Wednesday, 6 December, 8.15pm in the Officer’s Mess, Custume Barracks
Talk by David Cook
Summary Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson, a native of Ballinalee, Co Longford, is a major and controversial figure in Irish and British history. An Irish unionist, he gained a reputation as an intensely ‘political’ soldier, especially during the ‘Curragh crisis’ of 1914.
During the First World War, he became Chief of the Imperial General Staff, the professional head of the British army, a post he held until February 1922. After Wilson retired from the army, he became an MP and was chief security adviser to the new Northern Ireland government. David Cook’s lecture will assess Wilson’s career, particularly during the First World War, and after. Despite his high ranking, Wilson’s reputation was left in tatters by his outrageously indiscreet diaries, published not long after he was shot dead in London on 22 June 1922. His life makes for a remarkable story.
Speaker David Cook is a solicitor and former Deputy Leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. He was Lord Mayor of Belfast from 1978 to 79, and Chairman of the Police Authority of Northern Ireland from 1994 to 1996.