John Ponsonby (British Army officer)

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Sir John Ponsonby
Sir John Ponsoonby.jpg
Born(1866-03-25)25 March 1866
Died26 March 1952(1952-03-26) (aged 86)
AllegianceUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service1888–1928
Commands held2nd Guards Brigade
40th Division
5th Infantry Division
Madras District
Battles/warsSecond Boer War
World War I
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order

Major-General Sir John Ponsonby, KCB, CMG, DSO (25 March 1866 – 26 March 1952) was a British Army officer who commanded 5th Division during World War I.

Military career[edit]

Born the son of Sir Henry Ponsonby and educated at Eton College, Ponsonby was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards in 1888.[1] He served in Uganda from 1898 and was seconded for service in the Second Boer War in South Africa in March 1900, and attached to the Rhodesian Field Force.[2] He was again sent to South Africa in February 1902.[3][1] He fought in World War I as Commander of the 2nd Guards Brigade from 1915 and then as General Officer Commanding 40th Division from 1917, leading his Division at the Battle of Cambrai.[4] In July 1918 he went on to become General Officer Commanding 5th Division remaining in that role until the end of the War.[4] After the War he became General Officer Commanding the Madras District of India.[4] He retired in 1926.[5]

He lived at Haile Hall near Beckermet in Cumbria.[4]


In 1935 he married Mary (Mollie) Robley; they had no children.[4]


  1. ^ a b Armorial families: a directory of gentlemen of coat-armour (Volume 2) by Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, p. 132.
  2. ^ "The War - The Rhodesian Field Force". The Times (36091). London. 16 March 1900. p. 6.
  3. ^ "No. 27413". The London Gazette. 4 March 1902. p. 1538.
  4. ^ a b c d e Earl of Bessborough family update The Times, 20 May 2004.
  5. ^ "Army Commands" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
Military offices
Preceded by
Reginald Stephens
General Officer Commanding the 5th Division
Succeeded by
Hugh Jeudwine
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Morland
Colonel of the Suffolk Regiment
1925 – 1939
Succeeded by
Sir Walter Norris Nicholson