- 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 gonorrhea 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 and 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.  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.

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 London.