Born in Prescot in 1884 as one of three brothers, the other two being Henry and Alfred Ashcroft.
When the 1911 census was taken William was living at 23, High Street, with his wife of three years, Jane, and their 7 month old daughter Ada. He worked at the Wire Works as a Labourer in the Insulating Room. Upon enlisting William recorded his wife Jane as his next of kin. He also recorded that they had three children Ada, William and Thomas.
The timeline below illustrates how William spent his time in the Army.
09/11/1914: Attested at Prescot to 1/5th Bn, South Lancashire Regiment
11/02/1915: The Battalion sailed to France, but William remained in the UK
15/05/1915: Listed in Prescot Reporter as one of the town’s men serving with the colours.
19/06/1915: Posted to 49th Provisional Battalion of the Regiment.
12/10/1915: Signed agreement to serve overseas.
06/11/1915: Posted back to 1/5th Bn, South Lancs.
04/03/1916: Appointed to Lance Corporal (Unpaid).
06/05/1916: Reverted back to Rifleman.
11/05/1916: Sailed to France.
12/05/1916: Joined Base Depot at Rouen.
23/10/1916: Admitted to No 10 Casualty Clearing Station (Boulogne) suffering from Trench Fever.
07/12/1916: Discharged and proceeded to the front.
09/12/1916: Re-joined Battalion.
01/03/1917: Renumbered to 241187 as part of Territorial Force renumbering.
03/04/1917: Admitted to Field Hospital with contusions to the back.
31/07/1917: Wounded in action, admitted to 46 Casualty Clearing Station.
01/08/1917: Admitted to Hospital.
04/08/1917: Probably discharged from hospital.
24/08/1917: Proceeded to the front.
26/08/1917: Re-joined Battalion.
27/09/1917: Granted 10 days leave to the UK.
01/10/1917: Appointed to Lance Corporal (Unpaid).
07/02/1918: Admitted to Field Ambulance – Accidental injury to left knee.
09/03/1918: Re-joined Battalion.
21/04/1918: Promoted to a paid Lance Corporal.
03/06/1918: Deprived of Lance Corporal stripe for 1) being absent from parade and 2) insolence to superior officer.
11/08/1918: Special leave to the UK for 14 days (reason unknown).
19/01/1919: Returned to England and posted to Dispersal Centre in Shropshire.
Upon being demobilised William played football for Prescot Athletic Football Club. He was entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal which he received in February 1921.