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Introduction to Slator and Nugent family history

Descendants of Daniel Nugent and Margaret Russell

  • this page is: Jack Slator and Mary Nugent

Tribute to Danny Slator (1926-1944)

Slator Family Tree

Tracing Lines of Descent (or, what are first cousins, once removed?)

Peter Keating and Christina Anderson page (my mother's side of the family)

What Web page would be complete without a link to soccer coverage by The Irish Times?

"Who am I? Why am I here?"

Historical and other links of interest

John (Jack) Slator (1892-1976)

Jack Slator in 1950

Born in Ireland, Raised in England

John (Jack) Slator was born on May (or possibly April) 17, 1892, in Rathmines parish, Dublin, Ireland. Jack was apparently baptized Catholic, not Protestant, as previously thought. Jack's father, Daniel, and his mother Helen (or possibly Ellen) (nee Lewis) were apparently natives of Ireland themselves. Jack's only sibling was named James, and he apparently died in World War I.

I wrote to the Irish government for a copy of Jack's birth certificate, but they recently replied that they could not locate it. This is consistent with the experiences he had in attempting to locate his birth certificate. He apparently was under the impression it was destroyed when the Charlmont House was burned in 1922.

When Jack was a child, his family moved to Liverpool, England. It is unclear whether the move occurred when he was very young (he had an English accent), or after he turned age 13, in 1905. Jack's goal was to become a cabinetmaker, but his family enrolled him in a shoemaking apprenticeship when he was 13 years old (although age 14 was the minimum).

According my dear Aunt Helen:

[Jack] wanted to be a cabinet-maker, but his family put him out when he was 13 to be a shoemaker. And when the inspector came around, they used to hide him in the closet because you had to be 14 to be an apprentice. But he really wanted to be a cabinet-maker, he didn't want to be a shoemaker, but he didn't have any say, of course.

Speaking of Jack's occupation, I heard some time ago that the origin of our suname was occupational, as in roof slater or tiler. This appears to be correct, since Jack listed his father's occupation as "roofer."

Jack's mother, Helen, died in either 1911 or 1913, at age 62, from kidney problems. Jack's father, Daniel, died in 1914 at the age of 67, of "old age."

Returns to Ireland

Jack went back to Ireland to find his relatives, and apparently while he was there, England entered World War I. Jack was already in the army at that time, and was sent to Tipperary, Ireland. (It appears the headquarters of the 49th brigade was located in Tipperary in spring 1915. Source: "The Chronology of the 16th Irish Division," This is where he met my grandmother, Mary Nugent, who I believe was only about 19 years-old.1. Jack and Mary were married on April 30, 1915, in Tipperary. His occupation was listed as "soldier," and his residence was "military barracks, Tipperary." Mary's occupation was listed as "machinist," and her residence was "Davitt Street, Tipperary."1

Service in the English Army

Banner of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Jack was a member of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (the regimental crest is at left), a northern Irish regiment known as "The Skins," that can trace its history back to 1689. He achieved the rank of sergeant. He was apparently in the 8th (Service) Battalion of the R.I.F. (On a "Certificate of Employment During the War," his unit is listed as "Depot".) The 8th Battalion was formed at Omagh, October 1914, as part of Kitchener's Second New Army. In October 1914 it was attached to 49th Brigade, 16th (Irish) Division. One of these years I'd like to visit the regimental museum, which is located in the Keep of Enniskillen Castle. The castle is located in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Ireland.

Banner of the 16th Irish Division The 16th Division arrived in France in December 1915. It served in France and Flanders until April 1918 when the Division was reduced to Cadre and returned to England. The Division was reconstituted and returned to France in July 1918, and served in France and Flanders until the Armistice. On August 23, 1917, the 8th Battalion was amalgamated with 7th Battalion to become 7/8th Battalion.1

The 16th Irish Division was a "forgotten division," which, ironically, fought alongside the loyalist 36th Ulster Division. These remarks were made in the Irish Parliament on November 12, 1998, as part of "First World War Anniversary Statements":

One of the most famous regiments was the 16th Irish Division, which fought with the 36th Ulster Division in the closing stages of the war. The exploits of the 36th Ulster Division continue to be remembered, mainly in unionist circles. However the brave and dutiful men of the 16th Irish Division are not often remembered because the Ireland from which they joined to fight for the freedom of small nations had undergone a sea-change in nationalist aspirations by 1918.2

Jack Slator was "gassed" with mustard gas during the war, and he suffered from emphysema for the rest of his life as a consequence. According to the Web site of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association, the 16th Irish Division was attacked with mustard gas in April 1916, at the same time the Easter Rising was occurring in Ireland. It is not known whether or not Jack Slator was gassed at this time, but I suppose it's possible. Here's an account of the horror of that attack:

The week of the Easter Rising in Ireland, the Irish of the 16th were at the front near Loos. A German gas attack on the Irish trenches caused devastation: about 1,590 injured, 538 dead. An RDF Chaplain writing to his father wrote:

There they lay, scores of them (we lost 800, nearly all from gas) in the bottom of the trench, in every conceivable posture of human agony; the cloths torn off their bodies in a vain effort to breathe while from end to end of that valley of death came one long unceasing moan from the lips of brave men fighting and struggling for life.

