Noel Beresford-Peirse

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Noel Beresford-Peirse
Nickname(s) "BP"[1]
Born (1887-12-22)22 December 1887
Died 14 January 1953(1953-01-14) (aged 65)
Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1907–1947
Rank Lieutenant-General
Unit Royal Artillery
Commands held 4th Indian Infantry Division 5 August 1940 – 13 April 1941
Western Desert Force (14 April 1941 – 18 September 1941)
British Troops in Sudan & Sudan Defence Force (4 October 1941 – 3 April 1942)
XV Indian Corps (9 April 1942 – 9 June 1942)
Southern Army, India (1942–1945)
Battles/wars World War I

World War II

Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Mentioned in Despatches (3)

Lieutenant-General Sir Noel Monson de la Poer Beresford-Peirse KBE, CB, DSO (22 December 1887 – 14 January 1953) was a British Army officer.

Family background

Beresford-Peirse was the son of Colonel William John de la Poer Beresford-Peirse and Mary, daughter of Thomas Chambers of Aberfoyle, County Londonderry. He was educated at Wellington College, Berkshire and at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and commissiohed into the Royal Artillery.

He was married three times. The first marriage (in 1912) was to Hazel Marjorie, daughter of J.A. Cochrane, Riverina, Australia. The marriage ended in divorce in 1924. The second marriage (in 1925) was to Jean, only child of Surgeon-Captain R.D. Jameson, CMG, RN. Jean died in 1926. In 1929 he married Katharine Camilla, daughter of Colonel James Morris Colquhoun Colvin, VC. All three marriages were childless.

Military career

Beresford-Peirse was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1907. He served in the First World War in, briefly, Egypt in 1914 then Mesopotamia back to Egypt and finally France and Belgium. He was Mentioned in Dispatches and awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1918. After the First World War and after attendance at the Staff College, Camberley from 1924 to 1925, until 1929, he performed a number of roles in the Royal Artillery in France and Britain. There were then staff and administrative posts in the UK until 1935. In 1937, Beresford-Peirse was posted to India for "special duties" and subsequently he served two years as an instructor at the Senior Officers' School, Belgaum in India. He was Brigadier in the Royal Artillery, Southern India Command during 1939 and 1940 and Aide-de-Camp to King George VI in 1939 and 1940.

At the beginning of the Second World War Beresford-Peirse was the Commander of Artillery for the Indian 4th Infantry Division, which at the time was based in Egypt. He was promoted to command the division in August 1940[2] and led it in North Africa (Operation Compass) and Sudan (the East African Campaign).

In March 1941 he was knighted via Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE)[3] and on 14 April 1941 he was given command of the Western Desert Force[2] (later redesignated XIII Corps). He commanded the British forces in Sudan from October 1941 to April 1942 when he was put in command of the Indian XV Corps and then, from June 1942, the Southern Army in India until 31 March 1945.[2]

Beresford-Peirse was Welfare General of the India Command between April 1945 and 1946.[2] He retired on 13 June 1947,[2] joining the Regular Army Reserve of Officers, and died in 1953.


  1. ^ Mead, p. 61.
  2. ^ a b c d e Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
  3. ^ London Gazette 4 March 1941


  • Mead, Richard (2007). Churchill's Lions: A biographical guide to the key British generals of World War II. Stroud (UK): Spellmount. ISBN 978-1-86227-431-0.

External links

  • The Peerage Web Site
  • British Army Officers 1939–1945
Military offices
Preceded by
Richard O'Connor
April 1941–September 1941
Succeeded by
Reade Godwin-Austen
Preceded by
Sir Brodie Haig
GOC-in-C, Southern Army, India
1942 – 1945
Succeeded by
Sir Rob Lockhart
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