William James Gatland was born in Richmond, Surrey on 6th July 1898 and his footballing talents were first spotted during W.W.I when he played regularly for the Royal Naval Air Service and subsequently the Royal Air Force. He was, in fact, one of the first to fly with the R.A.F after it was formed in April 1918, in hydrogen balloons. Between 1920 and 1940 he played for many South of England football clubs, including Ilford, Kingstonian, Dulwich Hamlet, Redhill, Wimbledon and Barnet and on occasion played for professional sides such as West Ham, Fulham, Crystal Palace and Brentford. Whilst playing for Ilford he made his one and only Amateur International appearance for England against Ireland, played on 14th November 1921 at Leicester, with England defeating Ireland 4-1. In the 1920s he played several game's for Surrey County and was, in his day, a famous amateur footballer. He declined several offers to turn professional, preferring the security of regular employment with his job at the London branch of the Liverpool Victory Friendly Society, in Holborn, a position he retained until his retirement.
The Billy Gatland Archive