William was born in Disley and his birth was registered at Hayfield between April and June 1875. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, however, records his age as being 43.
By the time of the 1901 Census, the Taylors were living in Marple. William's father, Thomas, was then aged 53 and was working as a gardener. He is believed to have lived at 167 Stockport Road. In the autumn of 1897, William had married Gertrude Mary Smith and they lived at 163 Stockport Road. The Census indicates that William was then a working as an insurance agent/collector, aged 26. In the autumn of 1897, he had married Gertrude Mary Smith and they then lived at 163 Stockport Road. By 1916, they had seven children.
William volunteered for the army in early 1916 and went overseas to Mesopotamia as part of a draft of replacement troops for the 8th Battalion.
Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) was part of the Turkish Ottoman empire and an ally of Germany. Then as now, Britain relied heavily on oil from the area. When war broke out in August 1914, British troops were quickly sent to the area to protect its interests by occupying the oilfields and pipeline near Basra.
Conditions for the men were appalling. Extremes of temperature (120 degrees F was common); arid desert and regular flooding; flies, mosquitoes and other vermin: all led to very high levels of sickness and death through disease. Under these conditions, units fell short of officers and men, and all too often the reinforcements were half-trained and ill-equipped. Medical arrangements were quite shocking, with wounded men spending up to two weeks on boats before reaching any kind of hospital. William was reported to have died of "disease" and was, almost certainly, in hospital in Amara when he died.
Further information about William, including a photograph can be found in the book "Remembered" by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff.