William was born in around 1885 in Manchester. His father was named John and his mother was Charlotte. He had an older brother and sister called Thomas and Sarah, as well as 4 younger siblings: Ellen, John, Walter and Lilly.
John worked as a wood turner and William grew up living at 24 Ogilvie Street in Chorlton, Manchester. His mother died in early 1900. By the next year William had found work as a wheelwright.
We believe John remarried to a woman named Eliza in around 1903. They had no children of their own and it seems he had died by 1911. His widow lived with Thomas, William and John at 8 Rumney Street, off Stockport Road in Manchester. We know that Lilly had been adopted by another family, but not what happened to the rest of William's siblings. William worked as a labourer at this time.
The First World War broke out in August 1914 and William joined the Army at some point between that November and January 1915. He enlisted in the Manchester Regiment and was given the service number 16910.
William was sent to France on the 9th May 1915. We don't know which battalion of the Regiment he joined or anything about his service until the last weeks of the war in late October and early November 1918.
By this point William was a member of the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. He was taking part in the Allied advances that had had begun in August and would become known as the Hundred Days Offensive.
One of these attacks took place on the 4th November. The 2nd Battalion was ordered to cross the Oise-Sambre Canal at the town of Ors. They were successful, but the Germans had strongly defended the crossing and the 2nd Battalion lost 24 men killed, 84 wounded and 18 missing. One of the dead was the poet Wilfred Owen, a Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion. Another was William. He survived his injuries long enough to be evacuated for treatment, but he could not be saved. He was 33 years old.
William was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry. His citation has not survived so we don't know what he did to earn this award, but we believe the act took place during this attack or in the weeks immediately before it. The award was published in the London Gazette on the 23rd July 1919.
William is buried in the Busigny Communal Cemetery Extension near Le Cateau in France along with 695 other men. His grave reference is II. C. 13.
William's medal was donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in February 1950. As well as his Military Medal, William was also awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal for his Army service.