William Walter Hawkesworth was born in Shirley, Southampton, Hampshire, England in 1869 and his birth was registered in the June quarter of that year. He was the son of James Hawkesworth (1833-1899) and Elizabeth Brixey, née Brown (1835-1914).
His father was from Hythe and his mother from West Wellow, both in Hampshire, who had married in 1857 in Southampton. His mother Elizabeth had first been married in 1852 to Thomas Brixey and had a daughter Elizabeth the following year. What became of her first husband isn't clear.
William first appears on the 1871 census living at 250 Oxford Street, Millbrook, Hampshire with his parents, step-sister Elizabeth and siblings: Samuel Francis (b. 1858), James (b. 1860), Ellen Mathilda (b. 1862), Rosa (b. 1866) and Arthur Charles (b. 1871). His father was described as a mariner. They have relocated to 50 Pound Street, Millbrook by the time of the 1881 census, his father now described as a dock labourer. The family have also welcomed to new children: Robert Bertie (b. 1875) and Annie (b. 1872).
William is absent from the 1891 census but his family are now living at 12 Wilton Road, Shirley.
William was married in late-1898 to Ellen Iremonger (b. 1867 in Southampton). On the 1901 census the couple are living at 4 Derby Road, St Mary, Southampton and William was listed as a ship's steward. Present with them was their son George Francis (b. February 20, 1900). They would have another son in 1907, Arthur George. The 1911 census indicates that they had a total of three children, one dying in infancy.
The family have relocated to Bellemoor, Lemon Road, Shirley by the time of the 1911 census and have adopted a daughter, Dorothy Alice (b. 1905 in Hythe). This child may have been their niece, but she would later adopt the name Hawkesworth as her own.
When William signed-on to the Titanic, on 4 April 1912, he gave his address as Bellemoor, Lemon Road. His last ship had been the Olympic. As an assistant deck steward he received monthly wages of £3 15s. Also engaged aboard the Titanic was his elder brother James Hawkesworth.
Hawkesworth and his brother both died in the sinking. Their bodies, if recovered, were never identified.
William's widow Ellen did not remarry and remained in Southampton where she passed away in 1936. His son Arthur Charles died in Southampton in 1916 aged 8. His son George died in 1983 in Romsey and his adopted daughter Dorothy never married and died in 1965 in Southampton.