William was the son of Alfred and Alice Hale of 37 Station Road Reddish (and previously of 37 Landfold Lane). He was their youngest child and had four older siblings - Alice, Henry, John and Mary. Nothing has been discovered about his early life but, in 1914, he was known to be working as a lithographic artist for Smith, Emmot & Co, in Manchester.
He enlisted into the army in the early autumn of 1914 and, after training, went overseas on active on 1 June 1915. He joined the 1/7th Battalion at Gallipoli as one of a draft of replacements for casualties of the early weeks of fighting; most notable the costly attack on 4 June. He was wounded in August and spent a brief period in a military hospital in Cairo before returning to the front.
In the early part of September, William and his comrades were at a reserve camp at Gully Beach but they came back into the front line on the 10th, relieving another battalion of Manchesters. At 18.30 on the 16th, the Battalion had just "Stood To" with everyone manning the firing line. The Battalion History describes what happened next. The Turks exploded a mine underneath the British positions blowing up about 35 yards of the trench. "Dense columns of smoke and earth shot up high into the air and the rapidly increasing darkness of the evening added greatly to our difficulties. Most gallant work was done in digging out buried men, a task of great danger, as the front trench was completely destroyed and the Turks whose trenches at this point were within ten yards of ours, were bombing heavily." William was one of those frantically trying to rescue their comrades and he did manage to help dig out John Wild from Denton. He helped to carry John to the field hospital overlooking the beach-head but he died on the way.
William's date of death is officially recorded as taking place on 5 November. However, an examination the Battalion's War Diary, held at the National Archives, confirms that there were no fatalities on that day. On 2 November, William and his comrades returned to the front line after a period in reserve. They were shelled by the Turks but there were no casualties. In fact, the only injury that day was to man accidentally injured whilst cooking.
The next day, the Diary records that one man was killed due to the premature explosion of a grenade. This is believed to be William.
The only other death recorded for this tour of duty occurred on the 7th and Thomas Harrison's death is also officially recorded as being two days later, on the 9th. It would seem as though, much later, a clerical error has probably taken the date that the casualty return was submitted as being the date of death.