Medals of Captain John Slater, MBE, VD

Captain John Slatter, MBE, VD – Medals

5 Medals a) Member of the Order of the British Empire b) North West Canada Medal with bar Saskatchewan c) 1935 Jubilee Medal d) Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal (George V) e) Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers Decoration (George V)

Captain Slatter was the Director of Music for the 48th Highlanders from 1896 to 1946, a remarkable 50 years.

Captain John Slatter, MBE, VD – Bandmaster 1896 to 1946

For fifty years, Captain John Slatter led the 48th Highlanders Military band. Before his eleventh birthday, he was in the Royal Navy and two years later, giving his age as fourteen, he joined the Royal Fusiliers (Imperial). At seventeen, he was cornet soloist in the famous First Life Guards’ band. A bayonet-fighting medal won at the Royal Tournament in the 1880s suggests his military accomplishments went beyond music. In 1884, still only twenty years old, he emigrated to the United States to play with the Goldman Band before joining A Battery of the Regiment of Canadian Artillery for the Riel Rebellion, serving thirteen months in the Canadian West. After a brief period back in the U.S., he left the Detroit Symphony in 1896 to join the 48th despite a competing offer from John Philip Sousa.

Under Slatter the fame of the 48th band was established quickly.  For the Quebec Tercentenary Celebrations, he was appointed to direct and arrange the entire programme of the “Royal Tattoo” under the auspices of His Royal Highness The Duke of York. Later he was chosen for the visits to Canada of King George VI and the Prince of Wales. During the First War, at Camp Borden as Director of Brass and Bugle bands for Military District No. 2, he trained sixty-three army bands and over 1000 buglers. His music compositions and arrangements “National Airs and Regimental Marches” and “Bugle Calls and Marches” became service manuals nation wide.

Captain Slatter was a founder of the Canadian Bandmasters Association becoming its first president in 1931. During his career he was awarded: the NW Canada Medal 1885 (with bar for Saskatchewan), King George V Jubilee Medal, Canadian Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal, the Efficiency Medal, Volunteer Officer’s Decoration and the MBE. His proud boast was that in all of his nearly eighty years service he had never once been late for parade.

Associated place
Associated event
Associated name(s)
Slater J Captain
1891 – 1913 Early years, 1914 – 1919 (WW 1), 1920 – 1938 Interwar period, 1939 – 1945 (WW 2), 1946 – 1999 Late 20th C.
Location of artifact
Case 26/27 Bands


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