Image ID JG348R Sir Henry Wilson MP and field marshal in the British Army DATE UNKNOWN CREDIT Alamy Stock Photo.jpg
Sir Henry Wilson was the Director of Military Operations in 1914 (Picture: Alamy Stock Photo).
History

Sir Henry Wilson: The murder that impacted the history of Northern Ireland

A plaque was unveiled for the Army field marshal in the House of Commons, adding to memorials for other MPs who died violent deaths.

Image ID JG348R Sir Henry Wilson MP and field marshal in the British Army DATE UNKNOWN CREDIT Alamy Stock Photo.jpg
Sir Henry Wilson was the Director of Military Operations in 1914 (Picture: Alamy Stock Photo).

On the 100th anniversary of his death on 22 June 1922, a plaque has been unveiled for the Army Field Marshal and MP, Sir Henry Wilson.

The plaque in his memory was unveiled in the House of Commons to remember the former soldier who was shot dead by Irish republicans a century ago.

As well as being a field marshal, Sir Henry was also Chief of the British Imperial General Staff and main military adviser to Prime Minister David Lloyd George in the last year of the First World War.

Irish independence 

Sir Henry Wilson had been a security adviser to the newly-formed Northern Ireland government, which was established in 1921 after the partition of Ireland.

The Ulster Unionist MP believed Ireland should remain in the UK. After serving as a senior staff officer during the First World War he lobbied the British Government to crack down on the Irish rebels waging a guerrilla war for Irish independence from 1919-21.

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) was divided over the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which had been signed the previous year, leading to the end of the war of independence.

In 1922, two IRA gunmen, Reginald Dunne and Joseph O'Sullivan, shot and murdered Sir Henry outside his home.

The killing has been widely considered one of the key factors leading to the outbreak of civil war in Ireland soon afterward.

The British Government accused anti-treaty IRA republicans in Dublin of ordering the assassination, leading to pressure on the provisional pro-treaty Irish government, to root them out.

This then developed into the civil war, eventually won by pro-treaty forces.

Watch: Field Marshall Sir Henry Wilson (Credit: British Pathé).

DUP MP Ian Paisley believes the recognition of Sir Henry is long overdue, he told the BBC during an interview.

"Unfortunately he was murdered by the enemies of Northern Ireland and that murder still resonates today with people, even though he doesn't have much of a family left," he said.

"I think it's up to us, as the inheritors of what that generation gave us, to ensure that his memory will be forever in this place at Westminster."