Sportsman Wilf Wooller’s birthplace


Sportsman Wilf Wooller’s birthplace, Rhos-on-Sea

Wilf Wooller, who excelled at rugby, cricket, football and squash, was born in this modest terraced house in November 1912 to Wilf and Edith Wooller. His father was a founder of Colwyn Bay Cricket Club.

Photo of floodlit Glamorgan cricket pitch
Portrait of Wilf Wooller, courtesy
of Glamorgan County Cricket Club

Wilf junior attended Llandudno County School and Rydal School, the public school in Colwyn Bay, where he began to shine at rugby. He won rugby Blues and cricket Blues while studying anthropology at Cambridge University (students received Blues when they represented the university on the sporting field). He stood 1.88 metres tall (6ft 2ins).

His played his first rugby match for Wales in 1933, when Wales beat England at Twickenham for the first time in 20 years. On leaving university two years later, he took a job in Cardiff’s coal-export trade.

He became Wales’ rugby captain in 1939, a year after starting to play cricket for Glamorgan (the only Welsh cricket team playing in the county championship). He played for Glamorgan for 24 years, being captain 1947-1960, and was later the club’s president. As captain, he organised a short Glamorgan tour of North Wales which promoted the game in this region and founded the relationship between Glamorgan and the Colwyn Bay club which continues today.

While playing rugby for Wales and cricket for Glamorgan, he found time to play football for Cardiff City in 1939! He also represented Wales at squash.

His sporting career was interrupted by the Second World War, when he served as a Royal Artillery anti-aircraft gunner. He was imprisoned in 1942 at the notorious Changi jail, Singapore. The Japanese also forced him to work on the Burma railway, where thousands more prisoners-of-war died. His brother Gordon, a sergeant with the RAF Volunteer Reserve, died in 1941 in Egypt and is commemorated on Colwyn Bay war memorial.

While Wilf was at Glamorgan, the club’s joint secretary was Les Spence, a former Cardiff rugby player and Welsh Rugby Union president who had also been held prisoner by the Japanese during the war.

Wilf married Enid James in 1948. They had five children. In his last decades, he was a familiar sports broadcaster on the BBC and sports writer for the Sunday Telegraph, known for his strong opinions. His support for South African sports when many wanted a boycott in protest at the country’s apartheid policies led to many public clashes with anti-apartheid campaigner Peter Hain (later Labour MP for Neath and Secretary of State for Wales). Wilf died in Cardiff in March 1997.

Postcode: LL28 4DJ    View Location Map