William James Waterhouse was born in 1875, the eldest of seven children to Richard and Elizabeth Waterhouse. The family lived in Cumberland, where Richard initially worked a grocer before becoming a music teacher.
William followed his father into food retail, working initially as a butcher’s boy in Barrow-in-Furness, before moving 400 miles to the south coast and settling in Eastbourne. Travel was definitely on William’s mind, however, as, by the 1911 census, he was a butcher’s manager at a hotel in Leicester.
William’s service records are limited; he was 39 when war broke out, and enlisted in the Eastern Mounted Brigade, before transferring Army Service Corps. During his time, he was promoted to Serjeant, and according to a newspaper report of his funeral “was most popular among the men.” [Wells Journal: Friday 9th July 1915]
It seems that, as part of his service, Serjeant Waterhouse had been assisting with haymaking in the Wells area, and it was after this that he fell ill. He developed pneumonia, and passed away on 30th June 1915. He 40 years old.
William James Waterhouse lies at rest in the cemetery of his adopted home town of Wells, in Somerset.