Rank or Title
Date of Birth
12 Nov 1894
Date of Death
16 Aug 1915
Media files and documents
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
Soldier or Civilian
William was born in Enfield, Essex on 12 November 1894.
In 1901 he is living in Butterfield Green, Stopsley with his widowed father, William, who is a scaffold builder. He has an 11 year old brother Herbert, 5 year old sister called Topsy & a sister Edith who is 3. His father employed a housekeeper at the time called Elizabeth Smith who is living-in with her 9 month old daughter Gladys.
In April 1911 he is now 16 years old & is working as a horse driver. He is living with his family at 95 Ash Road, Luton. His father is now a market gardener & has had 2 sons with Elizabeth.
In August 1911 William joined the Royal Navy. His service record describes him as 5ft 2 1/2 inches tall, fair complexion with light hair & grey eyes.
His first ship was the Impregnable, which is a training ship. He is rated as Boy 2nd class, this means he is aged 15 to 17 years old, physically adequate, of good character & that his father would have signed a declaration that William would serve a minimum of 12 years in the navy. He went up in rank whilst on the Impregnable to Boy 1st class because he had shown sufficient proficiency in seamanship and accumulated at least one good conduct badge (the requirements varied between training ships). His rate of pay was increased on being promoted.
Between February & May 1912 he served on the Leviathan, an armoured cruiser, which had launched in July 1901 & put into service in the 4th cruiser squadron in 1909.
He spent time from 10th to 27th May 1912 at the barracks in Portsmouth, which in Naval terms is called Victory 1, before being assigned to the St Vincent, a battleship launched in 1910, for 2 years. He rose in rank from Ordinary Seaman to Able Seaman because of his good character & that he had served at least two years' at sea.
According to his service record, he spent short periods of time on other training ships, before coming to the barracks at Crystal Palace (Victory 2) in November 1914, where he was discharged in February 1915 due to ill health. He died of Tuberculosis in August 1915 & is buried in Crawley Green Cemetery.