Sidney Slatter - Wheelwright and carpenter in Whichford

The Slatter family with their bicycles. Sidney is thought to be 2nd from the left.
Photo courtesy of Warwickshire County Record Office. Ref PH352_196_9

Sidney Slatter was working for his father in WhichfordShipston on Stour, when he faced conscription [the compulsory enlistment of men to fight in the Armed Forces] in March 1916.  It was feared that his call-up to war would mean disaster for the family business. 

Sidney was born in 1889 to Arthur, a wheelwright and carpenter, and Elizabeth Slatter and worked as a wheelwright, cart and wagon-builder for his father.  In 1916 he had recently returned from a job helping to build barrack accommodation on Salisbury Plain.  His father also employed one other man, who had recently enlisted.   

An appeal for exemption

On 18th March 1916 Sydney’s father applied to Brailes Local Tribunal for his son’s absolute exemption on hardship grounds. He stated that he had been in business for thirty-five years and employed his son and one other man. His other employee had enlisted and he argued that he could not do much work himself due to age and ill-health. Without his son’s help ’not only would … my business be ruined, but would have me without suitable means of existence.’  A temporary exemption was granted at first, however, further investigation by the Tribunal led to the repeal of the exemption on the grounds that it was not in the national interest as Slatter had so recently worked away.  

Service during World War One

In March 18th 1918, Sidney Slatter is recorded as transferring from the Navy to the Royal Naval Air Service as an Air Mechanic employed as a Carpenter.  A few months later he is recorded as a ‘Rigger (Aero)’.  At this time his civilian occupation was shown as ‘Motor Body Builder’. 

In 18th April 1919 he transferred to R.A.F Reserve with a Medical Board Examination Result of ‘A’ and his character is recorded as ‘very good’. 

After the war

Sidney’s marriage to Ethel Morris in April 1921 was registered in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. By 1939 Sidney and Ethel were living in Stanley Road, Coventry, with Sidney recording his occupation as ‘Coachbuilder, Jig and Patterns Maker’. 

No further events in his life have been found in public records so it is possible that he continued living and working in Coventry until his death, age 77, registered in Coventry. 

This remarkable photograph shows members of the Slatter family posing with cycles some time before the First World War during the 1900’s. It is not possible to be sure which is Sidney but Sidney was born in 1889 which would place this photograph towards the later part of the 1900’s.  

This story is part of the Warwickshire Bytes ‘After the Tribunals’ project, which ran from 2019 to 2020.

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