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William Edward was born in Preston in 1896 and was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Slater (nee Airey).

Thomas Slater and Elizabeth Airey were married on 19th September 1886 at All Saints Church, Preston. Thomas and Elizabeth had another six children and these were, Caroline (1888), Alice (1890), Isabella (1894), John (1901), Benjamin (1903) and Elizabeth (1906).

In the 1911 Census William Edward is living with his parents and brothers and sisters in a 5 roomed house in Kent Street, Preston. William was working as a biscuit maker while his father Thomas was employed as a cotton spinner in a local mill.  Also in the household was another lady called Alice Slater, she is recorded as Grandmother.

William Edward enlisted at Preston on 15th September 1914 for the duration of the war. He was 5`8” tall and weighed 114lbs. He had blue eyes, fair hair and a fresh complexion. He confirmed his father Thomas as his next of kin and the address of 66 Frank Street, Preston.

On the 8th April 1915 William Edward forfeited 1 days’ pay for “absenting himself off pass from 12 midnight until 10pm on the 9th April”.

On the 25th September 1915 William together with the rest of the Battalion sailed from Folkestone on the SS St. Seiriol bound for Boulogne.

Twelve months later on the 25th September 1916 William was appointed Lance Corporal (paid).

By the 31st October 1916 the 25th Division had taken over the Ploegsteert sector and Christmas Day of that year was spent in the trenches around Ploegsteert Wood.

The following month on 27th January 1917 William Edward Slater was killed instantly by a heavy trench mortar.

The following newspaper article was published in the paper a short while afterwards.


William Edward Slater received the 1914/15 Star, British War and Victory Medals for his services in the war. No personal effects were returned to his family in Preston. William is buried with honour in Berks Cemetery Extension, Hainaut, Belgium.

Photo taken October 2016

Photo taken October 2016

Rank: Lance Corporal
Service No: 15378
Date of Death: 27/01/1917
Age: 20
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 9th Bn.

Research completed by Janet Davis

Janet Davis
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