William was born in 1 White Street, Warrington on the 5th September 1891 and was one of six children to Joseph and Eliza Clare. Joseph had been born in Hatton about 1860 and was working as a milk dealer. Eliza Atkinson had been born around1854 in Whitley. At the time of William’s birth she could not write and placed her “mark” on his birth certificate.
Around 1887 they moved from Stretton with Mary Alice and Harry to 1 White Street, Warrington and by 1891 the family consisted of Joseph and Eliza with William’s siblings, Mary Alice (aged 9), Harry (aged 7), Joseph Victor (aged 4) and Percy (aged 2).
William was christened at Stretton on the 4th October 1891.
Another sister, Nellie, was born in 1895.
William went to school at Arpley Street, Warrington.
By 1911 the family had moved to Morris Brook Farm, Grapenhall and William was working as a labourer for his father. His elder brothers also worked on the farm; Joseph Victor as a cattleman and Percy a teamster. Nellie, now aged sixteen, was also living at the farm, although their mother was living in Blackpool as a housekeeper.
William later became a dairyman for his father.
He was the leading violinist in the orchestra at the Hippdrome in Warrington as well as being a member of the Grappenhall Brass Band.
By 1916 the family moved again; this time to Glebe Farm in Newton By Daresbury.
William joined the Army in March 1915 as a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery and was sent to the Front in November 1915.
He broke his leg and was in a hospital in Leeds.
His eldest brother, Harry, had joined the army in June 1916 and was in hospital in Cambridge whilst Joseph was conscripted in 1918.
William’s father was still working Glebe Farm in 1939.