Encyclopedia Titanica

Hilda Mary Slayter

Hilda Mary Slayter
Hilda Mary Slayter

Miss Hilda Slayter was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, 5 April 1882, the daughter of a doctor. Hilda left home in 1902 to study music in Italy. She had dreams of becoming a professional singer, but her ambition exceeded her talent. Her older brother was an officer aboard the royal yacht, Victoria and Albert, and helped to support her.

By the time she was 27, she realized her career was going nowhere, her brother no longer wished to subsidize her studies, and she was unmarried. She met Harry Reginald Dunbar Lacon of Ottley, the son of a British MP and baron, Sir Edmund Henry Knowles Lacon of Ottley. Harry, who was living on Denman Island off the coast of British Columbia, proposed, and Hilda accepted. She was in England shopping for her trousseau, and booked passage home aboard Titanic (Ticket No. 234818, £12 7s). She boarded the Titanic at Queenstown as a second class passenger, she shared a cabin with Florence Kelly. In her trunks were "one satin opal and pearl wedding dress with silver opal and mesh scarf, satin slippers, silk stockings and a hair bandeau," worth $4,000. There was also a "blue satin silver net dress, silver and blue scarf, silver tissue and osprey and Italian embroidered lace hand made blouses" worth another $3,000.

Hilda survived the sinking, probably in lifeboat 13, but she lost lost all of her luggage including the trousseau.

She married Lacon on Denman Island on 1 June 1912.1 Their son, Reginald William Beecroft Lacon distinguished himself in the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. 

He later lived in Norris Castle, East Cowes, Isle Of Wight, Hampshire and it was here that Hilda Mary Lacon (née Slayter) died on 12 April 1965. Her body was returned to the Slayter family plot in Camp Hill Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia for burial.

Notes

  1. Toronto born Henry (Harry) Reginald Dunbar Lacon was the third son of Thomas  Beecroft Ussher Lacon and Florence Dunbar Banks. Thomas B.U. Lacon was the second son of  Sir Edmund Henry Knowles Lacon. They were married at Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver on June 1 1912, and after luncheon at the home of W.B.A. Ritchie, who gave her away, took the ferry to Vancouver Island and subsequently arrived at Denman Island.

Titanic Passenger Summary

Name: Miss Hilda Mary Slayter
Age: 30 years and 10 days (Female)
Nationality: Canadian
Marital Status: Engaged to Harry Reginald Dunbar Lacon
Last Residence: in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Embarked: Queenstown on Thursday 11th April 1912
Ticket No. 234818, £12 7s
Rescued (boat 13)  
Disembarked Carpathia: New York City on Thursday 18th April 1912
Cause of Death:
Buried: Camp Hill Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

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References and Sources

Entry Of Death General Register Office
Alan Hustak (1999) Titanic: The Canadian Story. Véhicule Press. ISBN 1 55065 113 7

Research Articles

Alan Hustak Titanica! (2013) Hilda Slayter's Diary
Slayter was not superstitious, but she too became uneasy about the voyage, because as she writes in the diary

Newspaper Articles

Toronto Daily Star (18 April 1912) Miss Hilda Slayter
Halifax girl is sister to the Captain of Queen Victoria's yacht
Worcester Evening Gazette (20 April 1912) Brave Musicians of Ship Meet Fate Trying To Drown Cries of the Perishing Passengers
Edmonton Daily Bulletin (25 April 1912) Miss Hilda Slater
Passenger saved from the Titanic, was coming to Canada to marry Mr. Reginald Lacon

Images

Grave of Hilda Mary Slayter
Hilda Slayter and family
Portrait of Hilda Slayter
(1912) Lawrence Beesley, Hilda Slayter and Jessie Troutt
Three Titanic survivors aboard the Carpathia

Documents and Certificates

(1965) Hilda Mary Slayter (Death Certificate)
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Comment and discuss

  1. Slater, Michael

    Slater, Michael said:

    I am trying to find info re Hilda also if she was related to the Slater family that resided in Sale, Cheshire. Can anyone help? Tks.

  2. Jason D. Tiller

    Jason D. Tiller said:

    Hi Michael, Welcome aboard. Have you checked out Hilda's biography right here on this site? If not, here's the link: She was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia; so I'm not sure if she was related to the family. I hope this helps though.

  3. Slater, Michael

    Slater, Michael said:

    I am looking for info re Hilda. Can anyone help?

  4. Jason D. Tiller

    Jason D. Tiller said:

    Hello Michael, See above. I have provided you with info.

  5. Slater, Michael

    Slater, Michael said:

    Its interesting; one article refers to her as Hilda Slater visiting her architect brother in New York ("The band played. . ")and the others refer to her as Hilda Slayter who was going to Novia Scotia to get married.

  6. Jason D. Tiller

    Jason D. Tiller said:

    I'll bet that the Worcester Evening Gazette just misspelled her surname. It wouldn't be the first time, nor will it be the last.

  7. Arthur Merchant

    Arthur Merchant said:

    Confusion of people with the same name was nothing new in connection with Titanic. In fact, one case of mistaken identity got into a book on Canadian passengers, which said that Bridget O'Sullivan was traveling to her brother in, I believe, Nova Scotia when the namesake who was actually on the ship was traveling to the US. Then there was Alice Cleaver, the Allisons' nanny who for many years was mistaken for the Alice Cleaver who murdered her baby.

  8. Brian Ahern

    Brian Ahern said:

    I've read - can't remember where - that Hilda's brother was a White Star Line captain (her ET bio says he was captain of the royal yacht). Could he have been the Captain R.N. William Slayter who was in charge of the Oceanic when it ran aground (and eventually wrecked) off the Shetland Island of Foula, of which Lusitania survivor Ian Holbourn was laird? (all this according to Wikipedia) Small world if it was.

  9. Bob Godfrey

    Bob Godfrey said:

    According to Craig Stringer's biographical research, the brother's name was James and he was one of the officers on the Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert.

  10. Valerie Noonan

    Valerie Noonan said:

    Hi went in the titanic in Cobh co cork ,the ticket was that of Hilda Mary Slayter would like to know about her.Valerie

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Peter Engberg-Klarström, Sweden
Alan Hustak, Canada
Garry D. Shutlak, Canada
Hermann Söldner, Germany