Bill Whittaker has remained an enigma to myself as a Brentford F.C. historian and it’s pleasing after all these years to think this mystery is probably solved. Bill played for The Bees in their F.A. Cup campaign in 1945-46, and was the only post-war player that I didn’t have a date of birth for, but this may be solved thanks to some Kingstonian fans.
He is of interest to the project as he played once for the England amateur international side, a 5-2 victory over Wales at Whaddon Road in Cheltenham on 28 January 1939. The side that day was:
Whitehead G.K. (Bury Amateurs); Burchell G.S. (Romford); Ellis R. (Wealdstone); Lewis J.W. (Walthamstow Avenue); Whittaker W. (Kingstonian); Leek T.H. (Moor Green); Perkins G.E. (Cheltenham Town); Edelston M. (London University and Brentford); Clements B.A. (Barking); Gibbons A.H. (RAF and Brentford); Finch L.C. (Barnet).
In researching Bill’s background, I led myself up a blind alley in thinking Bill’s brother (also a Kingstonian player) was called George so knowing it was actually Geoff probably solved things in no more than 20 minutes flat on the internet.
I discovered a couple of weeks ago by chance that both brothers played for the now-defunct Nunhead football Club prior their spell at Richmond Road. The history of Nunhead, published a few years ago by Mick Blackemore, gives both brothers initials as W.F. and G.J. It noted in the book that G.J. was a “first class cricketer with Surrey”.
Armed with the new knowledge on his first name, I looked up the CricInfo website and Geoff is listed in the link below:
I then checked www.freebmd.org.uk, which is a free repository of births, marriages and deaths. The information is divided into quarters, i.e. January to March, April to June etc.
Geoff’s entry gives his mother’s maiden name of Tomblin. Searching all Whittakers with the maiden name Tomblin from 1912 onwards revealed the following:
Sep 1912 Robert L Northampton
Sep 1914 John P Exeter
Jun 1916 Geoffrey J Camberwell
Mar 1921 Florence F Camberwell
Now, the Kingstonian programme notes from the 1980s revealed that there was a third brother called Bob, who we can assume was christened Robert. The 1912 birth above seems to fit.
This website gives the maiden name for births after 1912, but I suspected William was older than Geoff. I now searched for “William Whittaker” born in Northampton prior to 1912 and we have one registered in 1911, called William Frederick (matching the initials in the Nunhead book).
A search of post 1984 deaths shows a William Frederick Whittaker, born 18 Apr 1911, and his death was registered in December 1992 in Andover. This, I believe, is our man. I will purchase the death certificate and try and find any close relatives from that to finally prove this mystery. I think there is a good chance Florence is still alive also.