Berkeley Townsend is an agent with British Intelligence.
The adventures of this very interesting secret agent take place in the early days of the 20th century and jump over a few years between tales so we find him as a relatively young man of 30 in the first, 42 in the second, and 50 in the third.
Townsend is described as "perhaps underweight for his six feet of height. His face was somewhat long as well, but was not unhandsome, dominated by the clear blue eyes, the strong chin. He sat straight, and rode like the cavalryman he had been, until recently, and often wished he still was." Elsewhere we find references to "his features, somewhat aquiline and not unhandsome, but hard-mouthed and strong-chinned; his blue eyes were permanently watchful, yet always revealed the unchanging good humour that dominated his personality, and which, he did not doubt, had helped to preserve his life on more than one occasion."
The earlier reference to the cavalry points out the career he was happily working and would have still been serving had not he been wounded by "a Dervish spear at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898" while a junior subaltern in the army. This severe injury left him with a slight but noticeable limp and ended his plans. He likely would have been released from the service had not he possessed an excellent skill with languages and spoke several European ones like a native.
This meant that instead of civilian life, he stayed with the War Office through a move into the intelligence field where this ability with languages, "his skill as a military draughtsman, and his ability as a horseman, together with his ruthless dedication to duty" made him the perfect man to travel about the Continent observing all manner of military fortifications for the next great war that nobody really wanted but everyone knew was coming.
The first recorded adventure takes place a half decade before "the war to end all wars", the second just after the end of that horrible conflict, and the third a decade before the start of the Second World War. Townsend will mature over that time but will never lose the determination to serve the Crown as best as he can.