Arthur Swinson was born in 1916 in St Albans, Hertfordshire. He attended St Albans School and later trained as an army officer cadet at Sandhurst Military College, before joining the Worcestershire Regiment. During the Second World War he served in the infantry and the Indian army, seeing action in India, Assam, Burma and Malaya.
After the war he joined the BBC to become a senior producer of documentaries. He left the BBC in 1961 to pursue a career as a full time freelance writer, with 300 plays for television, radio and theatre, and over 30 books of fiction and non-fiction to his name. Writing for Television is a standard work on the subject. Other works range from The Great Air Race to The Orchid King, a biography of the leading orchid hunter Frederick Sander. Swinson became a well known military historian, and his book Kohima, an account of the battle in which he took part, is widely regarded as one of the best works on the Second World War.
He died in 1970, leaving a widow and three children.