William was born in the Stockport area and lived with his wife and five children at 133 George Street. He worked as a platelayer for the London & North Western Railway Ltd, at Stockport (and is commemorated on the Company's Roll of Honour). His service number suggests he was an ex-regular soldier who was recalled to the colours when War was declared in August 1914. At that time, the 1st Battalion was on garrison duty at Karachi (then part of India, now Pakistan) and did not return to the UK until the beginning of January 1915, going to a base at Nuneaton.
The Battalion, now part of the Army's 29th Division, left for Egypt in mid-March. On 10 April, they moved to the Greek island of Mudros, prior to going into action at Gallipoli on the 25th.
They left the island on the evening of the 24th and, on board the ships, were given a meal before dawn. Their landing on the peninsula was made from small boats and many casualties were suffered. The men had to wade ashore. The Regimental History records "All the rifles were soaked and amid much confusion the men reached the line of wire under very heavy fire enfilading it from both ends while machine gun fire met them in front. The silver sand and the sea water jammed the action of the rifles and it was impossible to return the fire."
As the men reached the beach, they started to scale the 100 foot high cliffs and, by 7.15am, they had overcome the Turkish troops and established a defensive line protecting the area from direct fire. By now 11 officers and 358 men were out of action - dead or wounded. Six Victoria Crosses were awarded to men of the Battalion for their courage in the landings. Amongst the dead were William and another local man, Ellis Clark.
William was originally posted as being missing and it was not until December 1915 that the War Office confirmed that he must have been killed. His body was never recovered and identified.