(L to R) British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal
We don't know anything about William's early life or family, except that he was born and grew up in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire.
The First World War broke out in August 1914 and William joined the Army in around January or February 1917. He enlisted in the 8th (Ardwick) Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This was a unit of the Territorial Force based in Ardwick Green, Manchester.
The original 8th Battalion had been sent overseas shortly after the war began, so new recruits such as William were assigned to a second 8th Battalion (2/8th) that had been formed. We don't believe he was sent overseas until after he had received his new service number.
The 2/8th Battalion trained at Colchester in Essex until the 13th March 1917, when it was sent to France. At around this time soldiers serving with units of the Territorial Force were given new service numbers. William's became 303364. We don't know his old number.
William and the 2/8th Battalion served around Givenchy and La Bassee until late June, when the battalion moved north to Nieuwpoort, on the North Sea coast in Belgium.
When the Passchendaele Offensive began on the 31st July 1917 the 2/8th's role became to guard the coast whilst the offensive was fought inland around Ypres. The battalion was shelled heavily and it was difficult to dig trenches in the sandy ground.
William was killed in action on the 10th August. We don't know how old he was when he died. His body was recovered and taken to Coxyde Military Cemetery around 6 miles behind the lines. He is buried alongside 1630 other men. William's grave reference is II. G. 3.
William's medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in June 1996.