Thomas CLAUDE Ponsford

Date of birth: 15th December 1897
Place of birth: Southampton
Regiment: Hampshire
Battalion: 1/8th
Rank / Service No: Serjeant, 330291
Died: 6th November 1917, aged 20 years
Buried: Deir El Belah War Cemetery, Palestine


Before the War 

Claude was born Thomas Claude on 15th December 1897 in Southampton, to Walter ( 04/06/1867 – 06/04/1937) and Florence Rose Ponsford (nee Masters 1871 – 16/03/1939). His parents were married in Southampton in 1892. Florence’s probate read:


‘PONSFORD Florence Rose of Glencoe Glenfield Avenue Bitterne Southampton widow died 16 March 1939 at Winn Road Nursing Home 16 Winn Road Southampton. Probate London 20 July to Florence Daisy Ellis (wife of Trevor Lacey Ellis) Gladys Cox (wife of Reuben Edwin Cox) and Reginald Ponsford master butcher. Effects £2488 13s. 10d.’


Claude’s siblings were:


Florence Daisy (1892 – 1963)

Florence married Trevor Lacey Ellis (21/07/1893 – 1982) in the New Forest in 1922


Gladys ( 04/01/1894 – 1987)

Gladys married Reuben E Cox (1890 – 1967) in Southampton in 1921.


Walter Roy (05/06/1892 – 1981)

Walter married Lily Victoria Fanny Francis ( 11/03/1893 – 29/05/1955) in Southampton in 1914.


Dorothy Lilian Masters (1900)

There is a death record in 1901 for a Dorothy L M Ponsford, but she is named on the 1911 census as living with her father. There is also a marriage record in 1928 for a Dorothy Lilian to Timothy C Evans, and a death record for her in 1987, but it is not known if any of this information is correct.


Reginald (15/07/1902 – 18/10/1960)

Reginald married Ethel May Keeping (23/08/1904 – 1981) in Portsmouth in 1933.


Harold Victor (02/06/1904 – 26/09/1963)

Harold married Matilda Miriam Daisy Dalwood (14/012/1903) in Tasmania, Australia on 22nd November 1924. He was working as an Insurance Superintendent when he enlisted in the 2nd Australian Imperial Forces, on 6th June 1940.

Harold died in Southampton and there is a probate record dated 10th June 1966 in Melbourne, Australia. A plaque in the Springvale Botanical Cemetery, Victoria, Australia reads: 



2/12 FD. REGT. R.A.A.

26-9-1963   AGED 59′ 


Norman Peter (15/10/1908 – 09/08/1947)

A marriage record cannot be found and the probate record dated 21st March 1951 shows that he left his effects to his brother Reginald.


When the census was taken on 31st March 1901 Claude was living at 138 Northam Road, Southampton with his parents, sisters Florence Daisy aged 8, Gladys aged 6, eight month old Dorothy and brother Walter aged 5.

The 1911 census shows that Claude was living at 123 Northam Road, Southampton with his father and his siblings Florence, Dorothy and Reginald. Also living here was a domestic servant.

In 1911 Claude’s mother was living at Bath Cottage, Bucklers Hard, Beaulieu, Hampshire, with her sons Walter (known as Roy), Harold and Norman.


Military History 

Claude enlisted in the Hampshire Regiment as Private 8/1542 and disembarked in August 1915. The war diary of 10th August 1915 for 1/8th (Isle of Wight Rifles, princess Beatrice’s) Battalion read:


‘The Battalion landed at Suvla Bay and at 10.30pm immediately went on outpost’


The battalion were evacuated from Gallipoli and arrived in Egypt on 19th December 1915. They moved into Palestine as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, which was a British Empire military formation, formed on 10th March 1916.


Claude’s battalion took part in the 3rd Battle of Gaza which took place between 31st October and 7th November 1917. He died on 6th November 1917, from wounds received, possibly from this conflict.


His effects were left to his father, Walter


Claude was awarded the 1914 – 1915 Star, the Victory and British War Medals.


He is buried at Deir El Belah War Cemetery which is in Palestine and located east of the Egyptian border. The cemetery was damaged during a bomb attack in April 2008, but no graves were affected.


The cemetery was started in March 1917 and remained in used until March 1919. It contains 724 Commonwealth burials from the First World War and these names are also recorded on panels in the cemetery.


Researcher: Jackie Chandler
Published: 28th October 2016


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