He was born in Sudbury, Derbyshire, England in the closing months of 1866 and was baptized on 9 December that year in Sudbury Parrish Church.
He was the illegitimate child of Caroline Harrison (b. 1850), a native of Ledbury, Derbyshire. Caroline was the firstborn of Philip Harrison (b. 1822 in Boyleston, Derbyshire), an agricultural labourer, and Hannah Land (b. 1826 in Sudbury). Philip and Hannah Harrison had married in May 1849 and had one other child besides Caroline, a son named Albert (b. 1853) and the family lived in Sudbury.
William was seemingly raised by his grandparents and appears with them on the 1871 and 1881 census records, at both instances listed at Grove in Sudbury. What became of his mother is not known.
William was married on 26 December 1889 in St Chad's Church, Derby, Derbyshire to Ann Elizabeth Riley (b. 1868), a native of Derby and the daughter of Thomas and Ellen Riley, née Maddocks. The couple had two children: Ellen (b. 1891, later Mrs Harold Townend) and Thomas Leslie (b. 1899).
When he appeared on the 1891 census he was living at 8 Guelph (?) Street, West Derby, Lancashire and was described as a clerk and bookkeeper. The 1901 census shows the family living at 17 Sandiways Road, Wallasey, Cheshire and William was by then described as a clerk at a steamship office (presumably White Star). William and his family finally appear on the 1911 census living at Sudbury on Grove Road, Wallasey and he was then described as a private secretary. His employer was Joseph Bruce Ismay.
Harrison died in the sinking. His body was later recovered by the CS MacKay Bennett (#110).
NO.110 - MALE - ESTIMATED AGE, 40 - HAIR AND MOUSTACHE, FAIR
CLOTHING - Green overcoat; dark suit; white shirt, blue stripe; purple socks.
EFFECTS - fountain pen; cigarette holder; three memo books; pair cuff links; gold stud; bill book; pipe; keys; silver knife; £10 in gold; £1.18s.8d in bag; and £10 in notes.
FIRST CLASS - NAME - W.H.HARRISON
His remains were buried at Fairview Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia on 1 May 1912.
His estate, worth £840, 11s, 6d was administered to his widow Ann on 7 June 1912. Ann never remarried and later settled in London. She died in Pinner, Middlesex on 2 February 1948.