The British government, to keep the development of their new weapon a secret, told the North British Locomotive Company – the ladies who were doing the actual iron and grease work on the Allies’ new landships – that they were constructing water carriers intended for the middle east.

The women simply called the things “Tanks”, and for better or worse, that’s how we all know them today.

Landship development, originally conducted by the Royal Navy under the auspices of the Landships Committee, was sponsored by the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, and proceeded through a number of prototypes, importantly among them the Little Willie, designed byWilliam Ashbee Tritton and Walter Gordon Wilson, as the first-ever completed tracked tank prototype vehicle, culminating in the Mark I tankprototype, named Mother.

The descriptor “tank” is reputed to have evolved from the construction of the early batches by North British Locomotive Company in Glasgow. The order was coded as “special tanks”, and much of the work was undertaken in the NBLC Tank shops and the name stuck. – wikipedia