Ronald Ambrose Slater was born in April, 1921 in Lambeth London. Son of Cecil and Elsie Slater (née Green); husband of Sylvia May Slater (née Ward), of Bishopsteignton.
His father grew up in Nottinghamshire and moved to London shortly after marrying Elsie Kate Green. They had their first son Stanley Hubert Slater on 22nd Jan, 1920 in Lambeth, London.
Ronald Ambrose Slater was born in April, 1921. They all lived at 23, Tarver Road, Southwark. Cecil worked as a general clerk, Elsie worked in an unpaid domestic role and Ronald’s brother Stanley worked as a waiter.
On 14th Dec, 1943, Ronald married Sylvia May Ward in St John the Baptist Church, Bishopsteignton. Sylvia had previously lived with her parents, John and Ethel Ward (née Crisp) at ‘Sylmar’, Fore Street, Bishopsteignton. Sylvia had two older brothers John and Arthur Ward.
In 1936, Ethel Ward married William Branch and they lived in Sylmar, Bishopsteignton at the time of the 1939 census.
Ronald Ambrose Slater served in the Wiltshire Regiment (Duke of Edinburgh’s) as a lieutenant, 269427.
He enlisted in to the Gloucestershire Regiment, Infantry. Two months after D-Day, Ronald was now promoted to acting captain of 5 Wiltshire Regiment (Duke of Edinburgh’s). They formed part of the 129 Infantry Brigade, 43 (Wessex) Division, 30 Corps.
On 30th July, 1944, Ronald led his platoon in the advance against the Germans in the Battle of Normandy. Operation Bluecoat was the offensive that saw the British XXX Corp push the notorious Panzer Divisions from the strategic high ground covering the nearby Normandy beachhead.
129 Infantry Brigade 43 (Wessex) Division 30 Corps Unit 5 Wilts 269427 A/ Capt (WS/LT) SLATER Ronald Ambrose.
Captain Slater’s actions during the capture of Bois du Homme (Point 361) are recognised below in his recommendation for a Military Cross, signed by his superiors, notably Commander in Chief Montgomery.
“A/Capt SLATER’s coolness, leadership and personal example was of the highest order.”
Recommended by Lt Col Roberts Comd. 5 Wilts, Brigadier Thomas 129 Inf Brig, Maj Gen Gwilym Ivor Thomas Comd 43 Division, Lieutenant General Commander B Horrocks 30 Corps, Commander Chief Bernard Law Montgomery 21 Army Group. (actual signatures on document)
“During the attack on the BOIS DU HOMME feature on 1 Aug 44 A/Capt Slater commanded one of the platoons which assaulted and captured the feature.
The enemy counter attacked immediately with three TIGER and one Mark IV Tanks. Entirely owing to the personal example and leadership of A/Slater his pl stayed in their positions though they had not commanded to dig in and they were subject to intense fire from the tanks which moved around on the platoon, at will, as no anti-tank guns or tanks had come forward to support the Inf.
As a result of their steadfastness one of the tanks was knocked out by a PIAT, while the others were driven into the boggy ground where two were evacuated by their crews and the third knocked out by our own tanks. Throughout this action, so in (rest crossed out) actions (rest crossed out) fighting.”
Death and Burial
Ronald Ambrose Slater died of his wounds on 13th August, 1944.
Burial : Tilly-Sur-Seulles
War Cemetery : Tilly-sur-Seulles, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France
Plot : VI. E. 9.
Memorial ID : 56498975
Ronald Ambrose Slater is not survived by any direct descendants.
Sylvia May Ward later married John Edward Aldridge on the 24th September, 1947 in Newton Abbot, Devon. Sylvia’s two brothers, John (known as Jack Ward) and Arthur also continued to have close ties with Bishopsteignton.
If you are related to him in any way or have any information you would like to share with us, please contact us directly or feel free to comment below.
Ronald Ambrose Slater is remembered by the village of Bishopsteignton.
References and credits
Author – Nathan Hutchinson
Photo credits :
Headstone – Woose 
B&W Images – compiled by Bishopsteignton Heritage c/o the Ward Family
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Bluecoat (possible section on Operation Grouse could be the same battle)
5. https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C9085256 (copy available for £3.50)