C.A. Kershaw

Born 3 Feb 1895, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Died 1 Nov 1972, Worthing, England


71st player to be capped by the Royal Navy Rugby Union
8 caps
Played against the Army in 1920, 1922,1923, 1925
Played against the RAF in 1921,1922,1923,1925


Inter Service Record

Played 8 Won 5 Drew 0 Lost 3
Inter Service Titles 3

1920 Royal Navy 23 Army 11
1921 Royal Navy 33 Royal Air Force 3
1922 Royal Navy 7 Army 3
1922 Royal Navy 9 Royal Air Force 6
1923 Royal Navy 16 Army 11
1923 Royal Navy 0 Royal Air Force 3
1925 Royal Navy 8 Army 11
1925 Royal Navy 3 Royal Air Force 30



US Portsmouth RFC
Blackheath FC
Harlequins FC

Commander Cecil Ashworth Kershaw Royal Navy was one of the Navy’s truly remarkable sportsmen. Not only did he win his eight Royal Navy caps for rugby as a scrum half, he won sixteen caps for England. Though an accomplished rugby player Kershaw was also a very talented fencer and represented Great Britain at two Olympic Games. For fourteen of his England internationals his half back partner was another great Navy player W.J.A. Davies. Kershaw and Davies were the half back combination for US Portsmouth, Royal Navy and England and when together for England never appeared on the losing team.

On 17 March 1923 Kershaw was part of an England team that included two players from US Portsmouth and two from Devonport Services. The opposition that day was Scotland with the match being played at Inverleith and the Scotland team included Eric Liddell of Chariots of Fire fame. England won 8-6.

Kershaw also played in ‘The Centenary Match’ held at Rugby School in 1923. The game saw the combined England and Wales team emerge victorious over the Scotland and Ireland team 21-16. Both Kershaw and Davies are mentioned in the match report.

The play of Kershaw and Davies is cited in the book, ‘Rugger – The History, Theory and Practice of Rugby Football’ by W.W.Wakefield and H.P.Marshall as one of the reasons for the revival of US Portsmouth RFC. The newly formed Navy Rugby Union is also mentioned. The book was originally published in 1928 but was republished in 2008. I can thoroughly recommend it as a read to anyone interested in the development of the game and also how some of the so called modern ideas and not so new. For ease you can click here to purchase.

Kershaw had a varied Naval career. Initially working as a physical training officer he served at both the Naval Colleges Osborne and Dartmouth. He left the Navy but rejoined following the outbreak of the second World War training at HMS Collingwood before serving at sea. After the war he became prominent in the aeronautical engineering industry.