John William (Will) Forward was born on 7 Dec 1869 in Mere, Wiltshire, England, the fourth child of Giles Forward (1841-1892), a butcher, and his wife Mary Lampard Green (1842-1884). The family arrived in Launceston in 1882 when Will was 12. His mother died two years later, in Mar 1884. His father married Emily Jane Weymouth on 1 Oct of that year.
Will was a noted tenor soloist in Launceston and played the viola in the Exhibition Orchestra in 1891-92. He married well-known musician Helena (Lena) Beadle on 17 Mar 1897. They had two daughters, Winifred Mabel on 21 Feb 1898 and Florence Marguerite on 28 Feb 1900. Will was a bootmaker in 1903 and later a stationer's assistant at AW Birchall & Sons. He arranged Tasmanian tours for well-known singers and musicians such as Dames Clara Butt and Nellie Melba.
John and his family lived in South Bank Road, Trevallyn, until 1926 when they moved to Hobart, where Will established his own music-selling business. On 6 Aug 1940 Will Forward died aged 70 at his residence, 32 Seymour Street, New Town, Tasmania. His wife Lena died in Jun 1942, also aged 70. Their ashes were interred in the Cornelian Bay Cemetery.