William Brighton was born on 13th August 1877 in Peterborough, Northamptonshire. Sadly, details of his early life are lost to time, so his parents’ names, and details of any siblings are a mystery.
William chose a military life early on; he enlisted in the Royal Navy in October 1899 for twelve years’ service. Working as an Engine Room Artificer, he was an engine fitter and repairer on a number of vessels in his time, including the battleship HMS Repulse and the cruisers HMS Andromache and Scylla.
William married Lily Franklin in the autumn of 1904, and the couple went on to have three children; Mona, Lily and John. With William away at sea a lot of the time, Lily set up home in Gillingham, Kent, close to the shore facility – HMS Pembroke – where her husband was based.
The uncertainty around potential conflict meant that William extended his service when it initially came to an end in November 1911. He continued to serve on a number of vessels during the war and was based on a ship off the Scottish coast when he fell ill in May 1918.
William was transferred to the US Hospital in Strathpeffer, near Inverness, suffering from an abdominal aneurysm. Sadly the treatment did not work, and he passed away on 26th May 1918. He was 40 years old.
William Brighton lies at rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham, Kent.