Private Joseph Pender, regimental number 8477, of the 9th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers, died on 27th of April 1916 from gas poisoning. He and 8th Battalion Fusilier, Paddy Byrne, died in agony, lungs burning from the effects of the gas, both aged just 17.

Two days later, the Germans experienced the horrors of gas, when having launched another attack, the wind changed and the poison blew back into their own trenches. 3

Battle of Estaire: soldiers blinded by gas standing in line at a first-aid post near Béthune, 10 April 1918The Web site of the International Committee of the Red Cross, however, says Germany did not use mustard gas until July 1917, near the town of Ypres, Belgium. The ICRC Web site also says the first poisonous weapons emerged in the fighting on the western front in 1915.

The 16th Irish Division was involved in many battles and campaigns in World War I, including the Somme (summer 1916), Wytschaete Ridge (Messines) and Langemarck (Third Battle of Ypres, June 1917 - November 1917), and the German Spring Offensive (March 1918). Be sure to check out the superb Web site on the 16th Irish Division created by Seamus Hamill-Keays. To view it, click here. Mr. Hamill-Keays has even included a photo of the Christmas card used by the division in 1917.

Jack Slator was taken prisoner by the Germans at some point during the war, but I do not know when. I hope to obtain this information from his service records in the Public Record Office in London. According to my Aunt Helen Slator, Jack was released on November 18, 1919, after serving 19 months as a POW.

According to an undated "Certificate of Employment During the War," Jack Slator was a "well-trained and expert instructor in musketry." His character was listed as "very good."

British War Medal VictoryMedal

Jack's miltary service qualfied him for two medals, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal (pictured above).

Joins the R.I.C.

On November 5, 1920, Jack joined the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). [Photo: RIC at Oughterard, 1920-22]

According to Irish historian Michael Hanophy, Ph.D, the RIC was the successor to the Irish Constabulary, which was started by the Irish Constabulary Act of 1836.3.10

Dr. Hanophy writes the following about the life of a member of the RIC:

There were always problems with this job. The police were poorly paid, had no recognized off duty periods, no days of rest, no annual leave. Promotions and opportunities for promotion were slow, and unevenly distributed throughout the country and especially by religion. In 1919, there was a proposed policy of social ostracism against them and a boycotting of the R.I.C. Many police sympathized with the I.R.A. The numbers of R.I.C. dropped off - younger men were resigning and older men were trying to hold on to their pensions. Winston Churchill replaced R.I.C. men who resigned with unemployed British Soldiers (mostly from England and Scotland) who had served in W.W.I. They became known as the hated "Black and Tans". They were paid by day and had no pension. They could become uncontrollable. Resignations continued until the R.I.C. was disbanded in August of 1922. A recruiting slogan:

"Join the R.I.F. and see the World;

Join the R.I.C. and see the Next!"

Ironically, the Irish War of Independence, in which the RIC played a major role, began in Tipperary, my grandmother's home. On January 21, 1919, the IRA shot dead 2 Irish policemen in Tipperary. The majority of the guerilla warfare that was carried out over the next two years was fought in Tipperary and Cork.

There were many bloody and violent confrontations between the Tans and those fighting for Irish independence, one of which occurred on November 21, 1920, known as "Bloody Sunday." Michael Collins and his "Twelve Apostles" executed 19 British agents at their lodgings in Dublin, some in the presence of wives and girlfriends. The Tans responded by shooting up a football match between Tipperary and Dublin at Croke Park in Dublin, killing 14, including the captain of the Tipperary side, Michael Hogan.

Jack Slator was discharged from the R.I.C. on February 9, 1922. According to a February 6, 1922, Certificate of Character, upon discharge Jack Slator was 30 years old (he was actually 29 years old in February 1922 since he was born in November 1892) , stood 5 feet, 8 inches tall, and had a scar from a gunshot wound on his forehead.  He had attained the rank of constable, and his general conduct was "very good". According to a "Description Form" that was issued in connection with his pension on discharge from the R.I.C., he was apparently serving in Oughterard, which sits on Portcarron Bay, 14 miles northeast of Galway.

Apparently many ex-RIC constables relocated to England after the force was disbanded for their own safety. It is estimated that in April 1922, 60-70 ex-RIC men were arriving in England daily.3.15

Jack appears to have been one of the steady flow of ex-RIC men emigrating to England. In April 1922, Jack Slator appears to have been living in Surrey, England. According to an untitled document dated April 12, 1922, from the Royal Irish Constabulary Office, Dublin Castle, "Ex-Constable John Slater" was informed he was awarded an annual pension of 50 pounds, 14 shillings, for his R.I.C. service, retroactive to February 10, 1922. He was to receive 7 pounds, 10 pence, for the period ending March 31, 1922, and approximately four pounds each subsequent month. As noted below, his name was listed at the bottom of the document at "Mr. John Slater," and his address was given as 31 Thorpe-Lee Road, in the historic town of Egham, Surrey, England. 4

On April 18, 1922, Jack received a memorandum from Edward Newman, the Collector of Customs and Excise, regarding how and when his pension payment would be made. As note elsewhere on this page, his date of birth is listed on the reverse side of the document as 17 May 1893. 5

R.I.C. Form CC/2 is a schedule of pension payments to an R.I.C. pensioner. On Jack Slator's form, there are only four entries to indicate payments made: February 10, April 18, May 2, June 1, and June 8, 1922. The last of four columns on the form is entitled "District, or other place, where paid." There is no entry in this column for the February 10 payment. The first part of the entry for April 18 is unreadable, but the last part clearly says "Reading." The entries for the May 2, June 1, and June 8 are "C. House, Portsmouth." I am not sure what "C. House" is, 6 but I assume "Portsmouth" refers to the town on the southern coast of England, near Southampton.

