a document showing the service record of a Georgian / Victorian soldier

Sgt Major Slater’s service record.

A new upload to the Waterloo Descendants Book uncovers the story of a Waterloo veteran with a family link to the American Industrial Revolution

Waterloo 200 launched the Waterloo Descendants Book with the online Book Company in 2015 to feature the untold stories of the soldiers who fought at the Battle of Waterloo. Descendants and researchers have since been recording and preserving their ancestors’ lives and uploading photographs of Waterloo artefacts still in family possession.

The latest entry comes from Karen Haseldine who pieced together the story of a distant ancestor via military records, published books and local records.

Regimental Sergeant Major Thomas Slater (1783 – 1840) was born in Belper in Derbyshire and, aged 20, enlisted in the 6th or Enniskillen Regiment of the Dragoons on April 4 1803 at Nottingham.

He served from March 25 1803 to October 12 1827 and was at the Battle of Waterloo in the troop of Captain Henry Madox, for which he was awarded the Waterloo medal and two extra years of service towards his pension. One anecdote has it that a musket ball at Waterloo ricocheted off the helmet of Capt. Madox singeing Slater’s whiskers.

By the time he was discharged at Nottingham he had attained the rank of Sergeant Major. He died on October 16 1840 age 57 and is buried in Holy Trinity Churchyard, Berwick-upon-Tweed, where his wife, who lived on until 1871 and the age of 83, is also interred.

Intriguingly Thomas was the nephew of Belper’s Samuel Slater who famously introduced British textile technology to America and established the cotton mill industry there. Widely known as the “Father of the American Factory System” in the States, he was for a time known as “Slater the Traitor” in Britain for sharing industrial ‘secrets’ with the US.

Find more of our stories at ageofrevolution.org/themes/soldiers/waterloo-lives-descendants-speak-out/ and at https://ageofrevolution.org/ancestors-and-all-that/or explore the full Waterloo descendant’s book via this link.

Read the Sergeant Major Slater entry at www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/Waterloo/Celebrations/DescendantsStories/788