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William (mainly known as Denis), was born in Wolverhampton in 1896, the son of Lionel Brough and Annie Lyland Wheeler. In 1901, Denis was living with his father and siblings Florence, Arnold, Gladys, Violet and Vincent, at 2 Allen Road. Their mother Annie, did not appear with them in either the 1901 or the 1911 census, but she was still alive. By 1911, Denis was living at 229 Hordern Road, Wolverhampton, with his father, and brothers Vincent and Gordon Gillespie. Denis attended the Wolverhampton Grammar and St Jude’s Schools. He later spent a period living in Edgbaston with his mother.

At the age of 18, Denis joined the Motor Transport section of the Army Service Corps (number M2/114120). He later moved to the field ambulance. He was awarded the Military Medal, which was announced in the Express & Star on 25 August 1917. However, he was wounded, and died of his wounds on 27 May 1918. He is buried at the Marfaux British Cemetery in France. He is remembered on the Smethwick Roll of Honour.