William was born in the Broughton area of Salford on 26 July 1892. By 1901, when a national Census was taken, the family had moved to 14 Cale Street, Cale Green, Stockport. Arthur Sant, then aged 44, was a house painter. William's mother, Mary, was 39. He also had an older sister, Florence, who was aged 14 and had also been born in Salford.
Sometime later, the family emigrated to Canada where, in 1915, they were living at 34 Wellington Road, London, Ontario. William was working as an engine fitter and, in his spare time, had served for 6 months with the 7th Territorial Engineers at London. On 11 September 1915, William decided to join the army. His attestation papers can be viewed on-line at the Canadian National Archives. These reveal he was a man of small stature, even for those days, standing less than 5 feet 4 inches. His chest measurement was 34 inches, but his fitness was demonstrated by the fact he could expand it another 3.5 inches. He was of fair complexion with dark brown hair and eyes. He had recorded his religion as Methodist.
After initial training in Canada, William will have come to England before going to France. During this time he married Ada, who was from Stockport. It's not known if he knew her before emigrating. In 1917, she was living at 162 Lowfield Road and, later, at 1 Wills Road, Stockport. William almost certainly arrived in France during the spring of 1916 and will have seen action during the Battle of the Somme in the summer.
On 28 January 1917, William and his comrades were away from the front line in Brigade reserve at Calonne (approximately 25 kilometres south west of the French town of Armentieres). William was one of the Battalion's signallers but he was not doing communication work that day.The Battalion's War Diary for the day reads "Very fine day. 11 officers and 448 Other Ranks furnished for work on reserve line, Calonne and Maroc defences. Carrying material for wiring and cleaning communication trenches. Casualties: 1 Other Rank killed. 1 Other Rank wounded."
William was the man who had been killed, most probably by shellfire.