Jack's name appears on page 431 of a book by Jim Herlihy entitled The Royal Irish Constabulary: A Complete List of Officers and Men, 1816-1922, published in 1999 by Four Courts Press. His name appears as "John Slater" next to his service number of 75243. His last name is spelled this way in some other documents related to his service in the R.I.C., such as an April 12, 1922, document regarding his pension. It is not clear why his name is spelled this way in some records and not in others, or why he apparently went back to spelling his surname "Slator" after his R.I.C. service.

According to Jack, the spelling of Slator was also apparently changed at some point by Jack's parents. It is not known what the previous spelling was, but it might have been "Sleator" or "Sleatter."

Prepares to depart for Canada

On June 6, 1922, Jack bought a suit and hat from J. Greenwall & Co., at 128 Strand ("3 Doors West of Waterloo Bridge") in London, W.C.2.  On June 7, he bought a second-hand .25 caliber French automatic pistol and 50 cartridges from W.H. Pollard and Son, 5 Waterloo Bridge Road, S.E.1., London.  The receipt for the gun is written to "Mr. Jack Slator... Woking." 

Also on June 7, 1922, Jack's pistol was "detained" by the Surrey Constabulary.  He received a receipt for five shillings he paid to the constabulary. To view the text of the receipt, click here. This may have occurred when he attempted to bring the pistol to Canada with him.

Jack apparently purchased a driver's license on June 13, 1922. He received a receipt for "the sum of five shillings, the fee for driver's licence for one year," from the office of Harry Davies, Licence Officer, at New County Hall, S.E. 1, London County Council.

Arrives in Canada

On June 26, 1922, Jack and Mary Slator landed at the Port of Quebec, Canada.  Mary was 29 years-old at the time, and Jack was 30.

Settles in Stony Mountain, Manitoba

In July 1922, Jack apparently applied for work as a driver with the Balmoral Post Office. It is not known whether or not he got the job, but he had a letter of reference from the Army and Navy Veterans in Canada organization. To view the text of the letter of reference, click here.

On November 12, 1923, Jack began what was to be a long career as a vocational instructor with the Stony Mountain (Manitoba) Penitentiary. While the family lived in Stony Mountain, Jack served as chairman of the school board, president of the skating club, and he sang in the church choir for 13 years. His hobbies included gardening.

On March 17, 1929, Lt. Col. T.H. Boardman, Commander of the 8th Batt., Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, sent the following letter to my grandmother. Note the spelling of the last name in the salutation:

Dear Mrs. Slater,

Enclosed you will find a parchment awarded to your husband. I am sorry that I couldn't hand it to him personally with my heartiest congratulations. I am very pleased that your husband has something to show for the good work he did when with the Battalion and I hope that he will be able to return to us again.

Yours sincerely,

T. H. Boardman, Lt. Col.
Commdr. 8th Batt. R. Innis. Fus.

On January 15, 1937, Mary died at St. Joseph's Hospital in Winnipeg, apparently from complications of a kidney removal procedure.

On June 30, 1945, Jack married the former Diane Watson at the Watson residence at Scotch Bay, Manitoba.

On March 3, 1976, Jack Slator died at the age of 83. He was a resident of Deer Lodge, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. To view the text of his death certificate, click here. To view the text of his obituary, click here.

1 source: April 30, 1915, marriage certificate
2 I do not have an official record of Mary Nugent's date of birth. On the certificate of her marriage to Jack Slator, their ages are given as "full." On her Certificate of Death dated March 5, 1956, her age is listed as "41-7-16," which I assume means she was 41 years, seven months, and 16 days old on the date of her death, January 15, 1937. If this is true, her date of birth was May 31, 1895.
3 source:; and
3.10 source: "The Royal Irish Constabulary" (April 1996),
3.15 source: Police Magazine (October 1999),
4 source:
4 source: Apr. 12, 1992, notice from C.S. Walsh, Deputy Inspector-General, Royal Irish Constabulary Office, Dublin Castle
5 source: Apr. 18, 1922, memorandum from The Collector of Customs & Excise to Mr. J. Slater.
6 The "C. House" reference might be to a "Grade I late 15th C house," which is now a Tudor House Museum in Southampton.
7 source:

My brother, Brian, who is eight years older than I am, has written an interesting narrative of many chats he had with our granddad over the years about granddad's early years, his service in World War I, etc.

Last updated: December 3, 2004.