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Murder Of Field-Marshal Sir H Wilson, Mp

Volume 155: debated on Monday 26 June 1922

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asked the Lord Privy Seal whether the revolvers with which Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson was assassinated were service revolvers; and, if so, whether he can state what their numbers were?

The revolvers were Webley, Mark V, 147643–1915, and Webley, Mark VI, 324967–1917.

Has the right hon. Gentleman made any inquiries as to whether these revolvers formed part of those handed over to the Irish Provisional Government?

I speak with very imperfect information, but such information as I have would lead me to suppose they were not. I have made inquiries, but have not yet got an answer. A large number of records have to be searched, in order to find out if these numbers are there. That is being done at this moment, to try to get the answer. I gathered what was in my Noble Friend's mind.

Were the distinguishing numbers of the rifles and revolvers handed over by our Government to the Irish Provisional Government recorded?

I understand that they were. I am reminded by the War Office that search is being made to find out whether these particular revolvers were among those handed over. I can only say at the present moment—and this is perhaps as far as I ought to go—that I have no reason to suppose that they were.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the name of the official who was responsible for giving the order to discontinue the police protection of Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson?

It would not be correct to say that any order was given to discontinue the police protection of the Field-Marshal. In November, 1921, a special officer was placed at the disposal of the War Office for the protection of the Chief of the Imperial General Staff if and when it was thought necessary. That arrangement still remains. When the Field-Marshal ceased to be Chief of the Imperial General Staff police protection had been discontinued for Ministers and others.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether an arrangement was made to have a policeman on short beat near the late Field-Marshal's house?

No, but an arrangement had been made for a policeman to be on short beat outside Lord Carson's house, which is not far away.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say why arrangements were not made to have a short beat outside the late Field-Marshal's house, if it was necessary outside Lord Carson's?

Because there was no reason to suppose that the Field-Marshal was in danger.


asked the Home Secretary whether the raids carried out by Scotland Yard, following the political assassination of Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson, have revealed the existence of preparations made in this country by the agents of Mr. de Valera and the Irish Republican Army for the use of firearms and bombs against any persons who take a prominent part in opposing the establishment of an Irish Republic?

It would be contrary to the public interest to announce, exactly what was discovered or what additional precautions are being taken, but nothing was found revealing the existence of an organised plot to use firearms and bombs against any specific person.


asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the political assassination of Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson by two members of the Irish Republican Army, any members of that army known to the police in England will be placed under observation, and steps taken to guard the ports of entry from Ireland against the entry of further members of this army?

It is obviously undesirable to specify exactly the measures adopted, but the police will take all steps possible to prevent crime. The ports are being watched.

Is there any information to show that these two criminals are members of the Irish Republican Army?

That is not for me to say. The evidence is there. It is for the Courts to decide.

Are any members of the Irish Republican Army employed in London in any public Department?

( by Private Notice)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he had seen the statement issued on Saturday from the Irish Republican Army at headquarters, the Four Courts, Dublin, refusing to condemn such action as the murder of the late Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson while certain alleged causes continue, and, if so, whether he intended to take any action, or whether he intended to permit the Irish Republican Army to continue peaceably to enjoy possession of the Four Courts in Dublin?

I read with disgust the disgraceful statement issued from that quarter on this event. I propose to deal with the question of the continued occupation of the Four Courts by the Republican Executive in the course of the statement I am about to make to the House.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say now whether the Irish Republican Army is maintaining its headquarters in the Four Courts in Dublin with the consent of the Provisional Government, or in defiance of it?

Wi11 the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of sending a British force to eject them forcibly?

Will the right hon. Gentleman state whether Mr. Collins, or any other member of the Provisional Government, has expressed any view on the statement of the Irish Republican Army of last Saturday?

I have heard of nothing. It was only in the papers on Saturday. I have had no communication at all.