William Ernest Burley

Date of birth: 1897
Place of birth: Brixham, Devon
Regiment: Hampshire
Battalion: 11th
Rank / Service No: Private, 11588
Died: 23 January 1917, aged 19 years
Buried: Loker Churchyard, Ypres, Belgium (Plot I, Row D, Grave 21)


William was the third of 7 siblings born to William Joseph and Elizabeth Hayman Burley (nee Bridge), who married in Brixham on 27 August 1893.

Unfortunately only one of the siblings managed to reach anything like middle age.

William J was born in Plymouth in 1872 and he died in Southampton in 1952. Elizabeth (Lizzie) was born on the I.o.W in 1872 and she passed away near Bishops Waltham in 1957.

The family lived at 3 Pell Street, Northam.



Beatrice Mary   b. 1894 Brixham   d. ?? Married Alexander James Yates in Walworth on 17 December 1916. Both departed Southampton on 1 June 1922 bound for Quebec to live…there is no evidence they settled.

Lily Hayman   b. 1895 Brixham   d. 1896 Brixham

William Ernest

Robinnia May   b. 1898 Plymouth   d. 1905 Plymouth

William Henry   b. 1900 Plymouth   d. 1901 Plymouth

Joseph Henry J.   b. 1903 Plymouth d. 1903 Plymouth

Alice Amelia   b. 1906 Plymouth   d. 1906 Plymouth


The 11th battalion, after much training in the UK and Eire, was finally mobilised in December 1915, landing in Le Havre on the 18th.

The next year was spent on the Somme, before the battalion must have transferred to the Flanders theatre of war.

There were no specific battles in the Ypres Salient at the time of William’s death, so it must be presumed that he perished during local skirmishes.


The village of Loker was in Allied hands for most of the war, and field ambulances were stationed nearby.

Loker Churchyard was used by field ambulances and fighting units from December 1914 until June 1917, and it contains 2 Commonwealth plots.

The Churchyard contains 215 Commonwealth WW1 graves.


William’s headstone reads: “A voice we loved is stilled.”



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 23rd June 2016


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