William Long was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England in 1876 and his birth was registered in the June quarter of that year. He was the son of George Oliver Long (1851-1911) and Fanny Hayes (1854-1929). His father was a native of Redlynch, Wiltshire and his mother of Eling, Hampshire. They had married on June 25, 1872 in Southampton.
On the 1881 census the family reside at 15 Queen Street, St Mary, Southampton. William's father is described as a general labourer. Present also are his siblings George (b. 1875), Louisa Fanny (b. 1879) and Frank (b. 1880). They moved several doors down to 29 Queen Street by the time of the 1891 census and have welcomed more children: Jane (b. 1884) and Arthur Alfred Charles (b. 1888). Another move has occurred by the time of the 1901 census, with the family living at 6 Hill Street.
William was married in Southampton in early 1897 to Ethel Eunice Abbott (b. 1878 in Southampton) and they would have six children, five of whom lived past infancy: Ethel Louisa (1897-1979), Edith May (b. 1898), William Frank (b. 1903), George James (b. 1906) and Jack Oliver (b. 1912-1975).
On the 1901 census neither William nor his wife are present at home, William working in the Royal Navy and his wife as a servant at a Southampton address. In the 1911 census Ethel and four of her children are living at 5 Marine Terrace, Bevois Valley, Southampton. William is listed elsewhere at Thames, Berth 7, Southampton and is described as a coal trimmer.
When William signed-on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, he gave his address as 5 Marine Terrace, Southampton. As a trimmer he received monthly wages of £5 10. His brother Frank also worked as a trimmer on the Titanic.
Long died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
William's widow Ethel never remarried and died in Winchester, Hampshire in 1940.