William was born in Stockport in 1881. It was reported that, as a young man, he enlisted into regular army and appears to have been abroad at the time of the 1901 Census. After he had served his time, he returned to Stockport, where he gained employment at Christy’s hatworks. By the time of the Great War he had married. The family, including three children, lived at 2 Albany Terrace, Love Lane, Heaton Norris. The name of his wife is not recorded but, in 1908, a man called William Henry Bardsley married Elizabeth Lancaster in a civil ceremony at Ashton under Lyne.
On leaving the army, William would have been required to serve a number of years on the reserve and would have been liable to have been recalled if war was declared. His time on the reserve must have expired as he was not recalled. However, it is believed that William had joined the Territorial Army on his return to Stockport and it would seem he was mobilised, at Chester, with them in August 1914.
His service number, which is linked to the 4th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment, was not issued until early January 1917 (when six digit service numbers were introduced for the Territorials) and there is no indication that he served abroad before this date. This might suggest that, as an older married man, he had been retained in England to use his past experience to train new troops. With mounting casualties throughout 1916, William will have been sent on active service in early 1917 and was probably reassigned to the 9th Battalion immediately on arrival in France.
He was killed during a tour of duty in the trenches described here.