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William was born in Wolverhampton on 2 June 1897, the son of William Charles and Mary Ann Albiston. In 1901 they were living at 8 Franchise Street, Wolverhampton, together with William’s sisters Elsie and Nellie, and brother Samuel Henry. They were at the same address in 1911, with additional siblings Joseph and Harry. William later became a metal presser, working for the hollowware and enamelled goods manufacturer, S. J. & E. Fellows Ltd.

He enlisted at Portsmouth with the Royal Navy (number J23785). He first served on the HMS Impregnable, and he served on various ships from 6 March 1913 throughout the war until 24 March 1923.

William married Beatrice or Beate Joan Margaret Saide Bergstraesser in Islington in 1949. He died on 26 June 1955 at the Central Middlesex Hospital in London, by which date his address was 35 Mowbray Road, Willesden, London. The value of his effects was £2488 2s. 6d.