RFA West Lancs Bdes
681717 GNR. E. SLATER. R.F.A.
Ernest Slater was born on 27 August 1889 in Blackburn and baptised there on 29 September. His father was William Slater (b. 1861), who was a stoker/destructor working for Blackburn Borough Council. His mother was Elizabeth Seed (b. 1862 in Blackburn). William and Elizabeth were married in 1882 and they had seven children, though 3 died young. The survivors were: Thomas (b. 1883), then Ernest, then Beatrice (b. 1892) and Elizabeth. Beatrice also died in 1911 so then there were only three children left alive. In 1911, the family lived at 54 Sandon Street, Blackburn. Ernest was working as a labourer in a cotton mill.
I have little information about Ernest’s military career. He may have signed up in late 1915 or early 1916 and probably served initially with 286 Brigade. As part of 57th Division, 286 Brigade landed in France in February 1917, and the previous month Ernest was married, to Maria Margerison (b. 1893 in Blackburn). Ernest was transferred at some point to 378th Battery in 169th Brigade. 169Bde was an Army artillery brigade, attached to the 3rd Army. The War Diary for 169Bde does not extend beyond the end of January 1917. At the end of the War, 3rd Army was engaged in the pursuit of the Germans beyond Cambrai and towards the Belgian border. Ernest was killed in action near Forest-en-Cambrésis on 2 November 1918. He was 29 years old.
Service No: 681717
Date of Death: 02/11/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, 378th Bty, 169th Bde.
Cemetery/memorial reference: C. 35.
Cemetery/Memorial: FOREST COMMUNAL CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of William and Elizabeth Slater; husband of Marie Slater, of 13 Lodge Street, Blackburn.
After the War, in 1922, Maria married Arthur Edward Crabtree (b. 1896 in Blackburn) and the couple had a daughter, Elsie (b. 1924).