William Anning was born on 8 September 1889 in Digswell, Welwyn, Herts, the son of John and Adelaide Anning and baptised in Digswell on 6 October 1889.
On the 1901 Census he was living with his family at The Street, Wateringbury, Kent where his father was a Greengrocer/Shopkeeper.
He emigrated to Canada with his brother Sidney in 1910. Left Liverpool on 15 April and arrived on 22 April in Halifax, Nova Scotia on the Victorian. He lived in St Andrew's, New Brunswick and worked as a chauffeur. His parents also emigrated to Canada.