Class of 1898

William Thomas Bryan was the first boy to be enrolled at CBC Perth. He was one of two brothers who joined the same day in February 1894 and lived in Howick Street (now Hay Street). William’s and his brother Cyril’s were the first names to be put on the register. His father John Joseph (JJ) Thomas owned a commercial printing business, Bryan’s Print. JJ and his wife Annie Louise were some of the many small business owners who sent their children to the school in its first intake.

William was Dux in his leaving year, 1898. He took a job at the Perth Mint and soon afterwards formed an old boys group called the Old Collegians Association. William enlisted and was made a Captain in the First Australian Imperial Force. He died when a shell exploded in his trench at Messines, in Belgium on 8th June 1917 at the age of 35. William was clearly loved by all who knew him. The eulogy his brother wrote in the Western Mail and the WA Record was filled with emotion for the passing of his brother. He wrote: “I have beared my heart…so that in the time to come his children may read of the anguish that wrung the hearts of those whose greatest pride was that we owned their father as our brother”.

A letter to Archbishop Clune published in the 1917 Annual said of William: “…he was beloved by all of the other officers in the battalion… the Colonel to the youngest private in the battalion lost a very dear and true friend when Captain Bryan was killed.”