Attesting with the "rank" of Boy, he was appointed Drummer on 1 July, 1876. Promoted Private (bandsman) on 1 April, 1878,  appointed Lance
Corporal - April 1882, promoted Corporal - September 1883, appointed Lance Sergeant - October 1884,  promoted sergeant - 22 October, 1885.

His postings included:
Home service: December 1873 - June 1877
The Cape (South Africa): June 1877 - October 1879
India: October 1879 - December 1890
Aden: 1890  - 1891
Home: 1891 - 1894.

During his years as a soldier he was afflicted with many of the usual maladies that beset soldiers on active service in places like South Africa and

India. These included ague, conjunctivitis, malaria, rheumatism and a bout with hepatitis. It was this last disease that ended his military career
when he was listed as unfit for further military service in April 1894. His Long Service & Good Conduct Medal was approved in July, 1895
sometime after he had left the colours.

Besides the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal, Thake was entitled to the South Africa Medal with the
1877-8-9 clasp for service in both the
9th Cape Frontier War and the Anglo-Zulu War. Thake's entitlement is confirm in the South Africa Medal Roll for the 88th.  The 88th Foot was not
part of the ill-fated first invasion of Zululand but was attached to the Coastal Column under Major-General Crealock during the second invasion.

Three companies of the 88th remained in garrison on at Mauritius during the war.

Thake was married to Miss Amy Young on 8 June, 1892 and had at least three children, two daughters,  Evelyn Mary born in 1893 and Muriel

Digby born in 1894 and a son Cyril born about 1900. After leaving the service William Thake provided for his family as an Inspector of Customs in