William Dickson was born in Southampton, Hampshire, England in 1875 and his birth was registered in the second quarter of that year. He was baptised in St Michael's Church, Southampton on 7 April 1875 and he was the son of William Dickson (1840-1909) and Mary Jane Burridge (1850-1910). His father, a mariner, was originally from Dumfriesshire, Scotland and his mother from Truro, Cornwall and they had married in 1875 in Southampton. He had one known sibling, James Henry (b. 1877).
William first appears on the 1881 census when he was living with his family at 30 Mount Street, All Saints, Southampton. By the time of the 1891 census a 16-year-old William is described as a brick labourer.
As per the 1911 census William was married around 1894 to a lady named Martha (born circa 1873 in Southampton) although there is no official record for their marriage and it may have been a common-law arrangement. They would have three children with only one surviving infancy. Again, no records for their children can be found as their births were supposedly registered under their mother's maiden name.
On the 1901 census William, his "wife" Martha and their son William (born circa 1894) are living at 6 St George's Court, St Mary, Southampton and he was by now described as a ship's fireman. By the time of the 1911 census William and Martha, minus their only surviving child, are living at 10 Oriental Terrace, Holy Rood, Southampton and William was described, for reasons unknown, as invalided.
William was taken on as a substitute for a crewman who did not sail. When he signed on to the Titanic on 10th April, 1912, he gave his address as 10 Oriental Terrace, (Southampton). His last ship had been the Olympic. As a trimmer he received monthly wages of £5 10s.
William Dickson died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified.
What became of his widow and surviving child is unknown.