Nicknamed ‘Artillery’ after a stint serving as a bombardier in The Royal Horse Artillery from 1924 after leaving school, Wolverhampton born centre forward Billy Hartill joined hometown Second Division club Wolverhampton Wanderers in August 1928, making his Football League debut on 24th November 1928 at Bradford Park Avenue, scoring his first two goals for Wolves the following March in a 2-0 win at Chelsea. The following year, his first full season as a professional, he scored 33 goals in 36 matches to finish as the club’s top goalscorer, including all 5 goals in a 5-1 win over Notts County in October 1929 and two other hat-tricks. He repeated this feat in the next three successive seasons (five times in total), helping the club regain their top flight status as Second Division Champions in 1931-32. Indeed he scored 30 or more goals in four out of six seasons, managing 29 goals in one of the other two.
His overall tally of 170 goals in 234 appearances made him the club’s all-time leading goalscorer at the time, a record which stood until April 1980 when broken by John Richards. He currently stands as the club’s third-highest goalscorer in Wolverhampton Wanderers’ history. He twice scored 5 goals in a single match, the other 5 goal haul being against Aston Villa in September 1934, a record never bettered by a Wolves player, and scored a then club record 16 hat-tricks, later beaten by Steve Bull.
He remained at Molineux until July 1935, when he was sold to Everton. After a brief stay at Goodison Park scoring once in 5 games, he moved across Stanley Park to rivals Liverpool for £3,000 in January 1936, but again his spell with the club was to be short-lived. He managed just 4 scoreless matches for the Reds during January and February 1936, before moving to Bristol Rovers in March 1936 as part of the deal that saw Phil Taylor move in the opposite direction. Hartill scored 19 goals in 38 appearances for Rovers before leaving the club in 1938, playing for amateur side Street until his retirement in 1940 due to a leg injury suffered two years earlier.