In 1874, George Pattison, a hatter, married Mary Marsland at St Mary's Church, Heaton Reddish. They would have seven children of whom William was the youngest. The family are known to have been living in a "two up, two down" house at 14 Windsor Street, Cale Green in 1901 but had moved to 29 Russell Street, Stockport by 1917. George worked in Heaviley at the Squirrel Confectionary Works and, in his spare time, was a teacher at Heaviley Sunday School.
When he enlisted into the army, William joined the local 6th (Territorial) Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment. His original service number, 2947, suggests this was probably late in 1915. At the beginning of 1917, Territorial soldiers were given new six-digit service numbers. His was 265980 and is the first one to appear on his medal entitlement records at the National Archives, confirming that he didn't go overseas before this time. It is very possible that he never fought with the Cheshires as his Fusiliers service number is one associated with its 4th Battalion, perhaps suggesting a nominal transfer on arrival in France to this Territorial Battalion, before a further permanent transfer to the 15th Battalion.
On 1 September, the Battalion went back into the front line near the village of Langemark. There was a brief lull in the fighting around Ypres and the Battalion's War Diary has little to report. It notes that, throughout the following days, enemy shelling was at times "fairly heavy" but casualties were "slight". William was, unfortunately, one of them.