Crediton-born Arthur Coles played for Exeter City either side of the Second World War. He joined the club from Copplestone and later played for Barnstaple Town before managing Weymouth and Bath City. He turned down the offer of managing Exeter City in 1957.He was initially signed from Copplestone in June 1937 and had played for the Devon county side. He made his Football League debut in a 1-1 draw at Cardiff City in March 1938 and, although he retained his place in the side for the following game, made no further first-team appearances in the run-up to the outbreak of war.
With the War putting a hold on his football ambitions, he joined the Royal Air Force and briefly played for Coleraine before serving in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf and becoming captain of the Command side which played Russian, Persian and Armenian teams.
Rejoining Exeter in August 1946, he reappeared for the first-team against Northampton Town on 18 September and made thirteen appearances during the first season of official football after the war. Working on farms between football seasons, he played once more against Leyton Orient in September 1948 before leaving to join Barnstaple Town as player-coach in July 1949. Eventually becoming both manager and secretary of the North Devon club, he left to become manager of Weymouth in April 1955. He was subsequently approached by the Exeter City board of directors to take over as manager at St James’ Park in April 1957 but declined the opportunity as he had just opened a sports sahop in Weymouth. Dismissed as Weymouth manager in April 1961, he soon took charge of Bath City.
Arthur died in the Weymouth area in 1997.