On 27 January 1915 William attested with the 1st Lancashire Royal Garrison Artillery for 4 years’ service. He was a Gunner and by June 1917 he was promoted to rank of Bombardier.
At this time William would have been around 40 years old and his eldest son, also called William, may have been serving with the Australian Army. This may have inspired him to enlist and serve his country. Williams’ wife, Mary, would have been left to support the family on her own. There is some evidence Mary would have been in receipt of Separation Allowance, this was introduced to ensure that wives and children of men in the armed forces received an adequate income.
William was in England between 27 Jan 1915 until 24 Jan 1916. Then his unit would have been attached to the British Expeditionary Force in France.
Sometime in 1918 William was transferred to the Labour Corps, this may have been on account of his age. According to his British Army Military Record he went on to serve with the 68th Company of the Chinese Labour Corps, attaining the rank of Corporal.
On 1st Mar 1919 William was granted 28 days furlough, he may have used this leave to return home to family and friends.
After William was demobilised he was awarded a Pension in April 1919, according to documents he suffered from deafness, measured at 20% disablement.
On 1st Mar 1922 a postcard was sent confirming William was to receive the British War Medal and the Victory War Medal.