Frimley Green, Surrey born centre forward or inside left Bert Dawes began his football career with Frimley Green in 1926 and played for Guildford City in 1927 and Southern League Aldershot in 1928 before being signed by Third Division (South) club Northampton Town in March 1929 with younger brother Fred, his Football League debut coming against Queen’s Park Rangers that September. Having established himself in the first eleven with 5 goals in his debut season, he was an ever present in 1930-31, ranking second top in the club’s goalscoring return with 21 goals, including a hat-trick in a win against Southend United on Boxing Day 1930, as The Cobblers lost two of their last three matches to narrowly miss out on promotion.
After 18 goals in 1931-32 including a hat-trick in an FA Cup win over Metropolitan Police in November 1931, he scored a prolific 37 goals in Northampton’s 1932-33 campaign, including 4 goal bursts against Newport County and Swindon Town, both in September 1932, 5 goals in an FA Cup thrashing of Sittingbourne club Lloyds in November, and a treble in a 6-0 win over Bournemouth in January 1933, as Dawes finished the club’s leading marksman for the second season in a row. In December 1933, after a hat-trick at the start of the month in a 4-2 win over them, he signed for Crystal Palace as replacement for Peter Simpson who was injured at that time, after 94 goals in 175 appearances for Northampton Town. At Palace he had scored 18 goals before the season end, including hat-tricks in 4-1 wins over Aldershot and Queen’s Park Rangers, enough to trail only Simpson in the marksmen’s list.
After 21 goals in 1934-35 which included a stunning 5 goal burst in a 6-1 win over Cardiff City in September 1934, when he again led the goalscoring charts, he had his most prolific season of his career in 1935-36, scoring 41 goals in Palace’s campaign, including 4 goals in a 6-1 win over former club Northampton Town in September 1935 and hat-tricks against Millwall, Brighton & Hove Albion and at Newport County in November, January and March, heading the Division Three South list of goal-scorers and receiving a call-up to the England team. However, he did not appear in the side, being named as twelfth man against Scotland at Wembley in April 1936.
In December 1936, after 82 goals in 117 appearances, Dawes was allowed to leave Crystal Palace for Luton Town for a “large fee”. Luton were at that time promotion contenders and with 8 goals Dawes helped them to the Third Division (South) Championship and promotion at the end of the season, scoring 11 goals for Luton in their Second Division campaign before returning to Palace in February 1938, after 47 appearances.
Dawes’ second spell at Crystal Palace was not as successful as the first and he moved on to Aldershot in the close season of 1939, after 16 goals in a further 47 appearances. The outbreak of World War in September 1939, after 3 League matches for Aldershot, meant the end of Dawes senior professional career but he returned again to Crystal Palace and made appearances throughout the years of wartime regional league football, before retiring in 1946.
Dawes’ younger brother was Fred Dawes, who also played professionally for Aldershot, Crystal Palace and Northampton Town, and they played together at all three.
In the 1933 cricket season, Dawes also played one first class cricket match as a batsman for Northamptonshire against Derbyshire, scoring 16 and 0 in his two innings.
NB the photograph, probably from a team group, is a typical ex press “paint out” where the background is removed for use in a printing.