Swindon, Wiltshire born right back Francis Owen “Corby” Woolford began his senior football career with hometown Southern League club Swindon Town and was mainly a reserve team player during his time at The County Ground where he sometimes also played left back, making his first team debut during the 1909-10 season, when he played the single match, and making 3 appearances during their 1910-11 Southern League Championship winning campaign. He played one match at right half on Swindon’s June 1912 tour of Uruguay and Argentina and made one further first team League appearance during their 1912-13 season, and also played in 5 Southern League Cup fixtures for The Robins, before joining Ton Pentre for £25 in the summer of 1913, where he was appointed club captain.
Tragically, aged only 22, he was killed in a severe storm on the night of 27th October 1913. Some press reports read as follows:
“A member of Ton Pentre Football Club, had been playing at Treharris and was walking back to the station after the match. He was caught by the wind, carried some distance and hurled against a wall later dying of his injuries.”
“A large tree was uprooted at the cross roads and a second fatality occurred at this spot. The victim was C. Woolford, the right-back and captain of the Ton Pentre Football Club. He and the trainer, Walter Breeze were walking to the station on their way home and were a short distance ahead of the rest of the team. Woolford was dashed against a wall, fracturing his skull, while Breeze was lucky enough to get away with a broken rib, also having been blown against a wall.”
“There are reports of six funerals after the disaster. Among those killed was Francis Woolford, who was thrown against a wall in Edwardsville. He was the captain of Ton Pentre football club after being transferred from Swindon FC for £25. Francis had recently married and settled in South Wales. His body was returned to be buried in Purton, Swindon and according to newspaper clippings, the funeral was particularly large… He was one of 14 children and the name Woolford is still a well-known name in that area.”