William joined the Mercantile Marine in 1911 and served as a Steward on S.S. Aneneas. He volunteered for active service at the outbreak of war, and enlisted in the R.A.M.C. in September 1914. He entered the war in France on 19th July 1915. William served as a stretcher-bearer, and was killed by a shell bursting whilst he was asleep in a rest hut. His Major wrote: “He had been with me in this ambulance for three and a half years now, and I shall miss him very much, for he was willing, pleasant, and did excellent work. That work, we trust, has not been in vain, though he had been called upon to make the supreme sacrifice.” A comrade also wrote: “Might I say that I had a great respect for your late husband, and also that he was highly respected both by the old and new friends of his ambulance.” He was the son of James and Hilda May Newcombe of Durban, South Africa; and the husband of Hilda May Newcombe, of 35 Aifton Street, Bideford, Devon, England - married at the Parish Church, Paignton, South Devon.