The Reverend William Grant was minister at St Andrews Presbyterian Church in Gisborne, New Zealand. He accepted a call to replace the former minister in 1906 and remained there until the outbreak of World War I. At that time he took a leave of absence to enlist in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and was appointed Chaplain-Major of the Main Body.

During his period at St. Andrews, Reverend Grant made numerous coastal trips, including aboard the ss Wimmera. He is first identified as a passenger in June 1908 for a voyage from Gisborne to Napier. In March 1909 he was a passenger into Gisborne from the south; in July 1911 he was again a passenger from Gisborne to Napier and, in November 1911 he returned to Gisborne aboard the Wimmera from Wellington where he had attended the Presbyterian General Assembly.

As Chaplain-Major, William Grant, saw service at Gallipoli, as did two of his sons. He was killed at the Dardanelles on 28 August 1915.