William Whithorn was born in Berkeley on 27 May 1890 to William Whithorn, a farm labourer, and Ruth née Young. His parents had married in 1885, somewhat late in life, but they had five children; their youngest child, Percy John, was killed in action in 1916. William found work as a waggoner on a farm in Woodford, near Berkeley, and in 1915 became the second husband of Louisa Ellen Bray (née Hayward). Louisa's first husband, William Bray, had been a Great Western Railway platelayer who had died in 1913, and from whom William inherited on his marriage two daughters, Betty Louisa and Beatrice May. William and Louisa's first child, Cyril, was born in 1916.
On 8 February 1917, with his experience of working with horses, William joined the Army Veterinary Corps. He did not see overseas service. Later that year, on 9 November, he was discharged as physically unfit due to myalgia that was 'Not a result of, but aggravated by military service during the war and exposure to Service conditions'. This condition was assessed as permanent and preventing 30 per cent of normal activity, but no treatment was required. As a result he had a disability pension, initially at 12s. 6d. per week for support of three children; after a later medical review reported 50 per cent disability, the pension was increased to 13s. 9d., with an additional 7s. 11d. for the children. He was awarded the Silver War Badge in recognition of his disability and his service is commemorated on the plaque in the village hall.
After his discharge, William and Louisa lived in The Street, Frampton, where they had five more children: Geoffrey, Winifred, Ralph, Sidney and Leslie. They later moved to 5 Bridge Road and then to 17 The Oval. Louisa having died in 1961, William married Lilian Summers in 1964. Latterly they lived at 7 Bridge Road. William Whithorn died in 1976 and Lilian three years later.