Like many other of the older men in Whalsay, Willie was a retired seaman and fisherman. He first went to ‘the fishing’ as a 15-year-old, spending two years as a cook and one as a deck hand. Then, from 1920, he sailed on tramp steamers until 1928 when he joined the City and Blue Funnel lines as a quartermaster. During World War Two he worked for the Air Ministry at Sumburgh, returning afterwards to Whalsay to spend the rest of his working career as the local ‘postie’. While being thought of highly as a singer he also played the fiddle extremely well and his skills were often in demand at dances and other celebrations in Whalsay. Willie died in 1974 aged 72 years. His son (also Willie) has learned many of his father’s large store of songs and in 2001 he published some of these along with his own renderings of them on a locally produced CD entitled Memories of Marrister.