Thursday 26 April 2012

Captain John Onion Slaght, MC

Born on 7 March 1887 in Langton, Ontario - husband of Ella May Slaght, Farnham, Surrey, England (married 3 June 1916) - son of Charles H. Slaght, Atherton, Ontario - at the time of his enlistment in 1915: trade as superintendant manufacturer; married; currently a member of the 39th Regiment Norfolk Rifles; previously served with the 24th Regiment Gray Horse, 2nd Regiment Queen's Own Rifles, and the 106th Regiment Light Infantry; Church of England; height of 5 feet 10.5 inches; chest of 38 inches fully expanded; fair complexion; blue eyes; brown hair.

Joined the 53rd Battalion, CEF, as a Lieutenant in Sewell Camp, Manitoba, on 15 July 1915 - promoted to Captain and Adjutant on 16 March 1916 - embarked at Halifax, Nova Scotia, for overseas on 29 March 1916 - disembarked at Liverpool, England, on 9 April 1916 - attached to 10th Training Brigade, Witley, England, on 23 October 1916 - served as a Staff Captain with the 9th Canadian Training Brigade at Bramshott, England, from 25 October 1916 to 1 January 1917 - taken on the strength of the 202nd Battalion, CEF, at Witley, England, on 9 February 1917 - struck off strength to the 9th Reserve Battalion at Witley, England, on 16 June 1917 - left England for France for service with 38th Battalion, CEF, on 8 July 1917 - taken on the strength of the 38th Battalion on 10 July 1917 - joined the 38th Battalion in the field on 13 July 1917 - appointed battalion adjutant on 1 November 1917 - killed in action on 16 March 1918 - buried in Villers Station Cemetery (grave XII.B.1), France.

Awarded the Military Cross - citation: "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He worked untiringly maintaining the ammunition supply and evacuating the wounded. He reconnoitred the front line and brought up his company to support the battalion to which he was attached, under continuous and heavy shell fire. His example did much to maintain the morale of the men under most difficult conditions." - unit recommendation dated 7 November 1917: "During operations Oct. 29th to Nov. 2/17 this Officer was in command of "C" Coy. and carried out his duties with conspicuous despatch and satisfaction, personally reconnoitring the front line in order to become familiar with conditions should a counter attack develop."

(Many thanks to Bill Terry, Captain Slaght's great-nephew for the image).

(sources: Library and Archives Canada (, digitized personnel file, Slaght, John O.; Canadian War Museum, 19740281-001, Manu 58F 2 3, 207th Canadian Infantry Battalion and 38th Canadian Infantry Battalion, Nominal Roll; The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa Regimental Museum, A400-0007, Master Personnel List for the 38th Canadian Infantry Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force; Commonwealth War Graves Commission, "Debt of Honour" register,; Canadian War Museum, 19680229-001, Manu 58C 1 2.18, Honours and Awards, 38th Battalion (Records of recommendations for honours and awards and mentioned in dispatches 19161121 19190117))

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