The Assassination of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson
On 22 June, 1922, Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson arrived back, by taxi, at his home on Eaton Square, London, after having unveiled a new war memorial at Liverpool Street Station dedicated to railway employees who had fallen in battle during the Great War.
Unbeknownst to him, he had been tailed home by two veterans of that conflict, Joe O’Sullivan and Reggie Dunne, who were now serving members of the Irish Republican Army. Just as Wilson stepped out from his taxi to the front door of his home, the two men approached and gunned him down in cold blood at point blank range.
Days later, on 28 June, Irish Free State Army troops besieging the anti-Treaty IRA garrison holding the Four Courts in Dublin, opened fire on their fellow Irishmen.
The Irish Civil War had begun
For the first episode of the show, Joseph and David bring you an interview with Irish Times journalist and historian, Ronan McGreevy, who has written about this fascinating Irish-born British soldier, his role during the First World War and, more controversially, his position as Chief of the Imperial General Staff during the Irish War of Independence, and how his murder contributed to a sequence of events which led to civil war in Ireland.
Ronan is the Commemorations Correspondent for the Irish Times. In this position, he has played a key role in covering the centenary events conducted by the State and local commemorative groups as part of the Decade of Commemorations programme, contextualizing these events for the benefit of the Irish public.
His first book, Wherever the Firing Line Extends: Ireland and the Western Front, published in 2016, proved highly successful. He has since served as editor of a number of edited volumes and collections, including Centenary: Ireland Remembers 1916.
During the course of this episode, Ronan discusses his work as a journalist and author throughout the past decade, and will share the subject of his new book, Great Hatred: The Assassination of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson, which is being published by Faber & Faber on 26th May.
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