Lord William Leslie de la Poer Beresford

9th (Queens Royal Lancers)

3rd July 1879
Lord Beresford VC
Captain Lord William Leslie de la Poer Beresford 9th (Queens Royal Lancers)

     PREVIOUS to the battle of Ulundi, which broke the Zulu power and brought that sanguinary war to a close, a reconnaissance was made across the White Umvolosi River on July 3, 1879. The cavalry having pushed far out towards Ulundi, thousands of Zulus, hidden up to that moment in deep hollows, opened a brisk fire on our men. The " retire " was sounded, and at that instant Sergeant Fitzmaurice, of the 24th, was thrown from his horse, severely injured and partially stunned, and, the Zulus being now only a few yards away, his fate seemed sealed. Lord William Beresford then rode back, cut his way to the man, took him up on his horse and brought him away safely. This task was rendered all the more dangerous and difficult owing to the fact that Fitzmaurice twice nearly pulled him off the saddle, but Sergeant O'Toole rendered valuable assistance by helping to keep the man on the horse, at the same time checking the advance of the nearest Zulus with his carbine. O'Toole was deservedly awarded the Victoria Cross also, thanks to Lord William speaking on his behalf, for when commanded to Windsor to receive the decoration, he told Her late Majesty that he could not in honour receive the recognition of his services unless it were shared in by Sergeant O'Toole, who, he generously affirmed, deserved infinitely greater credit than any which might attach to himself, and the next Gazette announced O'Toole's reward.
   Colonel Lord William Leslie de la Poer Beresford, third son of the Rev. John de la Poer, fourth Marquess of Waterford, was born on July 20, 1847. Educated at Eton, he entered the 9th Lancers in 1867 as Cornet, obtained his commission as Lieutenant in 1870, and his Captaincy in 1876. Was an A.D.C. to Lord Lytton, Viceroy of India, from the end of 1875 to October, 1881. Served through the Jowaki Expedition, 1877-8, this being his first active service. Besides the Zulu War, he served with the gallant Lancers in the Afghan War, being present at the capture of Ali Musjid, and from 1881 to 1894 was Military Secretary to the successive Viceroys of India, Lords Dufferin and Lansdowne. Became Major in 1884, and served with the Burmese Expedition, being mentioned in despatches and receiving Brevet of Lieut.-Colonel. Became Colonel in January, 1891. Died December 28, 1900.



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