Lieut. William Brotherton was one of the most intrepid and successful aviators this area has ever known. He became a flying ace during the First World War while serving with American forces in France. He was born December 18, 1893 near Guthrie, Illinois, a few miles north of Gibson City to Mr. and Mrs C.G. Brotherton.
10 days after the United States declared war on Germany he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He had been working for International Harvester in Chicago, having studied mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois. Lt. Brotherton was a skillful pilot, known to be somewhat of a fearless but successful risk taker. He was a specialist in shooting down enemy observation balloons and earned the Distinguished Service Cross for “extraordinary heroism in action.” His final mission would be October 10, 1918, about one month before Armistice was signed on November 11. While going in low to take out a balloon being rapidly deflated, his aircraft caught a bullet in the engine from ground fire. Lt. Brotherton died from pneumonia contracted while being slowly transported to an enemy hospital in cold, wet weather. He was 24 years old. When his body was returned, Gibson City gave its hero what the newspaper called “the most imposing military funeral ever held in Ford County.”
Actor: Walker Willis
Walker Willis serves as the Instructional Technologist for GCMS Schools where he specializes in teaching students and teachers in effective applications for technology in education. For the last 4 years he has lead student teams in the production of a series of character education videos that touch on topics such as empathy, responsibility and best effort. He lives in Gibson City with his wife and two daughters, all of whom have become active members of the ACT Theatre Company. His most recent role was in the winter production of “A Christmas Story” where Walker played Jean Shepherd, the famous radio personality that served as narrator for the play.