William was born on 8th March 1889 in Deal, Kent to parents Richard and Jane (Baker).
William was the eldest of 8 children, the youngest was born in the December quarter of 1905 - a girl named after her mother, Jane Baker Cory. Possibly due to childbirth complications, mother Jane died that same quarter, leaving a father to care for seven children and a newborn.
William joined the Navy on 31st July 1906, beginning training at HMS Ganges, in Suffolk. It’s possible William left to help with family finances or to ease the burden on his father - he gained some help the following year however when he married again to Caroline Finnis.
William remained at Ganges until 8th January 1907, rising to Boy 1st Class on 31st October 1906. He was recorded as 5’7” tall with light hair, blue eyes and had a scar on the back of his neck.
His service history follows:-
VICTORIOUS - 09/01/1907 - 25/05/1907, rising to Ordinary Seaman on 8th March 1907
LEVIATHAN - 26/05/1907 - 30/03/1908, rising to Able Seaman on 26th March 1908
BLACK PRINCE - 31/03/1908 - 31/03/1908
PEMBROKE - 01/04/1908 - 06/04/1908
NATAL - 07/04/1908 - 09/05/1910
PEMBROKE - 10/05/1910 - 27/05/1910
ACTAEON - 28/05/1910 - 09/12/1910
VERNON - 10/12/1910 - 02/06/1911
PEMBROKE I - 03/06/1911 - 04/08/1911
INTREPID - 05/08/1911 - 28/10/1913, rising to Leading Seaman on 15/08/1911
PEMBROKE I - 29/10/1911 - 25/11/1913
VANGUARD - 26/11/1913 - 09/07/1917, rising to Petty Officer on 1st May 1916, just prior to the Battle of Jutland.
His Star, Victory and British medals were awarded to his father on William’s death.
#50 - 204/843
1891 England census
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 - FreeBMD
UK and Ireland, Find A Grave Index, 1300s-Current
The National Archives Admiralty: Naval Casualties, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242/ 007 (1914 - 1919)
The National Archives Surrey, England; Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Service Registers and Registers of Deaths and Injuries. Registers of Reports of Deaths
Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 ADM 171/ 99
Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1848-1939 National Archives of the UK; Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; ADM 188/ 421
Photo courtesy of corysociety.org.uk