2nd Lt William Hornby was born on the 18th August 1893. He was the third son of the four sons and two daughters of The Venerable Phipps John Hornby, Archdeacon of Lancaster and Vicar of St Michael’s-on-Wyre, Garstang, Lancashire and Agnes Eleanor his wife. He attended Rugby School from 1907 to 1912 and afterwards Balliol College. Oxford. After which he entered the offices of Messrs Wilson, Hiles And Co, Cotton Brokers in Liverpool.
At the outbreak of the war he enlisted as a private in the 17th Kings Liverpool Regiment (1st Pals Battlalion) and trained at Prescot, Grantham and Salisbury Plain. He had more than one chance of a commission but declined as “he thought he as more useful where he was.” He went to France in November 1915 and spent all the winter and the following summer in or near the trenches. On the first day of the battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916, he was wounded in the head, but re joined before the end of the month. He received a commission in September and was killed while leading his Platoon in an attack on the German lines a mile north-west of Flers on the 12th October 1916 aged 23.
All four Hornby brothers served overseas in World War One, William’s older brother Geoffrey, a Lieutenant in the Suffolk Regiment, was killed at Frezenberg Ridge, Ypres, Belgium on the 8th May 1915. 2nd Lt William Hornby is buried in Warlencourt British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.