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William was born in Wolverhampton in 1885, the son of Bridget Brewer. In 1901 he was living at 9 Warwick Street with his mother, brothers Martin, John and Michael, and sister Maryann.

William enlisted with the 2nd Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 9980). He first served in France, entering the War on 26 January 1915. He was reported as missing on 10 March 1915 and on 11 March 1916 it was reported in the Express & Star that he had been confirmed as having been killed in action. He is commemorated at the Le Touret Memorial.