Local Headmaster and outstanding sportsman both at soccer and cricket where he was to enjoy representative selection in both sports. In 1929 he was runner up in the Methley CC batting averages, he also figured prominently in the overall league averages with an accumulated 465 runs at an average of 38.7 which included one century. In 1930 he also took the Methley 1st XI batting award .
From Pit Lane, John Willie was an outstanding player in a good team in the late 1920’s and early 30’s after rattling up a number of fine performances with the bat. Ambition drove him to move up to the Castleford Cricket Club where he succeeded in making the jump to the Yorkshire second XI having earlier played for the Yorkshire Colts.
In 1940 it is recorded that he turned out for Methley again, in a district side taking on a strong Leeds XI in a charity game where he top scored with fifty runs.
His football career landed him at Yorkshire Amateurs and no doubt his experience playing at full back with Methley also, enabled him to skipper the army team in inter service competitions. He went on to represent his country from within the amateur ranks. All this mirroring his recorded success in both sports at Castleford Grammar School.
I also learn that our man was an accomplished skater – don’t know if he represented any side other than Mickletown Ings!!
Wartime, and Lieutenant John Willie Firth now commissioned into the army was wounded in 1944 on active service with the parachute regiment during the D-Day operations.
His sporting career now over in post war England, he was to seek new challenges and took on a major educational role in the continent of Africa (Kenya) until his return to UK in the early 1950’s. His record in education of schools locally included posts at Castleford Boys Modern, Glass Houghton and Airedale Secondary Modern School where he was appointed headmaster. John Willie was later to take up a post in Cornwall prior to retirement.