Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Fated for Assassination: Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson

Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson (1864–1922)

The central intriguer in the Curragh Mutiny had a varied career in the Great War—lackluster on the battlefield but somewhat influential in the back room. Politically, he eventually managed to get appointed Chief of the Imperial General Staff, and his singular act of war leadership proved to be his facilitating the appointment of Ferdinand Foch as Allied Generalissimo. After his retirement from the Army in 1922, he was irresistibly drawn back to Ireland, quickly gaining election as an Irish Member of Parliament from County Down. Wilson subsequently played a role in defining the borders of what became Northern Ireland. This led to his assassination by the IRA after the dedication of a war plaque in London on 22 June 1922. He remains one of the lesser-studied senior generals of the war, his early death precluding even a memoir, and his diaries published in the 1920s were considered indiscreet and self-serving.

Great Eastern Railway War Memorial  at the Liverpool Street Station
Dedicated by Wilson Prior to His Death

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating character. Ultimately Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) at the war's end.

    The Wikipedia page is enormous.