At the time of his death he was married to Lily Pickthall, and had two sons, Thomas W and John of Millom, Cumberland, and a married daughter, Mary Otley of Keighley, Yorkshire
Bill answered Kitchener's call to arms in 1914 as an 'old contemptible' in the DLI. He transferred to the Machine Gun Corps and saw service in France and Germany. He was handicapped by war injuries.
A member of the Barnard Castle Lodge of the The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB), one of the largest fraternal organisations in the United Kingdom. The order started in 1822 and is known as the Buffs to members. The RAOB organisation aids members, their families, dependents of former members and other charitable organisations.(the Buffs). He held many Offices in he R.A.O.B and was awarded the Roll of Honour for his services to the Order. Bill was also a founder member of the Barnard Castle Branch of the British Legion holding the Office of President at the time of his death.