William was born in Witton, near Northwich and, when the 1901 Census was taken, was still living there with his family and, aged 14, working as a labourer like his father, Thomas. William's mother, Mary (nee Burgess) had married Thomas in 1877 at Witton. William was their eldest child - four younger children were recorded by the Census - Harry (then 11), Charlotte (8), Nellie (3) and John (10 months).
In 1909, he married Elizabeth Johnston at St Helen's Church, Witton. It's not known if he had become a regular soldier by that time but, if not, he joined up soon afterwards. When War was declared, William was either still in the army or was on the reserve. He will have been mobilised on 4 August and went overseas on the 22nd, probably going straight into action the next day at the Battle of Mons. After the fighting there, British troops undertake a long and exhausting retreat before starting to advance once more. By the middle of October, the main area of fighting was around Ypres (now Ieper) in Belgium and this is, almost certainly, where William was badly wounded.
He will have received treatment at an army field hospital some miles behind the front line where his condition will have been stabilised sufficiently to allow a further move to the more extensive facilities at one of the base military hospitals along the Channel coast near Boulogne and Calais.
After the War, when the War Graves Commission collated its casualty information, Elizabeth was living at 23 Lancaster Street, Portwood.