William’s birth was registered at Warialda NSW in 1897. He was a nineteen year old Carrier when he enlisted at Warialda in February 1916. His parents, William and Margaret Burling, gave permission for their son to serve overseas.
William joined the Second Contingent of The Kurrajongs on their journey to the Narrabri and Armidale Camps. He became a member of the 33rd Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement which trained at Armidale and Rutherford prior to leaving Australia on HMAT A15 Port Sydney on 4 September 1916. After arriving in England further training was conducted at Salisbury Plain until the Battalion was sent to France just before Christmas 1916. During the Battle of Messines William was wounded in action and required treatment for a gunshot wound to his face. Whilst on leave in England in January 1918 he became ill with bronchitis and was admitted to the 2nd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Southall. After returning to France in May he was appointed Lance Corporal. Once again he was wounded and admitted to the Casualty Clearing station suffering the effects of gas poisoning. It was several weeks before he returned to his unit.
Lance Corporal Burling returned to Australia and was discharged in September 1919. He married Ivy Cleal in 1922 and had two children. William died at Inverell in 1969 and was buried at Warialda. His name is inscribed on the Warialda Honour Roll.