William worked in the family textile business: Lancaster’s.
After joining up and achieving rapid promotion he was killed in action in 1917. His body was never found.
After the war Billy Shoesmith, an employee of Lancaster’s, along with other companions, retraced a visit made by William’s father. They visited the spot where “Willie” had fallen. He recorded the visit in a journal. They explored further : “On some of the crosses was attached a red rosette, with the following inscription, Death or Glory, for those who wear the Red Rose of Lancaster.”