Lord Hugh Tristam de la Poer Beresford, a naval officer, inherited Woodhouse from his aunt in 1934. His surviving letters allow us to piece together an interesting personality...
Lord Hugh Tristam de la Poer Beresford was the youngest of six children born to Henry, the 6th Marquess of Waterford and his wife Beatrix on 1st October 1908. He grew up at Curraghmore House, Portlaw, the ancestral seat of Lord Waterford, and had a typical childhood for someone of his social class -- a succession of nannies and governesses, followed by education at an English boarding school.
Many of Hugh's letters, written throughout his life, still survive, giving us a greater insight into who he was. He joined the Royal Navy and was posted all over, from Malta to Shanghai, but managed to keep up a steady stream of correspondence, paarticularly with his mother, with whom he enjoyed a close relationship.
While on service, during his leisure time he continued to keep up the pursuits typical of a lord such as polo, golf, tennis, hockey and cricket, but a letter written home in 1935 when he was stationed in South Africa shows he was also concerned by more serious political issues. In it, he grapples with his identity as an Anglo-Irish Protestant peer, who nevertheless, felt himself an Irishman, and voices his concerns about staying in the British Navy.
He met with President de Valera in August 1939 to offer his service and influence to strengthen the Irish State, once the war concluded. De Valera was impressed by the peer, but his plans never came to pass because on the 23rd May 1943, Lord Hugh's ship, the HMS Kelly, was sunk in a sea battle off the coast of Crete. His body was retrieved and buried at the El Alamein war cemetry in Egypt. A plaque to his memory can be found at Clonagam Church, Portlaw.
|Date of Birth||1st Oct 1908|
|Date of Death||23rd May 1941|
|Associated Building (s)||Woodhouse|
|Image of memorial plaque in Portlaw||Ireland||VIEW SOURCE|