William Harder, known as Bill, was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England on 2 June 1872.
He was the son of James Harder (1831-1889), general labourer and former railway porter, and his wife Eliza Jane, née Bradford (1833-1898). His father was native to Ringwood, Hampshire and his mother to St Helier, Jersey in the Channel Islands and they were married in Hampshire in 1854, producing a further seven children (that are known of) besides William: James (b. 1856), Sarah Jane (b. 1858), Mary Ann (b. 1860), Alice (b. 1863), Eliza (b. 1881), Harry (b. 1868) and George (b. 1876).
William first appears on the 1881 census and by that time he and his family were living at 4 John Street in St Mary, Southampton. His father passed away in 1889 and the 1891 census shows William, now described as a bricklayer's apprentice, still living with his widowed mother, now at 2 Isaacs Court, Southampton. His mother would not last the decade and died in 1898. William would be absent from the 1901 census but it is likely that he was by then living with an older sibling, possibly his married sister Elizabeth White, who then lived with her family at 18 Lower York Street, Southampton.
William was married in Southampton in 1905 to Mary Elizabeth Green (b. 1878 in Southampton) and the couple went on to have a total of nine children: William George (1906-1989), Alfred James (1906-1976), Ernest Charles (1909-1911), Lilian Emily Maud (1910-1981), Mabel Alice (1911-1983), Daisy Florence (1912-1989), Edith K. M. (1914-1915), Gladys Rose (1916-2005) and Walter J. (1920-1920).
William, his wife and first four children were recorded on the 1911 census living at 46 Winton Street, Kingsland, Southampton and he is described as a labourer for a corporation (electrical).
When William signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, he gave his address as 46 Winton Street, (Southampton). The Titanic was his first ship and working as a window cleaner he could expect to earn monthly wages of £4.
William survived the sinking, escaping in lifeboat 14.
Returning to England, William reportedly never returned to sea, opting instead for land-based work, later working for the corporation electric department. Apparently reluctant to discuss his experiences on the Titanic, William, and his wife later lived as 6 Brinton's Road, Southampton and he died in the Borough Hospital on 6 December 1947. He was buried at Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton (section A14, Plot 178) as Bill Harder. His wife died four years later in 1951.