Representative Honours: Ireland: 2 Amateur Caps / 1 Goal (1935).
Club Honours: (with Belfast Celtic) Irish League Champion; Irish Cup Winner 1936/37, 1937/38; Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1935/36, 1936/37; Gold Cup Winner 1938/39.
"A player something above the ordinary" Walter Bruce was a "90-minute player with a fine turn of speed and good ball control ... a man with whom a defence cannot afford to take liberties."
Bruce began his playing days with the 30th Belfast Boys' Brigade company rising to prove his worth in intermediate circles with Crusaders and Dundela. He arrived in senior football with Ards mid-way through the 1932/33 season. He marked an early appearance for the Castlereagh Park side with two goals in a 4-4 draw with Glentoran on Christmas Eve 1932 but, in a struggling side, goals were few-and-far-between over the next season-and-a-half.
A move to Ards' near-neighbours Bangor in the summer of 1934 saw Bruce emerge as a much sought after talent, shining in an otherwise poor side. He earned selection for Ireland Amateurs against England in February 1935 and "his first venture in representative soccer was certainly a success, if not quite outstanding." Still not "a giant among goalscorers" he marked his international début with a goal and he retained his place in the side for the next game, a 3-2 win over Scotland that April.
The long-talked of move to a bigger club came to fruition as Bruce joined Belfast Celtic in 1935. While at Paradise he played in four consecutive Irish League triumphs. He also claimed two Irish Cup winner's medals, scoring in a replay win against ex-club Bangor in 1938, and he scored in the following season's Gold Cup final win over Glenavon. In 1939 he transferred to Halifax Town but it was a move that proved short-lived as he returned home on the outbreak of the Second World War.
Ireland Amateur Cap Details:
16-02-1935 England H L 2-4 1 Goal
17-04-1935 Scotland A W 3-2
Summary: 2/1. Won 1, Drew 0, Lost 1.
Thanks to Jim Murphy for forwarding the picture and ISN article on which much of this profile is based.