What does Occultist Aleister Crowley and Tanks have in Common?

What does Aleister Crowley and tanks have in common? The answer is maverick General and tank advocate JFC “Boney” Fuller.

What brought this to mind was reading John Kelly’s new book Never Surrender and he mentioned that the head of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain, Hugh Dowding, was a spiritualist. Dowding also wrote a number of books on the subject and spoke of visitations of “RAF boys” in his dreams.

He was also a member of the Fairy Investigation Society. Set up in 1927 by believers, its aim was to investigate all things fairy!

v18n1p-2_Constable6I suspect few people know that JFC Fuller had an occultist side to him.

During the First World War Fuller took part in the planning and execution, of early British Tank operations. After the war he was a champion of mechanising the British army. Along with BH Liddell-Hart, his ideas were the foundations that Heinz Guderian would build upon for his thesis on amoured warfare Achtung Panzer.

The clear thinking military side of him was juxtaposed with his occultism. And early disciple to notorious occultist Aleister Crowley, decried at the time by the popular press as “the wickedest man in the world”. Fuller, an enthusiastic follower, embroiled himself in Crowley’s organisation A.A., for which he wrote a number of articles for its journal.

By 1913 Fuller was concerned his association with Crowley may damage his career and began to distanced himself.

Fuller’s 1907 book The Star In the West: A Critical Essay Upon The Works of Aleister Crowley is now out of copyright and available on archive.org.