Initially, he served in the 2nd Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers (10816) but was transferred to the Army Cyclist Corps as Private 1278 on the 8th January 1915.
He was admitted to hospital on the 26th August 1915 suffering with Diphtheria and whilst at No.7 General Hospital he contracted German Measles. Eventually, on the 2nd October 1915 he was evacuated home on the S.S.Anglia to make a recovery in the UK. It was to be over a year before he was fit and well enough to return to duty and on the 23rd November 1916 William was transferred to the East Yorkshire Regiment.
On the 11th December he was posted back to France and after arriving at No.37 Base Depot he was attached to the 10th Battalion, eventually joining them on the 17th December 1916. William served with the Battalion throughout 1917 and the early part or 1918. On the 24th March 1918 the Battalion were located near the village of Ervillers.
He was seen by his comrades to be hit by enemy fire but they were unable to maintain contact with him and his body was never recovered. William has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Arras Memorial.