The Assassination of Sir Henry Wilson


Sir Henry Wilson in 1921

Sir Henry Wilson in 1921

On 22 June 1922, Sir Henry Wilson was assassinated in broad daylight, in front of his own home in London: Field Marshall, Unionist MP for Ulster, former Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS). He’d played a prominent role in the Curragh Mutiny Following creation of an Irish government in Dublin, Wilson became chief military adviser to Anglo Ascendancy forces in the then-new Northern Ireland statelet. Atrocities and undeclared war on Irish Catholics became the order of the day there.

The book “The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened at Béal na mBlath?” devotes a full chapter to re-examining Wilson’s enigmatic death.  Was there a connection with Collins’ own end, exactly two months later?

(excerpt from the book)

I was given good reason to suspect a close relation between the shooting of Sir Henry Wilson and the shooting of Michael Collins, but when I tried to investigate this line I found every door closed on me – indeed some banged in my face.
– John M Feehan

Not unlike Collins’ own end, controversy continues to surround the assassination of Sir Henry Wilson. At the very same time that the anti-Treaty men were sweating it out in the Four Courts, two members of the London IRA shot Wilson dead, on the doorstep of his home in London, in broad daylight. This was months after hostilities with the British were officially ended: after the Truce, after the Treaty had been signed; “out of the blue” as it seemed.

The shooters were obeying orders. But from whom? Who gave the order? The mystery has never been solved.

Allegations that either Collins or the anti-Treaty leaders ordered the operation do not hold water: these amount to no more than rumour, and are abundantly refuted by more substantial accounts. Yet Wilson was unquestionably shot by members of the London Brigade of the IRA.

Wilson’s death was seized upon and exploited as a pretext for the British to threaten to declare the imperfect-but- hard-won Anglo-Irish Treaty null and void.  In short, it set in motion those events which led directly to the death of Michael Collins. For these reasons, any re-examination of Béal na mBláth should not omit another look at Wilson’s mysterious, unsolved case.
** [end book excerpt]**

Much mythology has been constructed, on rather slender presumptions: 1) that Michael Collins ordered Wilson’s death; 2) that Collins likewise ordered the bombardment of IRA men occupying the Four Courts; and 3) that the IRA shot Collins.  This conventional wisdom would seem to wrap things up in a tidy package, with loose ends neatly tied.  

However, there is no evidence that Collins ordered the 1922 assassination of Wilson.  No one knows precisely how the bombardment of Four Courts was initiated, or by whom.  As for the perennial mystery, “Who shot Collins?“… We don’t even know which side shot him.

.  Read more:

The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?
by S M Sigerson

Paperback or Kindle edition here:

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Book cover image - The Assassination of Michael Collins - What Happened at Béal na mBláth

Michael Collins in James Joyce’s Dublin


(Dr Oliver St John Gogarty – companion of James Joyce and of Michael Collins)

On Bloomsday people all over the world celebrate the Dublin of Michael Collins’ life and times.

Is there any other work of fiction which has spawned its own international commemoration day? 

Many James Joyce fans know by heart the opening scenes of his seminal novel “Ulysses”.   Devotees may be aware that Joyce himself once shared an apartment in that same fabled tower with friends, including Oliver St John Gogarty. 

Gogarty, “a surgeon and man of letters,” was a noted poet of his day.  He published fictionalized accounts of Dublin life (Tumbling in the Hay, 1939), as well as a number of other works.

Joyce’ flatmate Dr Gogarty was also a close friend of Michael Collins.  It was he who fulfilled the sad duty of preparing his boon companion for lying in state.  It is believed that he also acted as official medical examiner, and may have produced an autopsy report … now apparently lost to history.

Read more:

“The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”
by S M Sigerson

Paperback or Kindle edition here:

For all other e-book formats see Smashwords


Best Reads of the Year – Rabid Readers Reviews

Book Cover - The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened at Béal na mBláth?

Ulysses by James Joyce
amazon page:
Project Gutenberg ebook online

Ulysses Cover


As I Was Going Down Sackville Street
by Oliver St. John Gogarty

Book Cover - As I Was Going Dpwn Sackville Street

Ballots … and bullets



Electoral democracy provides for periodic, peaceful transference of power, from one political party to another, according to the people’s choice: society free from political warfare.

Do elections really matter? Political violence, aimed at influencing election outcomes, would seem to prove that they matter very much indeed.

 Some excerpts from the book on this subject:

It is in the interests of entrenched political establishments, to encourage a general disbelief that any politician is going to be different. A general hopelessness that anything can change, is advantageous to the status quo.

“Such inertia keeps people away from the polls: they don’t bother to vote. This is good for entrenched establishments. The fewer people vote, the more likely that the usual suspects will keep their seats. Large voter turn-outs are generally good news for progressives, bad news for conservatives. When the public perceives a chance for positive improvements, when a candidate stands out as offering something genuinely valuable and innovative; when the public imagination is fired: then they stand up to be counted.

“It is therefore definitely in the interests of some political elements to discourage this sort of thing. Government by assassination is the most extreme form of that strategy. It is one very destructive and dangerous way to make sure that there will be only one kind of candidate.

 Read more

“The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”
by S M Sigerson

Paperback or Kindle edition here:

All other e-reader formats:

Read reviews:

Or ask at your local book shop