Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson: A Political Soldier by Keith Jeffery

By Keith Jeffery

Henry Wilson was once the one British box marshal ever to die in motion, killed on his personal doorstep in 1922 by means of IRA males (one of whom had a wood leg). Wilson used to be a flamboyant, maverick Irishman, on the centre of affairs through the First global struggle years and after, recording every thing in his wildly indiscreet diary. utilizing a variety of legit and personal assets, this can be the 1st sleek biography of this arguable and misunderstood determine.

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At 12 o’clock all rifle fire was over. ²³ Tactically, someone, at least, was thinking about how to approach an entrenched and well-armed enemy. The field guns, in the meantime, were pinned down in the open under heavy fire. Valiant attempts were made to recover them. When Buller called for volunteers to help, two staff officers went out: Captain Walter Congreve, a regimental colleague of Wilson’s, and Lieutenant Freddie Roberts, Clery’s ADC. ²⁴ Two guns were saved, while ten were lost to the Boers. Both Congreve and Roberts were wounded, the latter fatally.

South Africa 31 Colenso anticipated some of the battles of the western front a decade-and-ahalf later. Trusting to a heavy artillery bombardment, Clery and Buller expected that the enemy would be sufficiently softened up to allow their forces to advance across the Tugela relatively unscathed. ²⁸ Well armed and entrenched, the Boers were able to see off their British attackers with comparative impunity. ³⁰ So it was, and one for which Buller got the blame. Colenso came at the end of ‘Black Week’, during which Sir William Gatacre, leading a small formation in north-east Cape Colony, lost nearly 700 men missing and captured in the battle of Stormberg (10 December), and Lord Methuen was repulsed at Magersfontein in front of Kimberley the following day.

Following 31 Dec. 1893. The making of a staff officer 19 An important part of the college course was the senior-year visit to the FrancoGerman War battlefields. For many this was as enjoyable as the ‘bottlefield’ tours enjoyed by more recent college groups. ³⁹ Wilson himself took the trip (led by Colonel Henderson in April 1893) very seriously, and in later years he was to visit and revisit the battlefields and the whole FrancoGerman frontier zone, becoming as familiar with the terrain as any man in the British army.

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