This web site outlines the WW1 service records of four ordinary working class men from the North of England who served their country in the great war. There is nothing remarkable or unusual about any one of them, or their experiences, but their stories collectively paint a fascinating picture of what millions of others must have experienced as they too served their country.

But their service records viewed in isolation barely scratch the surface. To get even the slightest sense of their experiences requires context from the regiments they served in, the battles & campaigns they fought in, the places they were stationed and the brutal daily hardship of surviving 4 years under such conditions as they were forced to endure.

This is their story, imperfectly told, pieced together from official records, narratives, photos, maps, letters and many other sources.

Arthur Slater

Arthur Slater was born in 1896, in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire. He attested on the 17th October, 1914 in Ashton-under-Lyne with a group of pals and they joined the 1/9th Manchester Regiment.

Arthur Slater October 1917

Arthur fought in Gallipoli, where he was wounded (shot in the face) and evacuated to No 5 Canadian General Hospital in Cairo for a month. He rejoined his regiment in Gallipoli and left there for Egypt on 29th December, 1915. The 1/9th Manchester Regiment spent 1916 in Egypt and Arthur Slater served as a Regimental Scout. In March 1917 the regiment left Alexandria for France.

His full story is here.

Leonard Monks

Leonard John Monks was born in 1898 in Warrington, Lancashire. He attested in February 1915 in Warrington when he was 16 years old and was assigned as an orderly to the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC).

Leonard Monks RAMC 1915

He trained at Aldershot before shipping out to Alexandria in May 1915 as part of the mobilization of the 21st British General Hospital, arriving in Egypt on May 29, 1915.

His full story is here.

Alfred E. Downing

Alfred E. Downing was born in 1888 in Warrington. He attested on August 11, 1914 as a Rifleman in the 7th Kings Royal Rifle Regiment when he was 25 years old.

2nd Lt A.E. Downing

He was rapidly promoted through the ranks to Sergeant and subsequently fought in Ypres and the Somme (where he was wounded and repatriated, spending 68 days in hospital).  In May 1917 he was awarded a temporary commission and after 3 ½ months training joined the 9th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in France as a 2nd Lieutenant. By May 1918 he was a platoon commander of D Company.

His full story is here.

Edwin Slater

Edwin Slater was born in 1894 in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire. He attested in 1914 in Ashton-under-Lyne and joined the 11th Royal Scotts Regiment.

Edwin Slater 1915

He went on to win the Military Medal.

His full story is here.