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To mark VE Day, we take a look at some of the former Cobblers players who were in action in the Second World War

8 May 2020

To mark VE Day, Ethan Grande from Cobblers Past has profiled below a number of Cobblers players who wore the claret and white during World War 2.


The club's all time record appearances maker, Tommy made his Cobblers debut against West Brom in a war time game in March 1945. He played for the Cobblers for sixteen and a half years.

During hostilities he initially played for Everton scoring eight goals in seventeen games before he was called up for national service.

A Lance Corporal, he found himself in France where he almost lost his life when a sniper's bullet went through his helmet, cut a furrow in his forehead and came out the other side of the helmet!

Although he felt at the time he was not seriously injured he was taken to the field hospital and later shipped back to England.

While recovering in Bromham, Bedfordshire, Cobblers Coach Jack Jennings came looking for recruits for Northampton Town and took Tommy and Archie Garrett and the rest his history.

Tommy made 521 League appearances for the club, plus another 31 in the FA Cup, 34 war time games plus 26 others, the most any Cobblers players as ever made.


Gilbert made his debut for the club on November 2 1940 and went on to score 39 goals in 61 appearances.

During World War 2 he joined the RAF representing them and several other league clubs.

During his career, in addition to the Cobblers, he also represented Bath City, Coventry City, Walsall, West Brom, Ipswich, Luton, Leicester and Mansfield.


Frank made his debut against Luton Town in May 1940 and scored twice in two games as a guest for the club during the war.

During the war time football he also played for Birmingham City, Aston Villa, Notts County, Nottingham Forest, Chesterfield and Wolves.

He was a free scoring winger who could adapt to inside or centre forward. He established himself in the Aston Villa side prior to WW2 and helped them to the Division 2 title.

During his time at Villa Park, Frank picked up seven international caps for England scoring three goals on the way.

His first game for his country was against Germany where the England players were made to give the Nazi salute.


George made sixteen appearances for Northampton Town as a war time guest.

He was an excellent defender, a hard tackler, a quick thinker and an excellent passer of the ball. He won three of his Scottish caps while with Falkirk, and then joined Aston Villa in 1935 for £9,350. He helped them back to Division One, continuing to turn out for Scotland whenever called upon.

During the war George found himself playing as a guest for many of the Midlands clubs, incliding the Cobblers, but played over 170 times in a Villa shirt.

As captain George often led the team out with a ball in one hand and a cigarette in the other!


John played 17 war time games for the Cobblers.

When the club lost both goalkeepers, Gormlie and Jones with long-term injuries, they quickly signed John from Crystal Palace.

He had never played in a league match before but gave a good account of himself in the handful of games he played in. John was retained for the following season and played in the first three league games before the league was abandoned after war was declared.


Dave scored 33 goals for the Cobblers in 142 appearances.

He turned up at Northampton in 1943 and had one of his best seasons and local media reports suggested he could represent England.

After being stationed in Germany where he played for the Rhine Army, Dave returned to Northampton where he signed on full terms when the war ended.

Dave started out as an inside forward and then moved to the. wings before his retirement.

After four seasons as Northampton Town’s secretary, Dave took over as manager when Bob Dennison moved to Middlesbrough.

After five seasons in the hot seat he suggested to the board that they bring Dave Bowen back to the club as player coach, they in fact brought him back as player manager and Dave joined Aldershot where he spent ten seasons as manager and general manager.


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