Showing posts with label Camp Borden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Camp Borden. Show all posts

Friday, November 22, 2019

Treasured Heirlooms: Slatter Family

World War I bugle from Slatter family
Hubby's great uncle, Captain John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954) was a renowned military bandmaster with the 48th Highlanders Regiment of Toronto. But before that, he was a very poor boy from the Whitechapel section of London, who was placed on two successive training ships on the Thames to learn military and musical skills.

At age 11, he was on H.M. Training Ship Goliath, listed as band sergeant and solo cornet of the boy's band. A few years later, he was able to enlist in the Army. Then, after a stint in the 7th Fusiliers, he married and went to Toronto, where in 1896 he was the founding director of the 48th Highlanders kiltie band. He and the band toured the world in the early years of the 20th century, popularizing the kiltie band craze and serving as proud ambassadors for the 48th Highlanders.

During World War I, Capt. Slatter was Director of Brass and Bugle Bands for Canadian Military District #2. While stationed at Camp Borden, he trained 1,000 buglers during the war years.

My husband inherited a WWI bugle that we strongly believe was Capt. Slatter's, given to his youngest sister, Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925). She was hubby's paternal grandmother, and she left several WWI artifacts to the family. This is just one. Another is a Tipperary handkerchief that is quite well preserved, now safely stored in an archival box (inside archival tissue paper) for future generations to enjoy.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

52 Ancestors #2: Researching the Slatter Portrait

This week's #52Ancestors challenge is to write about my favorite genealogy portrait.

The portrait at left was passed down in my husband's family for 100 years. It's a studio portrait taken in Toronto, showing a military man in full uniform, holding a baton. Who was he? No caption, but my sister-in-law remembered a name like "Captain E. Slatter."


A second photo, at right, had more clues. On the back was written:

Camp Borden, Ont. 1917
Standing outside my tent
I only put my kilt on for special occasions in camp as it is so dusty with sand blowing all day 


After I posted these photos in 2011, a sharp-eyed reader identified the uniform as that of the 48th Highlanders of Toronto. I emailed the 48th Highlanders Museum in Toronto and heard back from one of the volunteers, who identified the man as Captain John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954), a beloved bandmaster who led the 48th Highlanders band for 50 years.

Now I knew Capt. Slatter was my husband's great uncle, brother to Mary Slatter Wood!

I've done a lot of research into Capt. Slatter's background, even visited Toronto to see the 48th Highlanders museum. But there's always more info out there, and I'm always on the lookout.
Today, I found a lengthy mention of Capt. Slatter in the book, Training for Armageddon: Niagara Camp in the Great War, 1914-1917, by Richard D. Merritt.

This book actually confirms that Capt. Slatter had his own tent at Camp Borden, Ontario--the very tent shown in the captioned photo passed down in the family!

Here's an excerpt:

"On the morning of departure [for WWI training], the university soldiers marched through the streets of Toronto with great fanfare down to the dock, led by their newly formed brass band under the direction of the legendary bandmaster Captain John Slatter . . . Slatter was assigned his own canvas tent where he could relax in the evenings while reviewing the next day's music program and perhaps reminisce on his already remarkable career. . . Slatter was appointed Director of Brass and Bugle bands for Military District #2 at Camp Borden, training 63 army bands and over a thousand buglers until the end of the Great War."



Monday, June 24, 2013

Military Monday: Oh Canada! WWI Military Badges

Heirloom belt from WWI
I saw this wonderful belt for the first time on Saturday, when a family discussion about genealogy reminded the current owner that he had this in his possession. Hubby remembered seeing it in the attic of his childhood home many decades ago.

It was passed down by a Canadian relative--mostly likely Captain John Daniel Slatter of the 48th Highlanders of Toronto. Capt. Jack, as we like to call him, was hubby's great-uncle, one of three military bandmasters in the Slatter family.

Capt. Jack was very close to his sister, Mary Slatter Wood (who married James Edgar Wood in Ohio). We have a couple of photos of him: One, above, shows him at Camp Borden in Canada in 1917, where he trained dozens of military bands and 1,000 buglers.

According to the 48th Highlanders Regimental Museum, Capt. Jack's military record was:

1874-6    Training Ship Royal Harry
1876-81  Royal Fusiliers
1881-6    "A" Battery Royal Canadian Artillery (Quebec City and Northwest Battalion)
1916-9    Officer-in-Charge of Training Bands & Buglers, Military District #2
1896-1946  48th Highlanders of Canada (based in Toronto)

Because he was in charge of training, he would have been able to trade badges with many of the military men he trained.

Above and below are the first closeups of the badges on this incredible heirloom belt. More to come soon, leading up to Canada Day on July 1st.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Military Monday: Capt. Slatter at Camp Borden, Ontario

This is Captain Slatter*, who is related (somehow) to my husband's grandmother Mary Slatter Wood. The reverse of this photo, handed down in the family, has a handwritten notation:
Camp Borden, Ont. 1917
Standing outside my tent
I only put my kilt on for special occasions in camp as it is so dusty with sand blowing all day.

Capt. Slatter's hat is the same as he's wearing in the earlier photo below, taken in Toronto, where he has on a dress kilt and is holding a baton. (A bandmaster?) I can't distinguish the insignia, rank, etc. on either uniform. Any ideas would be much appreciated!

Camp Borden was the WWI training grounds of Canada's Royal Flying Corps. Mary and her brothers John, Albert, and Harry Slatter (and sister Mrs. James F. Baker) came from England to Winnipeg, and the rest stayed in Canada. Exactly who Captain Slatter is, I can't tell (yet). Mary died in 1925 and her obit mentions her sister and three brothers, but no "E. Slatter." Perhaps he died before Mary. And how Mary got to Toledo, Ohio, by 1898 (when and where she married James Edgar Wood) is a mystery, as well.*



Thanks to Darcy, whose comment is below, I think the mystery of the uniform is solved: This appears to be of the 48th Highlanders, as shown in the above sketch from Anthony R. Percival's page from the University of Toronto. I've written the 48th, with the photos, to ask for confirmation. A very good start! Darcy, your help is much appreciated.

*Update: This is Captain John Daniel Slatter. The 48th Highlanders identified him for me! See my later post here. For more, including the answers to my questions in this early post, go to the Slatter family landing page at top of this blog.