South Scotland

Hawick soldier who died of tuberculosis honoured

Gravestone Image copyright CWGC
Image caption Pte Alexander Ponton contracted tuberculosis while on active service

A Hawick soldier has been given a Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) headstone more than 100 years after he died from tuberculosis.

A special service also rededicated the grave of Pte Alexander Ponton at Hobkirk parish church.

He died on 14 October 1916 after being discharged from the army with TB contracted while on active service.

Authorities failed to report his death to the CWGC so he has only now received a commission headstone.

Pte Ponton was born in Hawick in 1886, the son of George and Susan Ponton, of Templehall, Hobkirk.

Before enlisting, he was a rural post boy and then an under-gamekeeper and rabbit catcher, and lived at Templehall at Jedburgh in October 1914.

Image copyright Google
Image caption A special ceremony was held in the soldier's honour at Hobkirk parish church

He was a private with the 1st/4th Battalion of the King's Own Scottish Borderers, with the service number 7023, and transferred to 12th Provisional Battalion in May 1915.

He was discharged on medical grounds six months later and died the following year and was buried on 17 October 1916.

The service in his honour was conducted by the Reverend Douglas Nicol at his graveside.

Regional coordinator for the CWGC, Patricia Keppie, said: "We are always honoured to be able to remember those who lost their lives during both world wars, and Alexander is no different.

"Despite him dying due to an illness he contracted during his active service, the CWGC were not informed of his death and were unable to pay a fitting tribute to his bravery with a commission headstone and his name on the roll of honour.

"This has now been rectified with many thanks to the In From the Cold Project, who brought Alexander's case to our attention."

She said it was an "absolute honour" to recognise Pte Ponton and to know that visitors to the cemetery could "remember him for his bravery and dedication to our country".

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