William was born in Heaton Norris and, in 1901, was living at 16 Reuban Street, Lancashire Hill. This was the family home. His father, Thomas had remarried after his first wife (William's mother) had died. His new wife was Caroline Shawcross who he had married in the mid 1890s at All Saints Church. They had two children together - Carrie and Frank.
In 1904, William married Elizabeth George at St Matthews Church, Stockport and they would have two children together. When William enlisted in March 1915, they were living at 33, or 35, Kendal Street, South Reddish (after the war, Elizabeth lived at 5 Higher Union Street, Heaton Norris). For 17 years, William had been a shop assistant at Burgons, a local grocers at 78/82 Heaton Moor Road.
The records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission indicate that William was serving with the 10th Battalion when he died. However, this was a reserve training unit which did not leave Britain. Other records (now available as a CD-ROM Soldiers Died in the Great War) suggest that he might have been serving with the 7th Battalion, but these records are not wholly reliable.
It is not known how William came to be injured but he was evacuated to a field hospital (South Midland Casualty Clearing Station) at Amiens. Sister Reid later wrote to Elizabeth saying that William had bee brought in "about noon on 22 October, very seriously wounded. All that was possible was done for him, but he died at 3.40. It is terribly sad for you and your children and I feel for you very much. It may afford you a little consolation to know that he died peacefully and did not suffer. I was with him at the time. .....He will be buried in a Cemetery near here and a cross will mark his grave. It is so sad and yet he could not have died better than fighting for his King and Country."