Little is known of William Wilson's early life other than regimental records indicate he was born in Salford and enlisted in Stockport. The soldier’s effects register shows that he was married, his widow Alice received £6 in June 1919. In the 1911 census there is a William Wilson age 34, born in Salford married to Alice 32, born in Wrexham. They lived at 21 Newbridge Lane, married for 12 years they had three children, Ellen 11, Annie 5 and Tom 4. William was working as a Stoker at the electricity works, Stockport. His service number suggests an ex-regular, still on the reserve, who had been recalled when war was declared. The 1st battalion were in Londonderry when war was declared on the 4th August, they were mobilised and arrived at Le Havre on the 16th August. William arrived in France on the 18th December 1914. The battalion war diary shows that a draft of 6 officers and 444 men joined the battalion on Christmas Eve 1914, William was more than likely in this number, they spent Christmas day and the following two days in the trenches at Wulverghem.
On 9 February, the Battalion took over a sector of the front line at Elbow Farm, Wulverghem. The village is about 13 kilometres south of Ypres (now Ieper). "C" and "D" Companies occupied the front line. "A" and "B" Companies were a little way behind in the support trench. The Battalion's War Diary makes no mention of any particular action on the 11th. William will, almost certainly, have been killed by enemy shellfire or a sniper's bullet.