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whalley-1Frederick Harold Whalley, known simply as Fred Whalley, was born in Bolton on 9th October 1898 and post-war played top flight football as a goalkeeper for Preston North End and Leeds United.

Fred had enlisted into the 3rd Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment as a reservist in November 1913 when he was 15 years old and working as a cotton spinner.

When war was declared in August 1914, he was mobilised (8th August) and began a short period of training for service overseas. Soon after he sailed to France and joined the 1st Battalion in the field on 22nd September 1914.

Having gone through the Battle of Givenchy in late December 1914, on 7th January 1916 Fred was tried by field general court marshal for falling asleep at his post whilst on sentry duty. He was found guilty and sentenced to one years hard labour which, having reported himself to the hospital in Rouen with trench foot, he served in the UK. In November 1915, having served the majority of his sentence, he was posted back into the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion. Fred was reprimanded soon after, before the year was out he had made himself AWOL for three days.

In January 1916 Fred was posted into the 9th Battalion and sent back out to France.

He returned from France in May 1916 again with trench foot and was shortly thereafter transferred to Kings Liverpool Regiment. In March 1917 he was transferred again, this time to the 28th Works Battalion of the Labour Corps (No. 130668) and soon then on to 393 Employment company. The beginning of 1918 saw Fred working with an Agricultural company of the Labour Corps until the time of his discharge in December 1918 as being no longer fit for war service. He was issued Silver War Badge No. 521607 although his disability of frost bite was considered not permanent, but due to active service.

Medical note upon discharge

He says his feet still give him trouble, becoming cold and numb, and that when they do so he has to sit down or he would fall. There is not much to be made out on examination except that his feet feel cold and are pale in colour. Rheumatism ankles and knees, not very severe due to present service, while standing in wet trenches.

Football Career

Fred Whalley signed as a goalkeeper for Preston North End in June 1919.


As there is no indication of the date when Jones, their reserve goalkeeper in pre-war days, will be released from the Army, with which he is still serving in India, North End have added Fred Whalley to their playing staff. The newcomer, who signed this week, along with Gillow, Hosker and Goodwin, may be described as a local product of military football, for whilst he was formerly a member of the Roper;s and English Martyrs School teams, and appeared later in the Schoolboys’ town eleven, most of his football experience was acquired after joining the Army in 1912 (sic). Enlisting in the L.N.L. Regt. in that year at the age of 15, he served until December 18th last year, when he received his discharge papers. He was sent overseas twice during the war, going out in September 1914, with the 1st Battalion, which belonged to the 1st Division, and returning home the following year with ‘trench feet’. On his recovery he returned to France, but after the Somme battles he was again invalided home from the same cause, being subsequently transferred to a home service labour company.

Twenty-two years of age, Whalley, who assisted North End in one or two Central League and friendly games in the closing stages of last season, is one of the tallest goalkeepers in the country, as he stands a trifle above 6ft and weights nearly 13st.  He played football with his Regiment both before and during the war, whilst in 1917-18 he played regularly with the A.S.C. team whilst stationed in Pembroke Dock.

Grimsby Town, Leeds United and Fulham*

Fred only made eight League appearances at Deepdale before he joined Third Division Grimsby Town the following summer and made twenty-three appearances for them before he became a Leeds United player in May 1921.

fred whalley1

Goalkeeper, Fred Whalley at Leeds United

Whalley thought nothing of chatting to the fans behind his goal when the action was up the other end of the pitch. His antics made him extremely popular at Leeds but beneath the comic exterior was a dedicated professional who excelled at his job. He displaced Billy Down, who had been an ever-present in the Leeds team in their first League season and established himself as United’s keeper for the next two seasons, but after the first few games of the 1923-24 season, Down regained his first team spot and Whalley left for Second Division Fulham in March 1924. He only made eight League appearances at Craven Cottage before he retired in 1926.

Following his football days, Fred returned to Preston where he became a policeman. He died at Eccles, near Manchester on 25th April 1976.

Paul McCormick
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2 Responses to 2339 PTE. F. WHALLEY. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. steve Minihane says:

    Could you help me I have a 1914-15 star issue 13245 belonging to a Pte T Whalley L.N LAN:R but it takes me to Fred Whalley is this the same person ?

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