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William was born in Wolverhampton in 1899, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Kelly. In 1901, they were living at 68 Salop Street, Bilston, along with William’s siblings Richard, Hannah, Thomas and Charles.

William enlisted as a Private with the 2nd/6th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 43638). He was killed in action on 15 April 1918. He is remembered at the Ploegsteert Memorial in Belgium, and on the Bilston New Town Ward Roll of Honour.