Billy was a bookie's runner who dodged enlisting during the war. Flo's step-mother Gertie thought Billy was bad for her but Flo admired his fancy clothes and thought she could reform him. After marrying, the couple started trying for a baby but Flo never fell pregnant. Billy was a serial adulterer and, blaming Flo for not giving him a child, ran off with Susie Makepiece from No.11. Flo never gave up hope that he would return to her and amazingly, two years after he left Billy re-appeared at No.3 and sat down at the dinner table. Flo never questioned why he'd come back and the family continued as though he'd never been away.
During the Depression, Billy lost his job on the trams and earned money by doing odd jobs for friends. Flo coped alone for nine months when Billy was sent to prison for handling stolen goods, and on his release they had to shoulder another burden when Billy's mother Iris "Granny" Chad settled into No.3. The only wages coming in were Flo's from her job as a barmaid at the Rovers Return so they didn't qualify for Government assistance and faced starvation. In 1938, Flo's sister Molly Lonswaite visited from Canada and treated Flo and Billy (by this time, Gertie and Iris had passed on) to a lavish meal at the Imperial Hotel. Flo and Billy were so malnourished that they collapsed, and a horrified Molly insisted that they return to Canada with her. The Chads gave up the tenancy of No.3 and left the country immediately.