Private Thomas Charles Francis Slater


Thomas Charles Francis Slater was born in June 1881 at Bedminster, Somerset, the fourth of ten children of cotton spinner James Slater and his wife Mary Jane (née Beech). In the late 1890s he enlisted in the 3rd (Prince of Wales's) Dragoon Guards (No.4615), serving in South Africa during the Boer War.

On 14 October 1906, while stationed at the Curragh Camp, County Kildare, he married Mary Sarah Kirkwood at Christ Church, Belfast. The couple had four children over the next thirteen years.

Slater left the army around 1907, settling in Belfast. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living in Albany Street, Shankill, with his wife, two children and his sister-in-law, and working as a stable-man.

On 6 or 7 October 1914 he enlisted in the North Irish Horse (No.1279 – later Corps of Hussars No.71318). On 1 May 1915 he embarked for France with D Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 51st Division.

In May 1916 D Squadron came together with A and E Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until February-March 1918, when the regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

Slater remained with the regiment throughout the war, though how much time he spent in France and Belgium and how much at the Antrim depot is not known at present. On 25 February 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. He was granted a pension from 12 May that year, as he was suffering from nephritis, a kidney condition, which was attributed to his military service. In November 1919 his level of disability was assessed at 100 per cent, although this improved gradually over the following years.

Following his demobilisation, Slater lived at 98 Malvern Street, Belfast. He died at the UVF Hospital, Craigavon, on 24 October 1926, and was buried in the City Cemetery, Glenalina Extension.