27 November 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 47 - Sporting

Week 47 (November 19-25) – Sporting. Do you have a relative who was involved in sports?

We do have some modern day sports in our family - a couple of jockeys and an 8ball pool champion and probably a few others - but they are all living sports persons. So today I'm "going wide" if you will to talk about my grandmother's sister-in-law's brother.

William Alfred Silto is the gentleman in question. He is the son of William Silto (or Sillito) and Fanny Banks. His sister Catherine Silto was married to Thomas Dobson and Thomas is the brother of my grandmother Mary Agnes Gertrude (Maureen) Dobson.

According to family lore, the name was changed from Sillito to Silto as the children were getting teased at school (poor kids they had "silly toes")


William was born in 1883 in Usworth (Washington), Durham, England.

He married Annie Cross in 1907 in Barnsley, West Riding, Yorkshire England and that was also where their first son William was born.

William and Annie's other son, Joseph, was born in Swindon, Wiltshire England

In the 1911 census, William was a pro-footballer:

William's son Joseph was also a sportsman and went on to represent England in Table Tennis

William (Billy), played most of his reasonably lengthy career with Swindon Town Football Club - and even was part of the England squad though was uncapped.

He also played for Barnsley (and other clubs) and apparently made an appearance for Arsenal.

During World War 1, Billy was part of the Lancashire Fusiliers. He enlisted in 1916 and spent some time "at home" before being posted to France. On August 24, 1918 he injured his right knee stepping into a shell hole and was eventually discharged in 1919.

The war interrupted Billy's football career - and after his injury during the war only played 5 more games for Swindon before retiring in 1920.

He must have been fairly well known as a football player as he had his own Cigarette Card:
By Willj23 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I was sent a photo of Billy in his uniform by a descendant of another of Billy's sisters (Billy is seated on the right):

Billy later went on to run the Ship hotel in Swindon

He died in Swindon in 1959 aged 76


Image of headstone per website www.oodwooc.co.uk - used with permission


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