William originated from the Longsight district of Manchester and, when the census was taken in 1901, he was living with his parents at 76 Earl Street. It is not known when they moved to the Stockport area but, around the time of the Great War, were living at 18 Norris Bank Terrace, off Didsbury Road. Nothing else is known of William's life, except that it was reported that he worked for the Refuge Assurance Company, probably at its Headquarters on Oxford Road in Manchester.
When he originally joined the army, William was assigned to the Royal Field Artillery (service number 16064), but this seems to have been for training purposes only. On completion of training, he must have been transferred to the Yorkshires and his only overseas service was with the Regiment.
The opening of the Third Battle of Ypres (often called Passchendaele) was on 31 July. The attack had quickly (and literally) become bogged down. The Battle would be characterised by a series of further "set piece" attacks over the coming weeks but, in between, there were many small scale attacks. William would be killed in one of them.
At 3am on 14 August, William and his comrades formed up for the attack. They were on the left bank of a large stream called the Steenbeek. "A" and "C" Companies would lead the attack with "B" in support and "D" left behind to guard the British trench. The Regimental History recounts that the British artillery bombardment opened up on the German positions at 4am and the Battalion attacked. "C" secured its objective but "A" was held up by enemy machine gun fire. They had to dig-in short of the objective. Several times during the day, the Germans attacked both Companies, but they were able to fight them off. The situation was made even more dangerous as the German artillery had their precise range and shelled them all day, until they were relieved under cover of darkness.
20 men were known to have been killed and a further 66 wounded. The fate of another 26 was unknown when the roll was called. No trace of William was ever found and it would not be until May 1918, that the War Office made an official presumption that he must have been killed.