William was born in Wolverhampton in 1897, the son of Thomas and Phoebe Harbin. In 1911, they were living at 4 Brook Terrace, Bank Field Road, Bilston, together with William’s siblings John Thomas, Annie and Frederick G. William’s trade was listed as “Assisting Carver – Sheet Rollers”. From February 1912 onwards, he became a Porter with the Great Western Railway at Bilston Goods station
William enlisted with the 3rd Hussars (number 11040), and became a Lance Corporal. He first served in France from 13 September 1915. However, he was killed in action on 4 October 1915. An article in the Midland Counties Express from 30 October 1915 quoted a letter sent to his mother, describing his death:
I am sorry to tell you your son was killed while digging some trenches. We are all sorry he has left us. He was such a good and keen fellow.
A similar article appeared in the Express & Star on 25 October 1915. He is commemorated at the Loos Memorial.