and member of the British Royal Naval Air Service
Royal Naval Air Service
The Royal Naval Air Service or RNAS was the air arm of the Royal Navy until near the end of the First World War, when it merged with the British Army's Royal Flying Corps to form a new service , the Royal Air Force...

. He was credited by the 1919 Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors
Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors
A Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors is a periodic Royal Commission of the United Kingdom used to hear patent disputes.On October 6, 1919 a Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors was convened to hear 11 claims for the invention of the tank....

 as the co-inventor of the tank
Tanks in World War I
The development of tanks in World War I began as a solution to the stalemate which trench warfare had brought to the western front. The first prototype of the Mark I tank was tested for the British Army on September 8th 1915...

, along with Sir William Tritton
William Tritton
Sir William Ashbee Tritton, M.I.Mech.E., J.P. was an expert in agricultural machinery, and was directly involved, together with Major Walter Gordon Wilson, in the development of the tank...


Walter was born in Blackrock, County Dublin
County Dublin
County Dublin is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Dublin Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the city of Dublin which is the capital of Ireland. County Dublin was one of the first of the parts of Ireland to be shired by King John of England following the...

 on 21 April 1874. He was a naval cadet on Britannia
HMS Britannia
Six ships and a shore establishment of the Royal Navy have borne the name HMS Britannia, after Britannia, the goddess and personification of Britain....

In 1894 he entered King's College, Cambridge
King's College, Cambridge
King's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. The college's full name is "The King's College of our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge", but it is usually referred to simply as "King's" within the University....

, where he studied the mechanical sciences tripos
The University of Cambridge, England, divides the different kinds of honours bachelor's degree by Tripos , plural Triposes. The word has an obscure etymology, but may be traced to the three-legged stool candidates once used to sit on when taking oral examinations...

, graduating B.A.
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 in 1897.

Interested in powered flight he collaborated with Percy Pilcher
Percy Pilcher
Percy Sinclair Pilcher was a British inventor and pioneer aviator who was his country's foremost experimenter in unpowered flight at the end of the 19th Century...

 and the Hon Adrian Verney-Cave (heir to the 5th Lord Braye
Baron Braye
Baron Braye, of Eaton Bray in the County of Bedford, is a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in 1529 for Sir Edmund Braye. The barony was created by writ, which means that it can descend through both male and female lines. He was succeeded by his son, the second Baron. He died from...

) to attempt to make an aero-engine from 1898. After Pilcher was killed in a gliding accident, Wilson built the Wilson–Pilcher motor car which used epicyclic gears. After marrying, he joined Armstrong-Whitworth to design their car. This was followed by a lorry for the Hall company of Dartford.

With the outbreak of the First World War, Wilson rejoined the navy and the Royal Navy Armoured Car Division, which protected the Royal Naval Air Service
Royal Naval Air Service
The Royal Naval Air Service or RNAS was the air arm of the Royal Navy until near the end of the First World War, when it merged with the British Army's Royal Flying Corps to form a new service , the Royal Air Force...

 in France. When the Admiralty
The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England, and later in the United Kingdom, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy...

 began investigating armoured fighting vehicles under the Landships Committee
Landships Committee
The Landships Committee was a small British war cabinet committee established in February 1915 to deal with the design and construction of what would turn out to be tanks during the First World War...

 in 1915, 20 Squadron with Wilson was assigned to the experiments.

He transferred to the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 in 1916 becoming a Major in the Heavy Branch of the Machine Gun Corps
Machine Gun Corps
The Machine Gun Corps was a corps of the British Army, formed in October 1915 in response to the need for more effective use of machine guns on the Western Front in World War I. The Heavy Branch of the MGC was the first to use tanks in combat, and the branch was subsequently turned into the Tank...

 - the embryonic Tank Corps
Tank Corps
Tank Corps may refer to:* Tank Corps, later Royal Tank Corps, early name of the Royal Tank Regiment* Tank Corps , a type of Red Army formation used up to World War II...

He was mentioned in dispatches
Mentioned in Dispatches
A soldier Mentioned in Despatches is one whose name appears in an official report written by a superior officer and sent to the high command, in which is described the soldier's gallant or meritorious action in the face of the enemy.In a number of countries, a soldier's name must be mentioned in...

 twice and was appointed companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Order of St Michael and St George
The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is an order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later George IV of the United Kingdom, while he was acting as Prince Regent for his father, George III....

 in 1917.

Designing several of the early British tanks, he incorporated epicyclic gearing which was used in the Mark V tank to allow it to be operated by a single driver rather than the four previously needed.

In 1928 he invented the Preselector gearbox
Preselector gearbox
A preselector or self-changing gearbox is a type of manual gearbox used on a variety of vehicles, most commonly in the 1930s...

, and formed Improved Gears Ltd with J D Siddeley to develop the design commercially. Improved Gears later became Self-Changing Gears
Self-Changing Gears
Self-Changing Gears was a British company, set up and owned equally by Walter Gordon Wilson and John Davenport Siddeley to develop and exploit the Wilson or pre-selector gearbox...

Wilson preselector gearboxes were available on most subsequentt Armstrong Siddeley
Armstrong Siddeley
Armstrong Siddeley was a British engineering group that operated during the first half of the 20th century. It was formed in 1919 and is best known for the production of luxury motor cars and aircraft engines.-Siddeley Autocars:...

 automobiles, manufactured up to 1960 ,as well as on Daimler
- Daimler with reference to motor vehicles :refers to:* Gottlieb Daimler , German automobile inventor- Business co-founded by Gottlieb Daimler :...

 and Riley
- Animals :* Riley , an American Thoroughbred racehorse* Rileyasuchus, "Riley's crocodile," a genus of phytosaur from the Rhaetian of England- Canada :* Riley Park-Little Mountain, a neighborhood in Vancouver, British Columbia...


His work on gears was used in many British tanks.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.