Lord William Beresford


This photograph of Lord William Beresford (1846–1900) is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Beresford served as an aide-de-camp to several British viceroys, including under Lord Lytton during the war. He was also a captain in the 9th Queen's Royal Lancers and, while on leave from Delhi, volunteered to fight under General Sir Samuel Browne (1824–1901) at the November 1878 Battle of Ali Masjid. Beresford was commended for his valor in dispatches after the battle. He was also awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest honor for gallantry, during the 1879 Zulu War in South Africa. The Second Anglo-Afghan War began in November 1878 when Great Britain, fearful of what it saw as growing Russian influence in Afghanistan, invaded the country from British India. The first phase of the war ended in May 1879 with the Treaty of Gandamak, which permitted the Afghans to maintain internal sovereignty but forced them to cede control over their foreign policy to the British. Fighting resumed in September 1879, after an anti-British uprising in Kabul, and finally concluded in September 1880 with the decisive Battle of Kandahar. The album includes portraits of British and Afghan leaders and military personnel, portraits of ordinary Afghan people, and depictions of British military camps and activities, structures, landscapes, and cities and towns. The sites shown are all located within the borders of present-day Afghanistan or Pakistan (a part of British India at the time). About a third of the photographs were taken by John Burke (circa 1843–1900), another third by Sir Benjamin Simpson (1831–1923), and the remainder by several other photographers. Some of the photographs are unattributed. The album possibly was compiled by a member of the British Indian government, but this has not been confirmed. How it came to the Library of Congress is not known.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Lord Wm Beresford

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print in an album : albumen


  1. London Gazette, September 9, 1879, http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/24760/pages/5395.
  2. London Gazette, October 10, 1879, http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/24769/pages/5830.
  3. Mrs. Stuart Menzies, Lord William Beresford, V. C.; Some Memories of a Famous Sportsman, Soldier, and Wit (London: H. Jenkins, 1917).

Last updated: September 30, 2016