William Theodore Brailey was born in Walthamstow, Essex, England on 25 October 1887.
He was the son of William Richard Brailey (1863-1931), a native of Plymouth, and Amy Jane Greenwood (1870-1941) from Middlesex who had married in London in 1886. He had three sisters: Mabel Violet (1890-1982), Lily Sunshine (b. 1893) and Daphne Olive Vera Eileen (1909-1986). His father, William, was described in various capacities according the census records, including insurance superintendant and clairvoyant.
William first appears on the 1891 census when he and his family were living at 69 William Street, Upton, Slough, Buckinghamshire. The family would have moved to Leyton, Essex by the time of the 1901 census and are listed as living at 36 Merton Road. The 1911 census shows William and his family now residing in London at 71 Lancaster Road, Kensington and he was described as an unmarried pianist and professor of music. He was at one time a member of the Pier Pavilion Orchestra beforre joining a music college. Reportedly interested in aviation, he was associated with the Freshfield Aerodrome in Southport Lancashire and had a wide circle of friends in that town. He was reportedly engaged to be married to a young woman from Southport.
William travelled on the Titanic in Second Class on ticket number 250654 as one of the eight-strong orchestra and he embarked on 10 April 1912. He and his bands mate John Wesley Woodward had previously both served aboard the Carpathia.
William Brailey and all his colleagues in the orchestra were lost in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.