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William Johnson was born in Wolverhampton in 1877, the son of John and Elizabeth Johnson. By 1901, he was living with his brother, Joseph, his widowed mother, his sister Sarah and his niece Hilda J. Morgan at 145 St Mark’s Road. By this date he was a solicitors clerk. By 1911 he was working as a commercial traveller for Mander Brothers varnish and colour manufacturers.

William enlisted in the 1st/6th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment and became a Second Lieutenant. He died on 1 July 1916, at the age of 39. He is honoured on the Thiepval Memorial in France, as well as on the Mander Brothers memorial.