Oakengates, Shropshire born inside forward Jack Elkes had been with Wellington Town in 1911, and joined Stalybridge Celtic in 1914 before the outbreak of World War One, also playing for Shifnal Town, and at its conclusion in January 1918 he joined Birmingham City, scoring twice on his Football League debut against Huddersfield Town in September 1919. The following season injury, the arrival of Johnny Crosbie and former England and Aston Villa legend Harry Hampton restricted Elkes to two appearances, but the following season he scored 6 goals in the opening four fixtures, although only once more in 12. He played his last Blues game on Boxing Day 1921 before moving to Southampton in March 1922 along with George Getgood, and straight player exchange (Fred Foxall and Joe Barratt went the other way) after 15 goals in 35 games for The Blues.
Although Southampton finished as Division Three (South) Champions Elkes broke his collar bone on his second appearance after a two goal debut against Southend United. Another 40 appearances the following season yielded 6 goals including 9 games in their FA Cup run, which included five replays.
In May 1923 he joined Tottenham Hotspur for £1,050, where in six seasons he scored 51 goals in 200 matches, winning representative honours with both three appearances for The Football League and a 1925 Charity Shield appearance for The Professionals against The Amateurs. He was a member of the FA Tour of Australia in 1925. He was also an uncapped reserve when England played Scotland in both April 1925 and April 1926.
In July 1929 he moved to Middlesbrough for £500 where he was switched to centre half making 113 appearances, scoring 4 goals in four seasons before, at the age of 38, joining Watford for £150 in August 1933, where he scored once in 9 appearances for The Hornets. He then ended his playing days first with non league Stafford Rangers in September 1934, and then with his hometown club, Oakengates Town, in the Birmingham & District League from September 1935. He later coached the Ford Motors works team in Dagenham.