AUTHOR and historian Lt Col George Forty, who was widely regarded as the “Father of the Tank Museum” at Bovington, has died aged 88.

Born on September 10, 1927, in London, he was educated at Ashville College in Harrogate and The Queen’s College, Oxford University.

He was a prolific and well published military historian and author whose books mainly covered armoured warfare and also included a number telling the story of Dorset at war.

Lt Col Forty joined the army in 1945, was commissioned from the RMA Sandhurst in July 1948 – the first intake to pass out after the war – and served in the Tank Regiment for more than 32 years.

He served in the Korean War and all over the world including in Aden, the Persian Gulf, Borneo and Germany. He also spent time living locally in West Lulworth while working at the Gunnery School. After retiring from the army in 1971, he pursued a writing career, and in 1981 he was appointed as director of the Tank Museum, moving to live in Briantspuddle.

Son Adam, who works at the Royal Signal Museum, said during the next 13 years he ‘transformed the museum, tripling its size and adding many new vehicles from around the world to enhance the collection.’

He said his legacy is the ‘modern, dynamic and professional organisation which is now regarded as one of the foremost military museums in Europe'.

He added the museum also provided ‘the incentive for his literary skills’ and, in the following years, he wrote over 60 books, many in three to four different languages including French, German and Japanese. He was made Fellow of the Museums Association shortly after retiring in 1993 and was awarded the OBE in 1994.

Adam described Lt Col Forty as ‘a gentle and happy family man who is always spoken of with affection and respect by all those that he worked with.’

Lt Col Forty passed away on Thursday, May 19.

He leaves behind his wife Anne and sons Simon, Jonathan, Adam and Jason as well as nine grandchildren and one great grandchild.