Flight Lieutenant Frederick Creek MBE, MC

Football

'He displayed the greatest skill and determination'.

Military Cross citation 1918

Submitted by Carl Watts

Norman Creek MBE, MC devoted his life to football – in his debut season for Corinthians he exploded onto the scene with 21 goals in just 12 games.

Norman Creek was born in Darlington on 12th January 1898 and attended Darlington Grammar School where he captained the football team. His sporting talent was obvious from an early age, but his expected professional sporting career was delayed by the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

During the war he served as a Second Lieutenant in a Territorial Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry, until being seconded to the Royal Flying Corps on 8 December 1917 to serve as a Flying Officer (observer). He was subsequently awarded the Military Cross, which was gazetted on 10 May 1918.

His citation read:
“Second Lieutenant Frederick Norman Smith Creek, Durham Light Infantry and Royal Flying Corps.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He carried out several successful reconnaissances of enemy aerodromes and railways, and obtained valuable information often under the most difficult weather conditions. On one occasion he took several photographs of an enemy aerodrome though he was attacked by an enemy machine and subjected to anti-aircraft fire. He displayed the greatest skill and determination.”

On 1 August 1919 Creek was awarded a permanent commission in the Royal Air Force with the rank of Lieutenant. However, he was transferred to the unemployed list on 12 September 1919, and his permanent commission cancelled on the 16th. He progressed to Cambridge University where he won Blues in 1920 and 1922 (injury prevented a Blue in 1921). By this time he had started playing occasionally for Corinthians, but it was after he graduated he became a fixture in their side and exploded onto the scene with 21 goals in just 12 games during the 1922/23 season. Creek had the honour of scoring the Corinthian F.C.’s first F.A. Cup goal against Brighton in the 1922/23 season.

In 1922 he signed amateur forms with Darlington and made two Football League appearances between 1922 and 1924. In 1923 Creek gained his only England cap, scoring in a 4-1 victory over France. He did however gain five amateur international caps between 1922 and 1932.

He would go onto average more than a goal a game and to feature in the majority of the Corinthian F.C.’s F.A. Cup ties until the 1934/35 season. Creek bowed out in style for the Corinthian F.C. and in his last game in 1936 against Wiltshire he scored four goals.

Frederick Creek devoted his life to football, working for the Football Association from 1954 to 1963 and managed the England amateur international side and the Olympic Games teams of 1956 and 1960. Creek became a Daily Telegraph football writer for nearly 20 years and wrote the second history of the club ‘A History of the Corinthian F.C.’.

In addition to his footballing successes, Frederick Creek played minor counties cricket for Wiltshire from 1926 through to 1936.

Creek died at his Folkestone home on 16th July 1980 and his obituary stated; ‘He departed as he had lived peacefully for he was the kindly gentle soul with a ready laugh who always sought the best in people and things’.