Date added: 26 Feb 2015
William was born in Chelsea in January 1785. In December 1806 he was appointed an Ensign in the 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment of Foot, [Royal Northumberland Fusiliers]. Over the next six years he served in the 2nd Battalion, 35th Regiment of Foot, [Royal Sussex Regiment] and the 85th Regiment of Foot [King’s Shropshire Light Infantry], before joining 2nd Battalion, 73rd Regiment of Foot as a Captain in August 1812. These movements between regiments were probably to enhance his chances of promotion.
He served with the 73rd Regiment during the campaign of1813/14/15 in Swedish Pomerania and in the Netherlands and the siege of Antwerp (1815). In the Waterloo campaign he commanded Number 10 Company at Quatre Bras and at Waterloo, on 16th – 18th June 1815, where he was severely wounded, being shot through both thighs by a musket ball.
For these services he received the Peninsula Medal with clasp for Fuentes d’Onoro and the Waterloo Medal. Family lore has it that William was so badly wounded that he had been put on a cart for dead on the battlefield of Waterloo before it was realised that he was still alive. A hand-written list of the dead, wounded and missing officers of the 2nd Battalion 73rd Regiment in theaction at Quatre Bras and Waterloo, drawn up on behalf of its Lieutenant Colonel, himself severely wounded, gives three categories of wounded, 'dangerously,' 'severely' and 'slightly'.
William is said to have been 'severely' wounded. However, when he applied in July 1817 for a pension as wounded officer, he was informed that, 'your case does not fall within the limits of the Regulation'. William would have received a share of the prize money after the battle, amounting to £90 7s 3¾d.
In May 1818 William married Sarah Turner in Clapham. A pair of water colours of the couple is likely to date from that year, and is probably a wedding portrait. He is wearing the Waterloo Medal he is shown wearing was issued in 1816.