Born in 1890, William was the eldest of four children to Arthur and Sarah Dalton of 165 Sharp Street, Hull. A Railway Labourer by trade he enlisted at Hull City Hall joining the 10th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, ‘The Commercials’, 1st Hull Pals.
William’s history is that of the battalion. He trained throughout 1915 and served in Egypt over Christmas and the new year before leaving Port Said bound for Marseilles on 29th February 1916 and from there the trip north to the trenches of the Western Front. He was killed in action on 1st July 1916 during the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The Pals were packed into positions opposite Serre. They weren’t bound for the suicidal stroll across no man’s land, instead they spent the morning packed into trenches in case they were required to consolidate gains which in the end never came. Vulnerable to artillery fire they suffered casualties despite the relative safety of their positions and such were the enormous number of casualties that day that William’s body simply went missing. His name is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial; he was 26 years old.