He left school to go to sea in 1934 with Reardon Smiths, serving on the SS Queen City for over four years before joining Ellerman;s Wilson Line in 1938, where he began studying for his tickets.
During the war, whilst serving on SS Guido, he was torpedoed and rescued in the Atlantic in 1943. Also, whilst serving on SS Thyra II, he was mined in 1940 and the SS Samdel was hit by a flying bomb.
William served on rescue ships SS Dewsbury and SS Selby.
After the war normal service was resumed and he progressed to gaining his master's ticket in 1952/1953. He remained with Ellermans until his retirement in 1977.
Captain White's association with Trinity House began in 1956, when he was accepted as a Young Brother. He became steward in 1972 and a member of the Board in 1982. He served twice as Master Warden/Co-Warden in 1985/86 and 1989/90. Indeed, the first time he took office as Master Warden was for the welcoming of HRH Prince Charles as an Honorary Elder Brother and being host to Princess Diana - something of which he was very proud.