Private Donald Sloan

Private Donald Sloan
S/9311, 8th Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)

Born in 1883 in Rankinston, Ayrshire, Donald Sloan played for local side Ayr, before moving to Belfast Distillery (Lisburn) on 12 August 1903. He soon made a name for himself as a talented goalkeeper and represented the League of Ireland against the English League at Manchester City’s Hyde Road ground in October 1905, a game that was recorded by the early pioneers of documentary film, Mitchell and Kenyon. Six months later he was at Everton, signed for £250 on 17 April 1906.

However, with Billy Scott firmly entrenched in the Goodison goal, chances would be few and far between, and after just six games as his understudy he left for Liverpool on 4 May 1908 for £300. By July 1909 he had returned to Distillery as player/trainer where he was an Irish Cup winner in 1909-10, before a move home to Scotland in August 1912, signing for Bathgate and East Stirlingshire.

Dublin Daily Express, 9 May 1906
Athletic News, 12 September 1910.

The war devastated the Sloan family. Donald was one of five brothers fighting and the last of four of them to be killed. In fact, the family received two telegrams on the same day about the deaths of brothers William and Thomas. Donald was killed when a heavy German mortar hit the dugout he was in near St Laurent-Blagny, Arras on New Year’s Day 1917. He was laid to rest in Faubourg D’Amiens Cemetery, next to the Memorial to the Missing that also bears the names of the Roy brothers.

Image by Peter Jones

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