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Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
1885 - 1916

CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916

Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916

Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916

Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

Pte 21688 William Thomas Wilson Slater

  • Age: 22
  • From: Liverpool
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 19th Btn
  • K.I.A Tuesday 11th July 1916
  • Commemorated at: Thiepval Memorial
    Panel Ref: P&F1D8B &8 C.

21688 Private William Thomas Wilson Slater, 19th Battalion, KLR.

William Thomas Wilson Slater was born in 1894, the second child and eldest son of Captain William Thomas Wilson Slater, a self-employed “general produce merchant” and his wife Margaret Jane ( nee Ellis). His parents married in 1893.  His father had been a mariner for many years, and earned his certificates for 2nd Mate in 1867, 1st Mate in 1873, Master’s Certificate in 1875 and by 1879 was an officer on board the Scythia. He later formed Breckside Confectionery Ltd in 1912. His mother had a daughter, Linda Louisa Ellis, born in 1891, who was raised as Slater. William had younger siblings Gladys Maud, born in 1897, Josephine Adelaide Beatrice 1900, Edward George Wilson 1902, and Arthur Henry Ellis 1904 (who died at age 3).

In 1901 he lived with his parents and three sisters at 25 Richmond Terrace. All born in Liverpool, his father, William, is aged 49 and a general produce merchant, mother Margaret J.  is 31. They have four children in the household; Linda 10, William 7, Gladys Maude 4, Josephine 1.

By 1911 William senior describes himself as a manufacturing confectioner and an employer, still living and possibly trading at 25 Richmond Terrace. He and Margaret have been married for 19 years and have had six children, one of whom died soon after birth. William junior is 16 and said to be a clerk in a merchant’s office.

On 25th September 1914, William enlisted in Liverpool, joining the 19th Battalion as Private 21688. He gave his age as 20 years and 4 months, giving his occupation as bank clerk and his next of kin as his father. He was described as being 5’ 7 and three-quarter inches tall, weighing 141 lbs, 36 inch chest, with a fresh complexion, grey eyes, and brown hair.  He stated his religion as Church of England. He was posted to C Company, 3rd Platoon, 19th Battalion.

Formed on 07th September 1914 the 19th Battalion trained locally at Sefton Park and remained living at home or in rented accommodation until November 1914. They then moved to the hutted accommodation at Lord Derby’s estate at Knowsley Hall. On 30th April 1915 the 19th Battalion alongside the other three Pals battalions left Liverpool via Prescot Station for further training at Belton Park, Grantham. They remained here until September 1915 when they reached Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain. 

While at camp at Belton Park he appeared in the defaulter’s book on two occasions - on 14th May 1915 he was charged with “highly irregular conduct - writing direct to the War Office in London” and was admonished - unfortunately the reason he felt compelled to write does not appear in his record; on 19th July 1915 he was charged with being absent without leave overnight and was “excused”.

On 07th November 1915 he was amongst those who sailed for France.

Between 8th and 13th May 1916 he was in hospital with an I.C.T. leg injury (Inflammation to the Connective Tissue). Discharged on 13th May he rejoined his unit and on 21st June was given leave in the UK, presumably because of the death of his father on 21st May of that year. Interestingly Probate records show that William senior was a “managing director” and left £8,388 17s 9d.

Details of his fathers death were contained in the Liverpool Echo on 24th May 1916:

SLATER - May 21, after a brief and painful illness at his residence, 25 Richmond Terrace, Captain William T. W. Slater, the dearly beloved husband of Margaret Jane Slater. Interment at Anfield Cemetery tomorrow (Thursday) at 3.45p.m.

He returned to his unit in France on 30th June and less than two weeks later was reported missing at Trones Wood, his date of death being officially accepted as 11th July 1916, and his record showing that he was a qualified machine gunner.

The murderous fighting that went on inside Trones Wood rendered it impossible to put specific dates on some of the casualties which is why many of the 17th Battalion losses have been bracketed as killed in action between 10th – 12th July 1916. The conditions are best described in the following passage from Everard Wyrall’s book The History of The King’s Regiment (Liverpool) Volume II. 

The remembrance of Trones Wood in July 1916 to those who passed through it is of a noisome, horrible place, of a tangled mass of trees and undergrowth which had been tossed and flung about in frightful confusion by the shells of both sides. Of the ghastly dead which lay about in all directions, and of DEATH, lurking in every hole and corner with greedy hands ready to snatch the lives of the unwary. The place was a Death trap, and although the attacks were made with great determination,   the presence of snipers who could not be detected and often fired into the backs of our men made the clearing of the wood impossible.

William was initially declared as Missing. Enquiries were made with the International Red Cross in Geneva.  Second Lieutenant W. F. Andrews, from the Administrative Centre, 10th Bn. (Liverpool Scottish) was informed on 09th August 1916 that they held no information on William.  (William Frederick Andrews lived at No.26 Richmond Terrace and must have been a good friend of the family.)  William's sister Linda received the same response on 25th August 1916.

William’s body was not recovered from the battlefield or was subsequently lost as he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. 

On 01st August 1932 the Prince of Wales and the President of France inaugurated the Thiepval Memorial in Picardy. The inscription reads: “Here are recorded the names of officers and men of the British Armies who fell on the Somme battlefields between July 1915 and March 1918 but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death.”

His 1914-15 Star Medal Roll shows rank L/Sgt, shown on the Medal Index Card with a notation, “correct rank Pte.”

Probate in the amount of £1,804 0s 9d was granted to his mother, who also received his Army pay and a War Gratuity of £8.  No pension card has been found.

He is also remembered on the family headstone in Anfield Cemetery, Liverpool where the family placed an epitaph:


Soldiers Effects to mother Margaret J., no Pension record found
Probate 30th November 1917 to Margaret Jane Slater widow. effects £1804 0s 9d
On 24th March 1919 a memorial service was held at the Central Hall in Liverpool:

"For the members of the staffs of the banks in Liverpool & district who have fallen in the war 1914-1918". The printed programme for the service included a list of the men, for each person giving name, bank, rank, and regiment.
William Thomas Wilson Slater Midland Bank 1916 Pte (21688) King's Liverpool Regt

In her sworn declaration of William’s immediate relatives, his mother, living still at 25 Richmond Terrace, states that her husband is deceased and William has a younger brother( Edward George, born in 1902) and 3 sisters - Gladys , 22, Josephine, 20 and Linda, 29 years. His 3 medals were sent to his mother.

His mother died in 1926 aged 57.

Family grave headstone reads:-

The Beloved Husband Of
Who Died On May 6th 1916
Aged 68 Years
At Rest

Son Of The Above
Of 3rd Battn. Liverpool (Pals)
Who Was Killed In Action At Trones Wood 
11th July 1916 Aged 23 Years
"Deeply Regretted"

Wife Of The Above
Who Died 12th August 1926, aged 57 years


We currently have no further information on William Thomas Wilson Slater, If you have or know someone who may be able to add to the history of this soldier, please contact us.

Killed On This Day.

(108 Years this day)
Tuesday 18th July 1916.
Pte 27346 John Mawdsley
34 years old

(106 Years this day)
Thursday 18th July 1918.
Cpl 106108 William Alexander Unsworth
38 years old