838103 Pte William Henry King was born on October 13th, 1896 in Islington, England, to Alfred and Charlotte. The Kings emigrated to Canada in 1906 and eventually settled in the town of Meaford. "Willie" was the eldest of the couples' seven children and was working as a farm labourer prior to his enlistment.

William initially joined one of the two independent rifle companies being raised for overseas service by the 31st Regiment. Already under arms all the men of these two companies were transferred to the 147th (Grey) Battalion when it was authorized.

Nineteen year old William attested to the 147th (Grey) Battalion in Owen Sound on 29th November 1915. With no military infrastructure to house so many men, William was billeted over the winter until the unit left for centralized training at Camp Niagara the following spring. As the conditions in this Camp were wanting the unit was moved to the new training facility of Camp Borden in late June. In late September the unit finally received its orders to proceed overseas. After a short leave period the unit left Camp Borden by train for the Port of Halifax on October 6th. Detained in Amherst, Nova Scotia for over a month, when a number of soldiers contracted diphtheria, the unit finally sailed for Great Britain on November 14th 1916 aboard the H.T.S. Olympic.

On 1st January 1917, the 147th Battalion ceased to exist when it became the nucleus for the 8th Reserve Battalion, whose task it was to supply reinforcements to the 58th and 116th Battalions, as well as the 4th C.M.R. Private King was taken on strength of the 4th C.M.R. on March 7th, 1917 during the build-up for the Battle of Arras, where the Canadian Corps stormed Vimy Ridge.

Upon his arrival at the front, William was attached to the 3rd Entrenching Battalion whose mandate wasn't only to complete engineering tasks for the 3rd Canadian Division, but was also to act as a close at hand reinforcement pool, for the soldier’s assigned unit. And, they were sorely needed as the 4th C.MR. suffered 179 casualties during the four day battle for the ridge, requiring it to draw on the men serving in the entrenching battalion.

William finally reported in to the 4th C.M.R. on April 17th where he served through the remainder of the greater Battle of Arras and into the summer. It was on July 17th, 1917, while the unit was conducting trench routine in the Avion area that William was struck by shrapnel, during an artillery barrage. Receiving multiple wounds to his left arm (fracturing his humerus), right leg and hand. Evacuated through the medical system William had received his "Blighty' (a wound requiring specific hospital medical attention, usually back on the English mainland), from which he would eventually be returned to Canada. Arriving home aboard the Canadian Hospital Ship Llandovery Castle in February 1918, William received physical therapy at the Military Orthopedic Hospital for his injuries, before being discharged from the military.

838103 Private William Henry King was struck-off-strength of the 4th C.M.R. and the C.E.F. on 15th June 1919. Returning to Meaford, William married Olive Heppenstall in 1927. William passed away on 21st November 1971 and was laid to rest in Meaford's Lakeview Cemetery.

Biography credit: George Auer, with thanks.