British Community and Family History
In April 1940 an enquiry reached this Association respecting the illegitimate children of Sir William Carr Beresford by a Portuguese lady of high rank. Before proceeding to relate the result of these researches it may be useful to recall that Beresford was charged with the reorganization of the Portuguese Army in 1809.
He was the illegitimate son of the Marquis of Waterford and benefited to some extent by family influence. Sir Charles Oman suggests that his appointment to command the Portuguese army was «a job» but adds that it was «a good job.» and he did most eminent service in creating order out of chaos and, in the short space of a year, a well-disciplined force that was capable of taking a creditable part in line with the British Army. This was not accomplished without friction and it cannot be said that Beresford was popular with his subordinates.
He seems to have been honest, inflexible, and hard working, but with this, and a personal courage that ran almost to excess, his capacities ended. His appearance, so familiar to all our members from the fine Lawrence portrait which hangs in the British Embassy, needs no description. There are singularly few tales or anecdotes connected with his name «from which» says Oman «I deduce that in British military circles he was neither much loved nor much hated.» To this it is only just to add that he was trusted by Wellington to an unusual degree.
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