On 1 November 1918 the Shipley Times & Express reported:Pte Philip A Slater, youngest son of Mr and Mrs Joseph Slater of Thackley Old Road, Windhill, was wounded and taken prisoner on Shipley Feast Sunday, 27th July.He went to the front last June. A postcard sent from the Red Cross Society, London, is the only news to hand, no word having been received from Pte Slater himself.Naturally, his parents are concerned at his silence and it would be a source of great comfort to hear from or of him.Prior to joining up he was an earnest worker in connection with the Windhill Church King’s Messenger Society and was also a teacher in the Sunday School and a helper at the Sunday evening children’s services.The story had a happy ending, reported on 24 January 1919, but Philip had been through a harrowing ordeal in the meantime.The many friends of Pte P A Slater, East Yorks Regt, of Thackley Old Road, Windhill, will be pleased to hear that he has returned home
safely after being a prisoner of war for six months.Pte Slater was a platoon runner at the front and had many narrow escapes in ‘No Man’s Land’ while on patrol.On 28th July (Shipley Feast Sunday) he was resting in Nieppe Forest and Brigade Headquarters asked for a platoon to volunteer to capture a German outpost.Cut offThe officer of the platoon to which Pte Slater was attached volunteered and in the evening the patrol set out.At length their objective was approached but owing to incessant enemy shell fire, some of them were cut off from the rest of the patrol.Pte Slater was then ordered to trace the British lines but, in the attempt, he was badly wounded on the head and side and, becoming unconscious, he was captured by a German patrol before any aid from the British could reach him.His wounds were dressed and a German Field Ambulance was
brought up to the post but after travelling a few hundred yards the car overturned into a shell crater, gas shells bursting all the time.Consequently, he had to walk, with the assistance of two Germans, a distance of about six miles until a dressing station was reached.Here the German wounded were in a deplorable state, there being no treatment whatever for some of the most dangerous cases.After a meal of black bread and the so-called coffee and a rest on filthy straw, he was removed, together with hundreds of German wounded, to Lille.Without anaestheticHere he had two operations without any anaesthetic and was kept in the prison ward of the hospital for about six weeks under fearful conditions, never being allowed out of the ward.There were many British prisoners suffering from dysentery and some were dying. The German orderlies were very brutal to them.
Having a knowledge of the German language, Pte Slater got into conversation with one of the surgeons and he promised to remove him to Germany.From Lille, Pte Slater was removed to Tournay, Belgium, where he remained a few days, then leaving for Germany.ParcelsHe travelled through Mons, Brussels and Louvain, arriving at Aachen in Germany where he had little food and poor treatment for some weeks.Then convalescent, he was removed to Giessen Camp. Here he received the splendid parcels from the British Red Cross Society which the British people had so kindly sent out to the men in captivity.Shortly after Armistice Day, Pte Slater left for England, passing through Alscace-Lorraine via Metz.He was a very earnest worker at Windhill Parish Church prior to his enlistment. He has now learnt that his officer was killed in action three days after his capture.