Frederick William Groves, Arsenal 1912 to 1921

“Making the Arsenal” – the book of Arsenal’s decline and rebirth

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By Tony Attwood

This series of articles focusses on the team that started the first post war season for Arsenal in 1919.  Inevitably however some of these players have already been the subject of articles on this site – including both the number 6 and number 7 for the opening game in 1919 against Newcastle:

Angus McKinnon

Jock Rutherford

Which takes us on to Frederick William Groves who turned out at number 8 in our first post war game.   He played inside and outside right plus centre forward on occasion.

Fred Groves was born on 13 January 1891 – but the date of his death is not known.

He was born in Shadwell and played for Barnet Albion (a club of which I have no detail at all) and Glossop North End before signing as an amateur player in August 1912, turning pro 14 months later.

His first game was against Derby County on December 7, 1912, in the dreadful relegation season.  In his first three seasons he played three, three and two games for the first team, but scored no goals.

Having made 133 wartime appearances for Arsenal, he played 29 times in the first post-war season scoring five goals, and 13 times with one goal in the following season.

He left the club in August 1921 having played 53 games scoring six in the league and one in the cup – plus of course all those wartime games.

Fred then moved on to Brighton and Hove Albion for whom he played for three years and then Charlton in 1924/5, followed by Dartford, after which he vanishes from the radar.

If you have more information please do write in.

New series: Arsenal after the first world war

1: The opening game, and Ernie Williamson our first post-war international

2: Frank Bradshaw, from inside left to full back – an Arsenal hero who vanished

3: Alex Graham – played before and after the first world war, then lost to history

4: The most curious case of Clem Voysey


9 Replies to “Frederick William Groves, Arsenal 1912 to 1921”

  1. Tony, you’ve said that Frederick played for Arsenal during the war, but you haven’t said anything about what he did during the war. Was he in the armed forces? I’ve seen two different references to a Corporal Frederick William Groves receiving a citation (or something) on March 17, 1919. One of those was a photocopy of a supplement to the London Gazette (page 3593 I believe). Looking in your National Archives, I can’t find any Groves that was born on January 13, 1891. Probably not the same person I would guess.

  2. Gord, I can’t go any further I’m afraid – in these articles I tend to put down everything that I can find, and then hope others will come in and fill in the gaps for me.

    There often is a lot more info out there – it is just that I try to limit myself in time on these pieces as otherwise I could spend a week to write a single piece!

    Sometimes I do have a spot more info to hand than normal (as in the next article in the series which looks at Thames Association in relation to our player) but that’s just because of personal connections.

  3. Tony, I spent a bit more time on Fred Groves today. Maybe if I was in the social sciences I would find it easier (I’m an engineer), but almost every idea I had was a dead end today. If I lived in the UK, maybe visiting newspapers or museums to look at paper or microfiche would work.

    One website was suggesting only 34 players (all teams in the UK) lost their lives in World War 1 (Woolwich Arsenal had 1 player, Leigh Roose). Another site didn’t mention Roose, but said that James Maxwell died on 19150927 in France, and Spencer Bassett died on 19170411 on the western front.

  4. I appreciate your efforts Gord, but the fact is that for quite a few of these players there is very little information.

    The number of casualties in the first world war was smaller than might be expected because many footballers were used as PE instructors, trying to get very unfit young men fit enough to be of use in the forces. Thus they were not used in combat.

    Also remember that the football league in Scotland continued during the war, and a number of players headed north to find employment.

  5. From our family history Fred Groves was my Grandmothers cousin on her fathers side. I think we have a family photo of Fred with possibly two brothers who also played football, one of whom may have also had a spell with Arsenal prior to also playing for Brighton.

  6. Wonder whether Frederick Groves was any relation to Vic Groves and Perry Groves? I know the latter two were related.

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