PRIVATE THOMAS SLACK MM
SHERWOOD FORESTERS NOTTS AND DERBY REGIMENT
29TH JUNE 1918 AGE 26
BURIED: BARENTHAL MILITARY CEMETERY, ITALY
Thomas Slack's inscription comes from a piece of memorial verse that often appeared in the 'In Memoriam' columns of newspapers. This is one of the longer versions:
There's a lonely grave in France
Where a brave young hero sleeps;
There's a cottage home in England
Where his dear ones sit and weep.
We think of him in silence,
Whose name we often call,
Though there's nothing left to answer
But his photo on the wall.
Slack was one of William and Eliza Slack's fifteen children, of whom ten had survived. William Slack was a coal miner in Tibshelf, Nottingham, as were his sons who went to work in the mines when they left school at 14.
Thomas volunteered when the 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters was raised in Derby in September 1914. He went with it to France on 27 August 1915, thus qualifying for the 1915 Star. The battalion took part in the Battle of Loos, 25 September 1915; in July and October 1916 it was engaged on the Somme and in 1917 in the Third Battle of Ypres. It was during this battle that Slack was awarded a Military Medal: "For gallantry and devotion to duty when in the attack near Zillebeke, near Ypres, on 20th September 1917".
In November 1917, the battalion was posted to Italy where it served on the Asiago Plateau. This had been a fairly quiet sector until the 14/15th June 1918 when the Austrians attacked in great force along the line. Slack was killed on the 29th.