|As noted on the printed captions pasted to the lower part of the two photograph's mounts, No. 4479 Private Alfred Richardson
drowned at Hyderabad while attempting to save the life of No. 4533 Arthur Ponder who had somehow become distressed in the same
canal. While I have been unable to locate the service records - in many cases service records for men who died while in service no
longer exist - for either of these two soldiers but I did obtain certified copies of both of their death certificates which established to
which regiment - 2/Suffolk - they both belonged, the exact location where the accident occurred - the Fallelie Canal as well as their
ages - both 23 8/12 years old.
How the tragedy unfolded is lost to history but had Richardson been successful he would no doubt have been awarded a life saving
medal such as those issued for such actions by the Royal Humane Society. Had his action been successful and had it taken place while
on active duty in the face of the enemy he may have been recommended for the Victoria Cross as Private Samuel Wassall of the 80th
Regiment was in the aftermath of the disaster at Isandlwana during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.
While it is possible that an account of this event made still be found in a regimental history these two photographs may well be the only
reminders of this long ago and all but forgotten episode of tragedy and courage.
Even though Richardson's and Ponder's actual service records have remained elusive some details of the military careers and family
life can be gleaned from the Army Registers of Soldiers Effects 1901-1929. These ledgers were compiled mainly to settle the financial
accounts of deceased soldiers but also contain such information and place of birth, next of kin, date of enlistment, civilian occupation
and date and place of death.
Private Arthur Ponder was born about 1879 at Great Cornard, Sudbury, the youngest of three children of David and Ellen Ponder. The
younger Ponder attested with the 2nd Suffolks on 28 December, 1896. After his untimely death Private Arthur Ponder's army account
was settled for a total of £9-18-10d with £6 of that being what appears to have been a death gratuity. His father David was listed as the
Private Alfred Richardson was born about 1879 at Sawston, Cambridgeshire to George and Amelia Richardson. In the 1881 Census
for Sawston Alfred is shown with an middle or nickname of "Willie". He had attested with the 2nd Suffolks on 28 October, 1896 and
left his father a total of £9-18-7d and life the bequest of Arthur Ponder £6 of that was a death gratuity left to his father George.
|Private No. 4533 Arthur Ponder of the 2nd Battalion, The Suffolk Regiment who drowned at the Fallelie Canal in
Hyderabad on 20 June, 1902.
|No. 4479 Private Alfred Richardson of the 2/Suffolk Regiment who died while attempting to save the life of Private