Showing posts with label bandmasters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bandmasters. Show all posts

Monday, July 1, 2019

Remembering Great Uncles on Canada Day


Happy Canada Day!

Both my husband and I have immigrant ancestors who settled in Canada . . . and by coincidence, these men were our great uncles.

About Great Uncle Abraham Berk (Burk/Burke)

Above, a snippet from the 1945 publication of Canadian citizenship for my great uncle Abraham Berk (1877-1962) and his wife, Annie Hurwitch Berk (1880-1948). A native of Gargzdai, Lithuania, Abraham was my paternal grandfather Isaac's older brother.

Abraham and Isaac left Lithuania in 1900 or 1901 and stopped in Manchester, England, presumably to learn the language and make some money. I found the Burk/Berk brothers in the 1901 UK Census in Manchester with "Uncle" Isaac Chazan (1863-1921) and his wife, Anna Hinda Hannah Mitav Chazan (1865-1940). After consulting with my Chazan cousins, we've come to the conclusion that Anna (not Isaac) was actually the relative.

Abraham got married in Manchester in 1903 and in 1904, he continued on to Montreal, Canada, his final destination, establishing his business in cabinetmaking. Wife Annie followed in 1905, bringing their baby Rose.

According to the Canadian Census, Abraham was originally naturalized in 1910. Still, he and Annie went through another naturalization process during 1944, results published in 1945, in accordance with the Canadian "Naturalization Act." When my father and mother married, his uncle Abraham served as patriarch of the Burk family and had pride of place in the wedding photos.

About the Slatter Brothers, Hubby's Great Uncles 

Three of the four sons of John Slatter and Mary Shehen Slatter grew up and left London, where they were born and raised, to become well-known military bandmasters in Canada. They were the brothers of my husband's maternal grandma, Mary Slatter Wood.

Albert William Slatter (1862-1935) was the older of the three sons who came to Canada. After a career in the Army, he married, came to Canada, and became part of the Ontario Band in 1906. By 1911, he was living in London, Ontario, with his family and listed his occupation as "bandmaster." By 1921, he was the bandmaster of the Western Ontario Regiment. After a long career in music, Albert retired in 1932 and passed away in November, 1935. Researching Albert again today, I found that he was a member of the United Grand Lodge of England Freemason from 1905 to 1907. Also found a document saying he was with the Shropshire Light Infantry, serving as "Color Sergt & Acting Sergt Major of Volrs" in 1906.

John Daniel Slatter (1864-1954) - at left - was the most famous of the Slatter brothers. At the age of 11, he served as "band sergeant" of the Boy's Band on the Training Ship Goliath, anchored in the Thames River in London. John left London for Toronto in 1884, married in 1887, and was appointed as the first-ever bandmaster of the 48th Highlanders of Toronto in 1896. Captain Slatter toured North America early in the 20th century with his renowned "Kiltie Band" and trained 1,000 buglers for WWI while at Camp Borden in Ontario. Capt. Slatter died in December, 1954.

Henry Arthur Slatter (1866-1942) enlisted at age 11
as a musician in the British Army! At top, a copy of his attestation, joining the Army in Dublin in 1877. He lied and said he was 14 years, 2 months." Later, he became part of the Grenadier Guards. By 1912, he had gone to Canada to become bandmaster of the 72d Highlanders of Vancouver. After his wife died, he remarried, and then went back to Vancouver as reappointed bandmaster of the reorganized 72nd Highlanders in 1920. Henry died in Vancouver on July 15, 1942. I'm still searching for "Jackie Slatter," born in England about 1915 to Henry and his second wife, Kathleen. Come out, come out, wherever you are, Jackie!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Saluting the Veterans in Our Family Trees

With gratitude for their service, today I'm saluting some of the many veterans from my family tree and my husband's family tree.


Let me begin with my husband's Slatter family in Canada. Above, second from left is Capt. John Daniel Slatter of the 48th Highlanders in Toronto. He was my hubby's great uncle, an older brother to hubby's Grandma Mary Slatter Wood, and he was a world-famous bandmaster in his time.

At far left of the photo is Capt. Slatter's son, Lt. Frederick William Slatter, who fought at the Battle of Vimy Ridge during WWI. Third from left is John Hutson Slatter, grandson of Capt. Slatter, who enlisted in the Canadian military in the spring of 1940 for service in WWII. At far right is another of Capt. Slatter's sons, Lt. Albert Matthew Slatter, who served in Canada's No. 4 Company of 15th Battalion and then in the 48th Highlanders of Toronto. (Albert was the father of John Hutson Slatter.)

Grandma Mary Slatter Wood had two other distinguished bandmaster brothers active in the Canadian military early in the 1900s: Henry Arthur Slatter (who served in the 72d Seaforth Highlanders of Vancouver) and Albert William Slatter (who served in the 7th London Fusiliers of Ontario).


In my family tree, a number of folks served in World War II. Above, 2d from left in front row is my father, Harold D. Burk, who was in the US Army Signal Corps in Europe. His brother, Sidney Burk, also served during WWII, stationed in Hawaii. And I've recently written a lot about my aunt, Dorothy Schwartz, who was a WAC and received the Bronze Star for her service in Europe. My uncle, Dorothy's brother Fred, was in Europe serving with the Army, as well.

Meanwhile, my mother, Daisy Schwartz, was busy selling war bonds in NYC and corresponding with maybe a dozen GIs to keep their spirits up. When Mom wrote the historian's report for the Farkas Family Tree association at the end of 1943, she reflected the entire family's feelings about their relatives fighting for freedom.
For the coming year, the earnest hope of all is that 1944 will find the Axis vanquished and our boys home. All that is unrelated to the war effort must be sublimated to the present struggle to which some in our group have pledged their lives. The rest of us pledge our aid. The Allies will be victorious--God is on our side!