Private Clifford SLACK

Sherwood Foresters
(Notts and Derby Regiment)
1/5th Battalion
Service Number:
(Formerly: 85037)
Date of Death:
30 August 1918 - Killed in Action
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Number:
IV. E. 14.

Personal History:
Clifford was born in July 1889, the son of James (Farm Bailiff, later Railway Porter) and Sarah (née Oldfield) Slack. He had an older brother, George, and in 1891 (Census RG 12/2779) was living in Foxes Yard, Fairfield, Buxton. 
By 1901 (Census RG 13/3270) the family had moved to Gordon Cottage, Burbage, Buxton, and four younger siblings had been born, James, Annie, Ellen and Harold. Ten years later (1911 Census RG 14/21237) another younger daughter, Minnie, had been born and the family had moved again to 18 Duke Street, Burbage. Clifford was then working as a "Greengrocer's Carter".

At the time of his enlistment in November 1915 he was working as a "Senior Number Taker - Railway Company", presumably the London and North Western. At that time he stood 5 ft. 8½ ins. (1.74 m.) tall.

Military History:
Clifford enlisted at Buxton, on the 6th November 1915, and was immediately placed on the Army Reserve. On the 28th April 1917 he was finally Mobilized and posted to the 5th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment), on the 1st May. He was then shunted around between Battalions for some time - on the 29th July 1917, Clifford was posted to the 2/8th Battalion in France, part of the 59th (2nd North Midland) Division, and posted to "C" Company. He had spent 76 days with the Battalion at the front, during which time the Division was preparing for the Flanders offensive.

Clifford's Service Records reveal that on the 12th October 1917 he was wounded on duty in the field, and on the 13th October, after having been gassed on the 28th September 1917. After treatment in the field he was admitted to the 57 General Hospital in Boulogne (22nd October) before being transferred to England and admitted to the 2nd Western General Hospital, Manchester. This developed into Bronchitis and in all he remained in Hospital for 92 days, being passed "Fit for Discharge" on the 8th January 1918, and discharged on the 12th.

Into 1918 his postings continued: 21st January back to the 5th Battalion (Reserve); 5th March back to Depot at Ripon where, on the 2nd April, he was again admitted to Hospital suffering from 'Tonsillitis' and "P.U.O" [Pyrexia (fever) of Unknown Origin].  On the 25th May Clifford was posted back to the 5th (Reserve) Battalion at Saltfleet, and, on the 27th June, he embarked again for France before joining up with the 1/5th Battalion in the field on the 10th July 1918.

Clifford was killed in action after just 62 days in France on the 30th August 1918. Three other men of the 1/5th were killed on the 29th/30th and are buried together in graves IV. E. 12, 13, 14 and 15 of Fouquières Churchyard Cemetery. The Regimental History says just this about the action where these men lost their lives:

"We were back in the Gorre sector on the 27th. Patrolling was very active, and on the 29th we found that the enemy were evacuating Sloane Square. Early next morning we advanced a few men at a time, and in small parties, up to about 5.00 p.m., when both front line companies advanced and formed an outpost line running through L'Épinette Post and to the left of Sloane Square, on which the 8th Battalion relieved us the same night."

· "1st and 2nd Battalions the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) in the Great War" by H. C. Wylly
   [ISBN-10: 1845744241]
· I am grateful to British War Graves for the photo of Clifford's grave

Link to CWGC Record
Clifford Slack's grave
Pt Clifford Slack