William Dunford was born in Lewes, Sussex, England in 1864 and his birth was registered in the last quarter of that year. He was the son of Alfred Dunford (b. 1836) and Susannah Novis (b. 1837). His father hailed from Brighton and his mother from Lewes and they were married in 1858.
William had nine known siblings: Elizabeth (b. 1858), Fanny (b. 1860), Ellen (b. 1867), Walter (b. 1869), Annie (b. 1875), James (b. 1878), Alice (b. 1880), Frederick (b. 1883) and Albert (b. 1885).
He first appears on the 1871 census living at 2 North Street, Lingfield, East Grinstead, Sussex with his family, his father being described as a groom. They relocated to Brighton shortly after this and are living at 7 Park Place in that town on the 1881 census, with William being described as a greengrocer's assistant, a trade he would continue to work in for several years. The family are listed as 41 Jubilee Street, Brighton on 1891 census but William is absent and is unlisted elsewhere.
William's father died sometime between the 1901 and 1911 censuses but his fate is unknown. His mother became a charwoman and latterly wound up in the Poor Workshouse, 250 Elm Grove, Brighton and was listed here on the 1911 census. She died in 1915 aged 78.
On the 1901 census William is still working as a grocer and is listed as a boarder at 20 Bridge Street, All Saints, Southampton, the home of a Mr George Bishop and his wife Fanny and their family. William would apparently continue to board with this family frequently and would later appear on the 1911 census with them, now at 16 Bridge Street. He was by now listed as a ship's hospital attendant.
When he signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, William gave his address as 16 Bridge Street, (Southampton). His last ship had been the Olympic. As the hospital steward he received monthly wages of £4 10s.
William Dunford died in the sinking. His body was recovered by the Mackay-Bennett (#71) and buried at sea.
NO. 71. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 45. - HAIR, MEDIUM; CLEAN SHAVEN.
CLOTHING - Blue uniform suit; black boots; "hospital attendant' on coat; pants marked "M. O."
EFFECTS - Clinical thermometer; keys; scissors; note book; pouch and pipe; 5s. 9 1/2 d.; knife.