According to his draft paper, dated February 20, 1918 at Hamilton, William Chowns of Humber Bay was born on January 24, 1889 at Thame, Oxfordshire, England. He listed his mother, Emma Chowns, Humber Bay as his next of kin. He was a labourer and had no previous military experience. He was 29 years and 10 months of age and stood 5 feet 7 1/2 inches tall. He had grey eyes, dark hair and a medium complexion. He had a nasal spur.
According to the 1911 census the Chowns family was living on Davidson Crescent in Humber Bay. The records indicate that William emigrated from England in 1906 while other members of the family arrived at different dates.
William Chowns was a member of the 19th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment), when he was killed on November 10, 1918 (one day before the November 11th armistice that led to an end of the war) . According to the CEF burial register he was "instantly killed by a machine gun bullet through the head". He is buried in the Mons (Bergen) Communal Cemetery, Belgium.