Bertie Oswald Corbett was born in Thame, Oxfordshire one of three sons of Rev. Elijah Bagot Corbett (Vicar of Thame 1872 – 1893). He was educated at Thame Grammar School and played football for Oxfordshire at the age of 15. He went on to Oxford University where he won his Blue for football. He later played for The Corinthians and The Casuals, in the days when the famous amateur side could beat professional teams. He was a player from 1897 to 1906, the last three years of which he also acted as the club’s secretary.
He played in the game against Bury which The Corinthians won 10-3 to take the 1903 Sheriff of London Charity Shield. The team which Bury put into the field that day contained nine of the eleven players which had beaten Derby County in the 1903 FA Cup Final by 6-0.
Corbett made one appearance for England, against Wales at St James’ Park, Newcastle on 18th March 1901, playing at outside left. England won the match 6-0 thanks to four goals from Steve Bloomer. Throughout his career he played at outside-left and was noted for his pace and body swerve. He is highly regarded for his first history of the club The Annals of the Corinthian F. C. written in 1906. Corbett first taught at Brighton College and then joined G. O. Smith, a contemporary centre forward and Corinthians team mate, at his school at Ludgrove. While teaching there, Corbett played football for Reading and Slough in 1906-07.
Among his other sporting achievements reported is that he gained a cap at Hockey for England. Corbett played Minor Counties cricket for Buckinghamshire and made one appearance for Derbyshire in the 1910 season, a County Championship game against Kent which the team lost by a large margin. Corbett was a right-handed batsman and scored just one run during the match, being stumped for a duck in the second innings.
Corbett started Shardlow School at Shardlow in Derbyshire in 1911. He was one of two sporting brothers who ran preparatory schools in Derbyshire in the early part of the 20th century. His brother, C. J. (John) Corbett, was Headmaster of ‘Rycote’ on the Kedleston Road, Derby and later of ‘The Ashe’ at Etwall. After leaving Shardlow Hall, Corbett retired to Waddon Manor, Portesham in Dorset where he farmed 700 acres (2.8 sq km). He died at Waddon Manor at the age of 92 after recovering from an eye operation which had restored his sight for a year.
Corbett’s brother John played first class cricket for Derbyshire on 27 occasions. Another brother, Rex, who also played football for The Corinthians, played for England against Wales in March 1903.