Gerald SLACK
Rank: Lance Corporal
Number: 29189
Unit: 1/5th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
Date of Death: 8 January 1918
Age: 19
Cemetery: Lillers Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

George Slack was a very successful cotton yarn agent as confirmed by the family's entry on the 1901 census which shows them able to employ a live-in general servant at their home, 28 Lowfield Road, Cale Green. He was married to Mary and they had three children - Hilda (then 5), George (3) and Gerald (2).

As a boy, Gerald was a choir boy at St Thomas' church and also played lacrosse and cricket at Stockport Cricket Club. He was educated at Stockport Commercial School and, later, at Manchester Grammar School. When he left school, he went to work in his father's business.

Gerald joined the army in February 1917, no doubt as a conscript when he reached the age of 18. After training at Preese Heath, Southwold and Great Yarmouth, he went overseas on 5 December. Within a month, he was dead.

Gerald contracted pneumonia and was admitted to an army field hospital (58th Casualty Clearing Station at Lillers) on 6 January and died two days later.

Meanwhile, George Slack had also enlisted into the army joining one of the so-called Public School Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers. He was quickly commissioned and rose to the rank of Lieutenant, also serving with the North Lancashires. He is believed to have survived the war and is not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. However, research has confirmed that he worked for a printing company E Hulton & Co. The Company's War Memorial now stands in the entrance of the "Printworks" leisure centre in Manchester city centre and includes his name. Unless there is an error on the Memorial, then it seems likely that George died after the war and that the Commission was never notified. It is, however, surprising that he is not commemorated on any Stockport Memorial.

Gerald Slack is commemorated on the Stockport War Memorial. His name also appears on the Memorial outside St George's Church, the Stockport Cricket Club Memorial and the Memorial  to the "members of the college" of Manchester Municipal Technical School (now the UMIST building on Manchester's Sackville Street).

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