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The sons of Elizabeth and John Burns, Alfred was born in Wolverhampton in 1895 and William was born in 1897. In 1901, they were living at the back of 40 Coseley Street, Bilston, with their parents and siblings John and Lizzie. Alfred and William attended the Primitive Methodist School in Bilston. They were at 19 Coseley Street by 1911, and both brothers were employed as steel workers, working for Hickman at Spring Vale.

burnsBoth men joined the army at the same time, apparently “being determined to take a brave part in the defence of their country.” Alfred enlisted in the 8th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 13817). He first served in France from 14 July 1915. He was killed in action on 4 October 1915, in what was described by the Midland Counties Express on 16 June 1917 as “a gallant death”. Alfred is buried at Chester Farm Cemetery in Belgium.

burns_williamWilliam enlisted with the 2nd Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment (number 21758). He first served in the Balkans in October 1915. He was wounded in battle, and died on 20 May 1917, and he, too, was featured in the Midland Counties Express on 16 June 1917. He is buried at the St. Leger British Cemetery in France.

Both men are featured on the Bilston High Town Ward Roll of Honour.