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Field Marshal Sir Henry WilsonA Political Soldier$
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Keith Jeffery

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239672

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239672.001.0001

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Work in the War Office

Work in the War Office

(p.42) 4 Work in the War Office
Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson


Oxford University Press

Henry Wilson was clearly a rising star and returned from South Africa with a greatly enhanced reputation. Enjoying the patronage of Lord Roberts, he was stimulatingly ensconced in the War Office, right at the centre of things. He spent his first nine months working as Ian Hamilton's assistant on honours and rewards for service in South Africa, work which included preparing individual citations where soldiers were ‘mentioned in despatches’ and drawing up lengthy lists of medal-winners. It was a potential poisoned chalice. In a profession (and, indeed, society) so minutely hierarchical, army careers could be made or broken by the gaining — or not — of medals and distinctions. This chapter discusses Wilson's responsibilities in the War Office of Ireland, his frustration with the office's inefficiencies, and his role in the campaign for army reform in the country.

Keywords:   Ian Hamilton, War Office, army reform, Ireland, Lord Roberts, South Africa, inefficiencies

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