Fred Griffiths (footballer)
Frederick John Griffiths (13 September 1873 – 30 October 1917) was a Welsh association football player of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A goalkeeper, he won two caps for the Welsh national team. He was killed in action during the First World War.
|Full name||Frederick John Griffiths|
|Date of birth||13 September 1873|
|Place of birth||Presteigne, Wales|
|Date of death||30 October 1917(aged 44)|
|Place of death||Passchendaele, Belgium|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (188 cm)|
|1902||Preston North End||10||(0)|
|1902–1904||West Ham United||49||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Born in Presteigne, the son of a coal merchant, Griffiths played junior football in Wales before beginning his senior career with the Blackpool-based club South Shore in 1895. He went on to play for other Lancashire-based clubs Clitheroe, Blackpool and Stalybridge Rovers. On 3 February 1900, while on the books of Blackpool, he made his debut for Wales in an international match against Scotland at Aberdeen and later in the year played against England, making him the first Blackpool player to win an international cap. He also played in the Seasiders' first ever match at Bloomfield Road.
In 1901 Griffiths returned to Lancashire to join Preston North End of The Football League. He made ten league appearances for the club before once more returning to London to play for West Ham United in 1902. He replaced William Biggar in goal after Biggar conceded five goals in a defeat to Wellingborough Town, and remained the club's first-choice goalkeeper for two seasons. In the summer of 1904 he joined New Brompton, where he spent two seasons, making over 50 first team appearances and serving as club captain. He next joined Middlesbrough but never played for the club's first team, before a final move to minor club Moore's Athletic of Shirebrook, where he also worked as a coalminer.
After retiring from playing, Griffiths worked as a coal miner in the Midlands and trained local teams in Shirebrook before joining the British Army during World War I. He served with the 15th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment), reaching the rank of serjeant. The unit had originally been raised as a bantam battalion in Nottingham in 1915. By 1917 the battalion was part of 35th Division which was thrown into the Battle of Passchendaele in October 1917. Griffiths was killed in action on 30 October 1917, along with four others of his battalion (another 15 were wounded that day). He is buried at the Dozinghem Military Cemetery in West Flanders, Belgium.
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