William was born on 3rd May 1886 at St. James, Norfolk, the son of Rachel Elizabeth Jordan and William Lowe who married later that year. In 1891, William, Rachel, William junior (5), Henry (3), George (2) and Rachel (2 months) were living in Pockthorpe, Norfolk. William junior enlisted in the Coldstream Guards in March 1904 and served until December 1911. In the 1911 census William is recorded as a single soldier, visitor, at Thorne Cottage, Warwick Lane, St. Johns, Woking with Martha Hampton and her daughter Florence (Flory) May (20). William and Flory married in Woking on 27th January 1912 and lived in Wormley (Witley). William was initially a labour-master at Hambledon workhouse and then worked for the RAC.
When war broke out, William rejoined his old regiment. The battalion was under-strength as a result of earlier battles and at Gheluvelt, south east of Ypres in late October 1914. Early in the morning of 28th October the Germans attacked during a mist so dense units did not know what was happening to the units next to them. The Germans broke through in places and attacked some units from the rear, forcing the British forces to withdraw. That night William’s battalion had no officers and only 80 men.
William was posted as missing during the German attack and the All Saints’ Witley Parish Magazine of January 1917 reports this. Later, it was confirmed he was killed in action and buried by the Germans together with other British soldiers but their identities were lost during the war and subsequent battles. After the war, the soldiers were re-buried at Zantvoorte and commemorated on The Kruiseecke German Cemetery Memorial. William is also commemorated on the Woking Town Center Memorial and on the Norwich Roll of Honour. William was awarded the 1914 Star (the Mons Star), the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.