William was the baby of the family, the only boy, with three older sisters. He was born in England, but at three months of age he moved to Canada. As a child, he lived on a farm, and he was inclined to be a homebody. He followed his mother everywhere and loved to be around his family.

William was warm and loving from the time he was young, freely expressing his affection for those he loved. As he grew into a teenager, he began to go out with friends more, sometimes camping, although that was not his favourite activity. While he enjoyed going out with friends, William’s demonstrative love for his parents never diminished.

While he was not athletically inclined, William did love to skateboard. In addition, he played hockey right up until he left for Afghanistan. William’s true passion was being creative; he was artistic and loved drawing. He found it to be relaxing.

After 9/11 occurred, William felt compelled to make a difference and enrolled in the Canadian Army. He had to wait a long time for a response, and out of eagerness to start training, he enrolled with the British Forces as well (because he had dual citizenship). Just in time, the Canadian Army called him and accepted him.

Although a very sensitive young man, William loved the army. He left as a boy, and when he returned, he had lost his baby face. He grew in many ways, and he began to shine and develop as a soldier and man. He formed close bonds with his comrades, and this tight-knit brotherhood was one of his favourite parts of being involved with the military. In fact, he wanted to be a soldier for life. Before he left for Afghanistan, he signed on for another 10 years of service.

William had icy blue eyes. He always had a smile on his face. He possessed a dry sense of humour and loved to play pranks on people. He especially enjoyed sneaking up behind his mother and slapping her on the butt when she least expected it. As he grew older, he continued to be affectionate and relished cuddling and hugging. Even at 20 years old, William would sidle up to his father, throw an arm around him, and kiss him on the forehead. Although he refused to cuddle his mom right before he left for his deployment, out of embarrassment in front of his friends, at the last minute he came running off the bus. He came back to hug and kiss his mom, winning a $50 bet that she wouldn’t start crying.

Many of William’s friends now have children of their own; many have been named William, in honour of his sensitive, loyal, and loving spirit.

By Sarah Den Boer

Portrait by Cindy Revell