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  • Commemorated on parents' headstone, Mansfield (Nottingham Road) Cemetery.
Person Details
15 Mar 1881
Mansfield Nottinghamshire
William was the son of James and Jane Slack (née Colley). Both his parents were born in Mansfield, James in 1945 and Jane also in about 1845. They were married at Mansfield St John the Evangelist on 28 October 1866. There were no details on the 1911 Census of the number of children they had had, but from the names on the census between 1871 and 1911 they probably had at least ten including two who died young. The children were born in Mansfield and baptised at St John the Evangelist: Annie b. abt. 1868 baptised April 1869; Gilbert birth registered 1870 (J/F/M) bap. April 1870 d. 1870; Harry b. 1871 bap. October 1877; Jane b. abt 1874 bap. October 1877; Samuel b. abt. 1875 d. after 1881/before 1891; James birth registered 1877 bap. October 1877; Fred b. 1879 bap. September 1879; William b. 15 March 1881 bap. 7 September 1881; Edith b. 1883 bap. March 1886 and Sam b. 1885 bap. March 1886. James and Jane were living at 64 Wood Street, Mansfield, when their daughter Annie was baptised in 1869 and still at the same address at the time of the 1871 Census. The family moved to 3 The Rookery, Mansfield, later that year and was recorded there on the 1881 Census and also in 1891: James, a framwork knitter, Jane, Ann, Harry, and James who were cotton mill hands, Fred, William, Edith and Sam (b. 1885). By 1901 James, a foundry labourer, and Jane had moved to 8 Westfield Lane, Mansfield. Only four of their eight surviving children were still living at home: Fred an iron moulder, William a stoker (gas works), Edith a hosiery mender and Sam an iron moulder. Three of their children were married: Harry to Agnes Smith Butler in 1892 and living in Mansfield with their son; Jane to Frederick William James in 1897 (Mansfield SS Peter & Paul) and James to Lilian Pears in 1900 (reg. Barrow in Furness) and living in Barrow in Furness where James worked as an iron moulder. The eldest daughter Annie was working as a domestic servant in Sandiacre in the household of Joseph Austin, a lace maker (employer) and his family. William married Annie Eliza Colman, the daughter of John Keane Colman (grocer), at Mansfield St John the Evangelist on 26 October 1901. They had four children: Annie b. 1902, Ellen Mary birth registered 1904 (J/F/M), William Colman birth registered 1906 (J/F/M) and Sam b. 1907. The family later emigrated to Canada. William left from Liverpool on 19 November 1909 (SS Empress of Britain) for St John, New Brunswick, while his wife and four children left Liverpool for Quebec on 26 May 1910 (SS Virginian). They were living in Hamilton, Ontario, when William enlisted in 1915 but the later CWGC record gave his widow's address as Forsythe Street, Fort Erie, Ontario. James Slack snr. died in 1909 and in 1911 his widow was living with her married daughter Edith Gill (m. John William Gill 1905) on Lindley Street, Mansfield. Two of Jane's sons were unmarried: Fred, an asphalter, who was living at 12 Westfield Lane, Mansfield, and Sam who had joined the Royal Navy as a 2nd Class Stoker in October 1906 on a 12 year engagement (5 years RN 7 years Royal Fleet Reserve) and who did not transfer to the RFR until October 1911. Sam married Margaret Matthews in 1913. Only Annie has not yet been traced on the 1911 Census but in 1921 she was living with her married sister, Edith Gill, and her family in Mansfield. Fred died aged 34 at Lindley Street, Mansfield on 31 December 1913. His mother Jane died the following year on 10 May 1914, also at Lindley Street. Probate was awarded to her son Harry, a chemical works foreman, and her married daughter Edith Gill. Sam, who had transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve (Stoker 1st Class) in October 1911, was mobilised on 2 August 1914. He was probably transferred to the Royal Naval Division (Collingwood Battalion) and been interred in Holland after the retreat from Antwerp in 1914. However, he appears to have rejoined the Fleet and was not demobilized until February 1919.
1898 employed as a moulder by Sansom, Mansfield. 1901, stoker (gas works). 1915 (Canada) - moulder.
15 Jul 1916
497792 - CWGC Website
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Lance Corporal
Canadian Infantry
William declared on attesting in the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force that he had previously served in the Militia, 4th Bn. Notts & Derby Regiment (6556 Private). He had enlisted in the Militia on 26 October 1898, aged 17 years 7 months, unmarried and employed at Sansom, Mansfield, as a moulder. He completed the 49 days basic training but left the Militia in March the following year. William enlisted in the 37th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force on 24 June 1915 and served with the 18th Battalion, Ontario Regiment, Canadian Infantry. The Canadian attestation record gave his age as 34 (date of birth 15 March 1881, Mansfield), occupation moulder. His next of kin was his wife, Annie Slack, address Hamilton, Ontario (other details illegible). William died on 15 July 1916 and is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, France (grave ref. XIV.A.2). Given the place of burial, William probably died in hospital either as a result of wounds received in action or illness. CWGC - History of Etaples Military Cemetery (extract): 'During the First World War, the area around Etaples was the scene of immense concentrations of Commonwealth reinforcement camps and hospitals. It was remote from attack, except from aircraft, and accessible by railway from both the northern or the southern battlefields. In 1917, 100,000 troops were camped among the sand dunes and the hospitals, which included eleven general, one stationary, four Red Cross hospitals and a convalescent depot, could deal with 22,000 wounded or sick. In September 1919, ten months after the Armistice, three hospitals and the Q.M.A.A.C. convalescent depot remained.' (www.cwgc.org)
CWGC headstone personal inscription: 'Lo I am with you alway even unto the end of the world St Matt. XXVIII 20.' CWGC Additional information: 'Son of James and Jane Slack, of Westfield Lane, Mansfield, Notts; husband of Annie E. Slack, of Forsythe St., Fort Erie, Ontario.' Mansfield (Nottingham Road) Cemetery, inscription headstone: ‘In loving memory of James, the beloved husband of Jane Slack who died August 9th 1909. Aged 63 years. His end was peace. Also of Jane, the beloved wife of the above, died May 10th 1914 aged 68 years. Until the day break. Also of Fred, their son, died Dec. 31st 1913 aged 34 years. My soul fleeth unto the Lord. Also William their son who died on active service in France July 15th 1916, aged 35 (sic) years. Duty nobly done.’
Remembered on


  • Commemorated on parents' headstone, Mansfield (Nottingham Road) Cemetery.
    William Slack - Commemorated on parents' headstone, Mansfield (Nottingham Road) Cemetery.
  • Photograph www.veterans.gc.ca. Enrolled with the 37th Battalion CEF, served 18th Bn Ontario Regiment, Canadian Infantry.
    William Slack - Photograph www.veterans.gc.ca. Enrolled with the 37th Battalion CEF, served 18th Bn Ontario Regiment, Canadian Infantry.
  • Buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, France. (www.cwgc.org)
    William Slack - Buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, France. (www.cwgc.org)