William Wilson was born on 1 May 1913. He studied at the University of Glasgow, graduating with a second-class Honours degree in French and German in 1937. He then enrolled for teacher training at the Glasgow Provincial Training College (forerunner of Jordanhill College of Education, now the University of Strathclyde), attending from 1 October 1937 to 16 December 1938. The College student register shows that he was then lodging care of Blunt at 116 Caledonian Road, Wishaw, Lanarkshire. Wilson successfully completed the concurrent Chapter III and Chapter V course, which led to two qualifications: the Teacher's General Certificate, entitling him to teach primary school subjects, and the Teacher's Special Certificate, entitling him to teach the subjects of French and German in secondary schools.