Edwards, Francis

Edwards, Francis

F G Edwards played at centre or wing for Gloucester from 1933 until 1937. He was Gloucester’s leading try scorer in that period and played regularly for Gloucestershire. He was an England trialist, Barbarian and wartime International. After 1937 he continued to play for Gloucestershire and occasionally for Gloucester, although living outside the county. He played his last game for the club in 1945-46 before retiring during the following season.

Francis Edwards was educated at WycliffeCollege and was a member of their 1st XV which was unbeaten for two seasons in 1930-32. He made his debut for Gloucester United against Hereford on December 24, 1932. WB in the Citizen said “He fulfilled all the good things I had heard about him. He possesses plenty of thrust and dash, runs strongly and knows how to give and take a pass.” He made his senior debut against Cheltenham on March 25, 1933, making a scoring break and scoring a try. WB again: “He is good enough to take his place in any senior XV”

Edwards played regularly for Gloucester in their record breaking 1933-34 season. He was the club’s leading try scorer in 1934-35 with 21 tries. He made his debut for Gloucestershire on the wing against Devon on October 26, 1935.  For Gloucester he was second only to Hook in the scoring list that season. In 1936-37 he had an England trial and played in the Gloucestershire side which won the CountyChampionship.

He moved north and played for BirkenheadPark in 1937-38 and for BirkenheadPark, Leicester and Gloucester in 1938-39 before returning to play for Gloucester in the first wartime (1939-40) season. He continued to play for Gloucestershire in the two seasons he was away and had a final England trial in 1938-39, playing for the Rest side that beat England and for the Barbarians, but still was not selected for the Home Internationals.

In 1939-40 he played wartime internationals against Wales at Cardiff and Gloucester, as a Gloucester player. On his debut for England at Cardiff in 1940, The Times said “Edwards proved to be the kind of centre that England has been crying for in recent years”. He was a first choice for England and continued to turn out for wartime internationals when available in 1941 and 1942, his last game being against Scotland on March 21, 1942.

In the first season after the war, Edwards returned to Leicester. He played as a Leicester player for both the Combined Leicestershire & East Midlands XV and  the Combined Gloucestershire & Somerset XV against the touring New Zealand Army in January and for the Barbarians in February 1946. He also played both for and against Gloucester before retiring during the 1946-47 season.

Comments about this page

  • I met Francis for the first time in 1954. I had been sent by E. S. & A. Robinson Ltd of Bristol to their Leicester office for “training” for 2 months and was placed in the care of Francis, or “Fraz” as he was known to his colleagues, although I always addressed him by his full name. His wife was affectonally known as”Mopsy” I would always address her as Mrs Edwards.
    I was playing Junior Welsh Rugby at the time. Francis was on the committee of Leicester RFC and he invited me to to several summer training evenings with the team at Welford Road. Francis was in his forties by then, I in my twenties and playing 15 a side “touch” rugby as a winger trying to keep up with his burst of pace through the centre I found difficult.
    We remained good friends when he returned to Bristol as Sales Director and I was promoted to the Sheffield area. We met on many occasions when visiting Bristol and the hospitality I received at their house in Leigh Woods is legendary. Francis taught me a lot about life and people.
    The last time we met was in London in the early 70’s when I had been made Sales Director in London for Robinson’s Companies in Scotland
    Now 88 years of age, I have fond memories of a fine man and a good friend..
    Geoffrey Pritchard
    President, Newport High School Old Boys RFC (WRU Div. 2 East)
    Now at 53,Ridgeway Crescent
    Newport NP205AP
    Tel : 01633 215540
    07832479058.

    By Geoffrey Pritchard (21/02/2020)
  • Francis Edwards was my uncle, who I believe died in 1973. Only met him once in Bristol in 1961 (I was a 10 year old) My mother Muriel was his sister in law (Isobel’s younger sister).
    John Edwards was Francis & Isobel’s son followed by daughters Alison, Lorna & Lucy Please publish my email:- pearson239@sky.com Tel:- 01673 842481 should anyone like a “chinwag”.
    PS Who is Suzie?

    By Charlie Sullivan (14/03/2019)
  • To Jonathan Pywell (22/08/2016)

    My rugby playing son was just looking at this page and we noticed you had responded to Francey. I called her & as I suspected she hadn’t seen your comment. We would absolutely love to have copies of whatever Edwards family memorabilia you may have. I am married to Richard who is John Edwards only son (& older brother to Francey). I will see if I can get hold of you any other way, as I’m not sure how often you look at this!

    Suzie

     

    By Suzie Edwards (25/01/2017)
  • To Francis Edwards (2/11/2015)

    My grandma was a housekeeper to your grandad and his wife, Isobel, when they lived in Stoneygate, Leicester. I have two interesting letters, one from your grandad and one from your grandma addressed to my grandma. I also have a newspaper clipping about your grandad’s move to Bristol with his work. If you would like copies, please leave a contact email or address.

    Jonathan Pywell

    By Jonathan Pywell (18/08/2016)
  • This was my grandfather, so pleased to find this. He died a year before I was born. Thank you for writing.

    By Frances Edwards (02/11/2015)

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