William was the son of the Reverend William J and Jane Gow (nee Taylor). He was born on the 13th of April, 1897 in Kaiapoi, Canterbury. After schooling in Cambridge he was employed by the Bank of New Zealand as a clerk. He enlisted on the 10th of May, 1917 at the age of 20, from Kaikohe, North Auckland. He joined the New Zealand Training Unit but died in training. He caught broncho-pneumonia following the influenza outbreak that claimed more lives than the Great War itself. He died on the 17th of November, 1918, age 21, never having completed his training. He is buried in Featherston Cemetery Western Lake Road, Featherston, Wairarapa Grave 556.