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  • Photograph published in the Retford Times, 21st June 1918.
Person Details
Skegness Lincolnshire
Allen Sly and Sarah Ann Hunt were married at Spalding, Lincs in 1880. They moved around Lincolnshire, Allen Sly trying various dealings, grocer, confectioner, shop owner, fruitier, etc. Along the way they produced a large family all born in different parts of Lincolnshire, Spalding, Boston, Grimsby Skegness. Their children were Elizabeth born 1882, Allen,1886, Harriet 1887, Fred 1888, Victoria 1891, May1893 Bertha 1895, George 1897, Robert 1899. The youngest child, Robert was born in Skegness, Lincs and by the time he was 2 in 1901, the family had moved to (and settled down) to 4 Woolpack Street, Retford where Allen the elder, set up a fruit shop. It was Robert who enlisted at a very early age.
He was employed by the Great Northern Railway Co. in the signal department at Doncaster
22 Apr 1918
531112 - CWGC Website
A Bty 52nd Bde Royal Field Artillery
A Bty 52nd Bde Royal Field Artillery Robert Sly joined the army at Doncaster when he was 17 years of age. Following basic training at Newcastle he went to France before his 18th birthday. He then served in Ireland and before returning to France. He was killed on 22 April 1918 and is buried in the La Targette British Cemetery, Neuville-St Vaas, France (grave ref. I.K.3). CWGC - History of La Targette British Cemetery (extract): 'Neuville-St. Vaast is a village 6.5 kilometres north of Arras. La Targette British Cemetery, formerly known as Aux-Rietz Military Cemetery, was begun at the end of April 1917 and used by field ambulances and fighting units until September 1918. Nearly a third of the graves have an artillery connection; in March-April 1917, the artillery of the 2nd Canadian and 5th Divisions, and certain heavy artillery units, had their headquarters in a deep cave at Aux-Rietz. Sixteen graves were brought into the cemetery from the immediate neighbourhood after the Armistice and a further 26 sets of First World War remains were added during the Second World War.' (www.cwgc.org)
Bombardier Robert Sly Retford Times 21st June 1918 'Bombardier Robert Sly, R.F.A., youngest son of the late Mr Allen Sly, Retford and of Mrs Sly, West Ashby, Horncastle, was killed in action on April 22nd last, at the age of 19 years. He was in the employ of the G.N. Railway Co. at Doncaster in the signal department, joined the Army at 17 and after training at Newcastle, crossed to France before he was 18 years of age. Then he was sent to Ireland, and whilst crossing the Irish Sea on home leave, his boat came into collision with a trawler and he lost everything and he was taken off by a destroyer. He came to Retford and after visiting his uncle, Mr G Sly, Spalding and his mother, returned to Ireland and then to France, where he had only been a fortnight, when he was killed. He was a fine young fellow, 6 Foot tall. A brother Cpl Allen Sly, Royal North Lancs, is in Halifax Hospital; another brother, Pte George Sly, Retford Territorials, has been a prisoner of war in Germany eighteen months: a third brother, Pte Fred Sly, Coldstream Guards, after service has been discharged as unfit. The deceased’s battery commander, has sent a letter of sympathy to Mrs Sly stating that he was buried with full military honours. Bombardier Sly’s sisters are Mrs J H Hunt , Whitehall Road, Retford and Mrs Beauchamp, Thrumpton Lane, Retford.'
Remembered on


  • Photograph published in the Retford Times, 21st June 1918.
    Robert Sly - Photograph published in the Retford Times, 21st June 1918.
  • Buried in La Targette British Cemetery, Neuville-St Vaas, France. Photograph Murray Biddle
    Robert Sly - Buried in La Targette British Cemetery, Neuville-St Vaas, France. Photograph Murray Biddle