William was born in Wolverhampton in 1893, the son of Benjamin and Alice Hemmings. By 1911, he was living with his parents at Mayfield Villas, Penn, along with his siblings Benjamin Frederick, Vincent Lenard and Rhoda Olive Ruth. William was a gardener.
On 9 February 1912 William enlisted as a Private in the 18th Hussars (Queen Mary’s Own) (number 8405). His occupation by this date was given as “groom”. He first served on 16 August 1914. While carrying ammunition from a trench, he was killed in action on 19 November 1914. He is buried at the Hooge Crater Cemetery in Belgium, and is commemorated on the memorial at St Bartholomew’s Church, Penn. A photograph of him appeared in the Midland Counties Express on 12 December 1914.