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Henry Wilson, here portrayed after an original painting by Sir William Orpen, was the Director of Military Operations at the British War Office in the decade before the First World War. He, more than any other person, military or political, was responsible for the commitment that drove Britain inexorably to supporting France with land forces when war was declared in August, 1914. Wilson was a political soldier in every sense of the word: he held field command only briefly during the war; instead he continued to liaise with the French high command on behalf of the British Army. Despite his lack of significant field experience, his political skills landed him the most senior post in the Army early in 1918, Chief of the Imperial General Staff. He was also one of a handful of officers rewarded by Parliament after the war with a grant of money. He was not, however, given a peerage, having to settle for a baronetcy. Nor was he given either of the decorations of great distinction in the gift of the King, the Garter and the Order of Merit. After retirement, Wilson entered Parliament as a member from Ulster. He was passionately opposed to the Irish nationalists, and one day in 1922 returning from the House of Commons he was shot and killed by two members of Sinn Fein outside his house in Eaton Square. He died bravely, wearing his field marshal’s uniform.