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Saturday, May 18, 2019
Three of my husband's Slatter great uncles were military bandmasters in Canada, often featured in news items of the early and middle 20th century.
Capt. John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954), his brother Capt. Albert William Slatter (1862-1935), and another brother, Capt. Henry Arthur Slatter (1866-1942) were all born into poverty in Whitechapel, London, England. We found some clues to their early military training on the Training Ship Goliath when researching in the London Metropolitan Archives last month.
At left is a 1901 article from Westfield, Massachusetts, singing the praises of Captain John D. Slatter and his 48th Highlanders of Toronto military band, the original "Kilties." Yes, the same Kilties who kicked off the craze for such bands early in the 20th century! That's part of what made Capt. Slatter so famous.
The article below, "Every Inch a Soldier," points out that the good captain actually earned a combat service medal and is expert with a sword, rifle, bayonet, and other weapons. This is from a Dubuque, Iowa newspaper in 1900.
But the story about Capt. Slatter's military background wasn't based on a personal interview or fresh inside information. In fact, it's from a widely-circulated press release of the time. In 1900!
I found very similar wording in lots of U.S. newspapers, as the band's publicity people drummed up interest in tickets to Kiltie concerts from coast to coast.
Clearly, my husband's well-known Toronto bandmaster ancestor had a very savvy public relations person paving the way for his Kiltie band's appearances. Lucky me to have all these news clippings of Capt. Slatter's travels and accomplishments.
PS - Any comments won't appear for a few days but I'll catch up very soon!