William Ainsworth served in the 5th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was killed in action on 16 April 1917, aged 39.
Major Ainsworth was the highest ranking officer connected with Bolton School to die as a result of either of the two World Wars. The 5th Battalion was mobilised soon after the outbreak of war, and throughout its training – first under Lieutenant Colonel Thomasson and later Lieutenant Colonel Hitchens – Major Ainsworth was second in command and was regarded by both commanders to have been a splendid officer.
He was killed instantly in France, with another officer severely wounded, when a large shell exploded very near to a group of soldiers behind the front line. He is buried in Rue-Petillon Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix.
William Ainsworth was born in September 1877 and admitted to Bolton School in 1888, leaving two years later to continue his education at Rossall School. He married Bertha in 1910. After leaving school he worked in the cotton industry and eventually became Managing Director of Derby Street Spinning Company and the Eagle Mill owned by Joseph Crook & Company.