Born in 1925, William Dalziel was raised in the northern Chicago industrial city of Waukegan, IL. During WWII in June of 1943, William Dalziel, then 18, attempted to enlist in the U.S. Army. At a height of only 4 feet 10 1/2 inches and weighing 105 pounds, Dalziel was rejected due to his small stature. Five months later, still eager to serve and having grown an inch in height, Dalziel returned to his draftboard in October of 1943 and was commissioned into the U.S. Army Air Corps. His tenacity to serve the nation and his particular size caught the attention of the national press and a newspaper article was published across the country showing young Dalziel photographed hanging from a bar to stretch himself before the officers of his draft board. To the Army Air Corps, his determination and size was an ideal fit to serve as a ball turret gunner in a Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress”. Dalziel served his country with distinction, and became an ace gunner in 308th Army Air Bombardment Division.
Daziel's war-time experiences as a B-17 ball turret gunner greatly impacted his life and artwork. His position was one of the most dangerous assignments of WWII; the life expectancy of a ball turret gunner was typically only 15
missions. Dalziel survived over 25 missions, and became a member of the renowned “Lucky Bastard Club”, an unofficial but highly esteemed award conveyed by fellow airmen to those who survived and excelled in their tours of duty.
After World War II, William Dalziel returned to Chicago to become an artist. He began his studies in 1948 at the University of Illinois, Chicago and received both his undergraduate degree and, in 1963, his Masters Degree of Fine Art (MFA) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), winning honors. In June 1963, the Art Institute of Chicago selected one of Dalziel's paintings for exhibition at the Sixty-sixth Annual Exhibition of Artists of Chicago and Vicinity.
Dalziel died in Chicago in 2017 at the age of 92.