He was a sidesman at St Mary's Church and also, with other family members, arranged and took part in amateur theatrical performances in aid of local charities and was known as a humorous vocalist and actor.
He initially joined the Shropshire Yeomanry some years before the war and as a splendid horseman and smart soldier, he quickly gained promotion. On the outbreak of war, he served with the Yeomanry, later transferring to the 10th Battalion of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, becoming company quartermaster sergeant. In early 1916, he went with his regiment to Egypt, and later Palestine, where he was
wounded in fighting and died of his wounds in Alexandria hospital on November 6th, 1917, aged 33.
Company Quartermaster Sergeant William Burt Elston
King's Shropshire Light Infantry 10th Btn, service no. 230006
Died of Wounds in Alexandria November 6th, 1917, aged 33
Buried at Beersheba War Cemetery, Palestine
William was born in 1885 in Birmingham like his parents and next two siblings, Olive and John.
In 1891 he was living with his family at 45, High Street. His father, also William Burt, 30, was a butcher and his mother Mary Elizabeth, 32 was also listed as a butcher. Both of his parents came from families in the butchery trade. William was the eldest Elston child, being 6 years old in 1891, with a sister Olive, 5 and a younger brother John, 3 and step brother Aaron, 15.
William’s father died in 1900 and, by 1901 his mother, as a widow, was listed as a butcher and shopkeeper. Young William, 16 continued to live at home, with his sister Olive, 15, and new arrivals Harold, 9 and Gwladys, 4 who were both born in Brecon. Brother John, 13 is not living at home at this time but is listed as living in Birmingham and working as a butcher's apprentice, and Aaron has also left home.
William was educated at Pendre School and Brecon County School and went on to work in the family firm, being shown as a butcher in 1911. He was a right hand man to his mother in a business that he carried out with great success, and was one of the most competent judges of cattle in the local marts.