William was born in Palmerston, Otago, in 1882, the son of George and Mary Matheson (who had both been born in Scotland). When he joined up in 1917 he was working for Marc (spelling?) Matheson on a sheep farm at Lawrence.
He was wounded on 12 October 1917 and after treatment in the field rejoined his unit, but was wounded again on Christmas Eve in the same year. This was more serious, and he ended up like so many of his fellow soldiers in the New Zealand General Hospital in Brockenhurst, England, and then in the New Zealand Convalescent Hospital in Hornchurch near London. With serious wounds to the left arm from shell fragments, in August 1918 he boarded a ship for home and was later discharged as no longer fit for service on account of wounds received in action.
He died at Dunedin in 1956.
Otago Witness 28 November 1917, via Papers Past