William Oliver was 19 years old when he signed on the Pandora as an able seaman September 25, 1790. He was promoted to master's mate the same day.
When the Pandora left Tahiti with the mutineers and prisoners, Captain Edwards, having properly outfitted their schooner, christened her the Matavy and took her along as a tender, under the command of Mr. Oliver, with Midshipman David Renouard, Quartermaster James Dodds, and six crewmen.
The Pandora and the Matavy tender became separated at Upolu Island in the Samoas on June 22, 1791. The tender and the Pandora, breaking off her search, made for Annamooka Island, their designated rendevous point. Oliver on the tender, without charts and mis-estimating the distance, came upon the wrong island, and just in time, as they were rapidly succombing to hunger and thirst. The Pandora, giving up on the tender, resumed her search.
Oliver and his crew also decided they were in the wrong place, and stocking their vessel with cocoanuts, yams, and water, set off for the East Indies, hoping to find a European settlement. Unlike the Pandora, they actually made it all the way to Java, having covered a greater distance than Bligh in the launch. At Semarang, Java, they were reunited with what remained of the Pandora's crew.
Unfortunately, young Oliver did not make it back to England. He died, presumably of a fever, on board VOC Vreedenburg, on the voyage from Batavia to the Cape of Good Hope.