The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Sergeant Major Albert Pontin

Ancestor Details

Ancestor's Name: Albert Christopher Pontin

Ancestor's date of birth: 1875

Ancestor's date of death: 01/05/1956

Cause of Death: Age related heart attack

Service and Life Before the Boer War: A labourer by 'trade'. A regular soldier in the Victorian Garrison Artillery posted to Queenscliff, Victoria. He joined the Army in 1896.

Service Number: 894

Colony or State of enlistment: VIC, Place of Enlistment: Queenscliff

Unit: 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles

Rank attained in Boer War: SMAJ, Date Effective: 1901

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): SSGT, Date Effective: 1910

Murray Page: 285

Contingent: Fifth Victorian

Ship: Orient, Argus or City of Lincoln, Date of Sailing: 15/02/1901

Memorial details: Springvale, Victoria, Crematorium, VMR Memorial Melbourne.

Awards/Decorations/Commendations: Queen's South Africa Medal with Cape Colony, Transvaal, Orange Free State, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902. British War Medal. Long service and good conduct medal.

Personal Characteristics: Character was regarded as exemplary in reports. Height 174 cm with fair hair, blue eyes and fair complexion.

Reasons to go and fight: A professional soldiers desire to serve in action

Details of service in war: Service: March 1901 - March 1902 in east Transvaal and Natal frontier, including defeat at Wilmansrust where 18 killed and 42 wounded (12 June 1901), and successful intervention at Onverwacht (4 January 1902); heaviest casualties of any Australian contingent, at Wilmansrust suffered the costliest defeat. Pontin was initially the Sergeant major of the Right Wing but at some point during the tour Murray records that he was elevated to Regimental Sergeant Major. The photo shows him in hospital at some point in the service of 5VMR, it is not clear why but most likely due to illness. He was part of the party that blew up Louis Botha's house. Was at Wilmansrust and helped shoot wounded horses following the action. He and his group were forced to return to Middleburg on foot.

Service and life after the Boer War: Remained in the Royal Australian Artillery, was posted for a while to Queensland for a while as a Sgt in charge of the mounted section Royal Australian Artillery. Later returned to Victoria as a battery quartermaster sergeant. Spent World War one on instructional duties in Australia. Retired in 1921 with over 25 years service.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Rex Peters, Kingsford NSW,
Relationship to Ancestor: Grand Son

Name of Descendant: Ian Peters, Kingsford NSW
Relationship to Ancestor: Great Grandson


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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields