Willie was born in Dublin but had lived in the Stockport area for some time. His parents were William Alfred Ward and Annie Ward. The family had lived first in Heaton Moor but, by the time of the Great War, had moved to "Holmfield", Winnington Road, Marple. Willie was their second son and worked for a cotton company in Manchester.
His service number is sufficiently low to suggest that he might have been a pre-War member of the 6th (Territorial) Battalion but, if not, then he certainly enlisted within days of War being declared on 4 August 1914. By the middle of September, Willie was aboard a ship bound for Alexandria in Egypt where he spent the next seven months. Some details of this time can be found here.
In early May, the Battalion left Egypt to go into action at Gallipoli. Willie would be there for less than a month before he was killed in this attack. His date of date is recorded as 5 June but reports in the local press suggest he had been shot through the heart, the day before, during the attacking charge across No Man's Land. His body was never found and identified.
When the War Graves Commission collated its casualty information in the early 1920s, Mr & Mrs Ward had moved to "Rosegarth", 25 Broomfield Road, Stockport. Willie was clearly remembered with fondness wherever he had lived and is commemorated on the War Memorials at Heaton Moor, Marple and the main town one at Stockport Art Gallery.
Further information about Willie, including a photograph, can be found in the book "Remembered" by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff.