This article is excerpted fromBiographies of Prominent Chinesepublished in Shanghai in c.1925.
Marshal Wang Shih-chen, was born at Cheng-ting, Chihli province, in 1864. He was graduated from the Peiyang Military School of Tientsin, which was founded in 1885. While there he studied in the same class with Marshal Tuan Chi-jui. After graduation, Marshal Wang rose in the Imperial Army through various ranks. He is a veteran solider of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895. In 1895, after the close of the war, General Yuan Shih-kai was appointed Director-General in charge of the training of a modern army. Marshal Wang was one of Yuan Shih-kai’s three lieutenants engaged in the military training at Hsiao Chan, the other two being the late President Feng Kuo-chang, and Marshal Tuan Chi-jui. Marshal Wang was later appointed Commander of the Engineering Crops.
In 1899, when General Yuan Shih-kai became Viceroy of Shantung, Marshal Wang accompanied him, accepting the post of Director of the Staffs Department. In 1902, General Yuan Shih-kai became Viceroy of Chihli. In 1903, the Imperial Government began to train twenty divisions of modern troops. A special organization was formed to direct the training. It was composed of one Director-General, one assistant Director-General, and one Proctor; and, under them, three departments and thirteen sections. His Excellency Yuan Shih-kai was Assistant Director-General; His Excellency Hsu Shih-chang was Proctor; and Marshal Wang was the Chief of Military Education Department.
From 1908 to 1910, Marshal Wang was Kiang-pei Ti Tu, or Provincial Commander-in-Chief, of the Garrison of Northern Kiangsu. After that, he was called to Peking, and appointed Junior Vice-President of the Board of War. At the outbreak of the revolution, in October 1911, the Manchu Government appointed His Excellency Yuan Shih-kai, Premier. Marshal Wang was given the posts of Minister of War and Viceroy of Hunan, Hupei, Kwangtung, and Kwangsi. Upon the establishment of the Republic, Marshal Wang retired to private life.
At the repeated request of President Yuan Shih-kai, Marshal Wang returned to political life again, in May 1915, when he was appointed Resident-Director of the Office of the Generalissimo. In June 1915, Marshal Wang was appointed Acting Minister of War to succeed Marshal Tuan, who became Chief of the General Staff. In August 1915, Marshal Tuan was appointed Premier, and, concurrently, Minister of War; thus he relieved Marshal Wang of the portfolio of war; Marshal Wang became Minister of War again, November 19th, 1917, succeeding Marshal Tuan. Shortly afterward, Marshal Tuan, who had resigned from the office of Premier, was succeeded by His Excellency Wang Ta-hsieh; and Marshal Wang succeeded the latter as Acting Premier and Minister of War, resigning from the office of Chief of the General Staff; Marshal Wang tendered his resignation from the Premiership, in February 1918, and retired to private life.
In January 1920, Marshal Wang was awarded the First Order of Merit. In December, of the same year, he was appointed High Inspecting Commissioner of Kiangsu, Anhui, and Kiangsi provinces, but did not accept. In January 1922, he was made a Shan Chian Chung (Marshal), with “Te Wei” as his special title. He was also appointed President of the Chiang Chu Fu, or College of Marshals, Peking. This position he has retained. In October, he was awarded the First Class Wenhu decoration.
A.R. Burt, J.B. Powell and Carl Crow, editors,Biographies of Prominent Chinese(Shanghai: Biographical Publishing Company Inc., c.1925). 19.