Friday 23 February 2024

Sir Arthur Frederick Blakiston, 7th Baronet, MC (1892 - 1974) - International Rugby Union player and WW1 soldier

With grateful thanks to John Daniel for spotting the plaque at the Northampton Saints Rugby Club open day, taking a photograph and researching Sir Arthur for us. 

Arthur Frederick Blakiston, known as “Freddie”, was born on 16th June 1892 in West Derby, Lancashire, a suburb of Liverpool.  His parents were Frederick Turnly Blakiston and his wife Eleanor Isabella, nee Fitzgerald.

Arthur was initially educated at Bedford School and joined Trent College in March 1903. Before leaving school in 1908, he had served as a School Monitor and Librarian and had proved to be an excellent sportsman. He went on to study at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. 

Arthur served during the First World War in the King Edward’s Horse Regiment, then as an officer in the Royal Field Artillery. He was awarded the Military Cross in September 1918 when an ammunition column under his command came under fire in Belgium. Despite being under constant shelling, Arthur rescued wounded men and managed to deliver ammunition to the front line.

After the war Arthur worked as a schoolmaster at the Grammar School in Northampton.

As a rugby union international wing, Arthur represented England twelve times between 1920 and 1925, and the British Lions in all four test matches during their 1924 tour of South Africa. He played as a Lock/Flanker for: Bedford School, Trent College, Cambridge University, Northampton, Liverpool, Blackheath, Barbarians, East Midlands, Lancashire and Surrey. Freddie Blakiston was one of the greatest forwards Northampton Saints ever produced.

Arthur inherited his title, becoming Sir Arthur Frederick Blakston, Seventh Baronet in 1941 and died in Salisbury, Witshire on 31st January 1974.

Since 2018, Nothampton Saints’ playing squad takes part in an annual pre-season challenge in Blakiston’s honour – which has so far been won by Dan Biggar, Reuben Bird-Tulloch, Piers Francis and Alex Coles (twice).

Sources:  Information supplied by John Daniel, Find my Past, FreeBMD,