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1943 RAAF Competition

World War Two Services



Champion Full Forward Ron Todd Leading the No. 1 Training Group at the 1943 RAAF Grand Final Source: H99.201/5123 Argus Photo Collection State Library of Victoria - Photographer Unknown (Not Charles Boyles)
Champion Full Forward Ron Todd Leading the No. 1 Training Group at the 1943 RAAF Grand Final Source: H99.201/5123 Argus Photo Collection State Library of Victoria - Photographer Unknown (Not Charles Boyles)


Introduction

Charles Boyles took photos of many Wartime Services teams of which little is known today. Boyles was rarely sentimental and took photos for profit rather than general interest. Boyles took photos he knew people would buy. This article attempts to shed some light into this now forgotten competition.

Argus 5-May-1943 p.1
Argus 5-May-1943 p.1
Argus 15-May-1943 p.1
Argus 15-May-1943 p.1
Argus 24-May-1943 p.1
Argus 24-May-1943 p.1


1943 RAAF Football in Melbourne

Melbourne’s Victoria Barracks was the RAAF Headquarters in WW2 and the bases at Point Cook and Laverton in Melbourne’s west were two of the RAAF’s oldest and most established. Most RAAF pilots were trained there. Today the RAAF Museum is located at Point Cook. The high level of RAAF infrastructure and the fact that the RAAF was the most glamorous of the services meant that high profile footballers who joined the armed services often joined the RAAF as opposed to other services and ended up serving locally around Melbourne.

Sport is always part of entertainment in the Armed Services. In World War Two, sport was played wherever there were soldiers. But the infrastructure in Melbourne meant that the competitions in Melbourne were regular and in football, involved many leading players.
An inter-services competition was played on Sundays in Melbourne in 1942 had been a big success. The leading teams were arguably as strong or stronger than the leading VFL teams. The inter-services competition was not repeated in 1943 which meant that the internal RAAF competition included more big name players than it had in 1942.

In 1942 the Football Record had supported the inter-services competition and regularly included team lists and news, but the 1943 completion hardly raised a mention. The Argus as well reduced its coverage of Services football in 1943. During 1943 the Argus reported services team’s results and continually devoted more column inches to the RAAF competition than it did to the Army competition. Overall the 1943 services reporting was lower than it had been for the 1942 season.

1943 Results


Table 1: 1943 RAAF Competition Home and Away Season Results (Reconstruction)
Team Points Win Loss Draw Missing For Against %
Team Points Win Loss Draw Missing For Against %
1 Laverton 50 12 1 1 1644 763 215
2 Ascotvale 36 8 2 2 2 1038 637 163
3 No1. SD 40 10 3 1027 782 131
4 No1 TG 34 8 5 1 1310 950 138
No1 ITS 24 6 7 1 1104 882 125
No1 STT 24 6 8 917 916 100
CAS 8 2 12 662 1222 54
No1 Con Flt 0 0 13 1 418 1937 22

Note that not all results were published in the Argus or the Age newspapers. Missing games are indicated by the 'Missing' column. The top four positions at the end of the home and away season are recorded as published

Finals


Finals Week 1
No1 TG 9-11 (65) def No1. SD 8-13 (61) by 4 Points
Laverton 12-21 (93) def Ascotvale 6-14 (50) by 43 Points

Finals Week 2
No1 TG 17-14 (116) def Ascotvale 13-15 (93) by 23 Points

Grand Final
Laverton 10-18 (78) def No1 TG 6-15 (51) by 27 Points at Collingwood

Argus 13 Sep 1943 p9 Laverton Wins RAAF Final
Argus 13 Sep 1943 p9 Laverton Wins RAAF Final

ESSENDON'S DASH. (1943, September 13). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 9. Retrieved December 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11798257

Argus 14 Jun-1943 p.1
Argus 14 Jun-1943 p.1
Argus 12-Jul-1943 p.1
Argus 12-Jul-1943 p.1
Argus 24 Jul-1943 p.1
Argus 24 Jul-1943 p.1


1943 Teams

Explaining the team acronyms required substantial digging. For example Communications Flight is just as often listed as 'Con Flt' as 'Com Flt' and only one article, in the Argus (26-Jun-1943), refers to them by their full name. A 1942 Argus article refers to team by nickname (i.e. Fliers, Rookies, Stores, etc) and a comparison of the team lists for 1942 matches 'Engineers' with Ascotvale. A final note is that many team names start with 'No.1'. This is because the RAAF had many groups of the same type. 'No.1' sites were usually in Victoria.

TOP PLACE TO ESSENDON. (1942, July 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 6. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11986710

Table 2: 1943 RAAF Competition Teams
Acronym Description
No.1 STT No. 1 School of Technical Training
No.1 SD No. 1 Stores Depot
No.1 ITS No. 1 Initial Training School
No.1 Com Flt No. 1 Communication Flight
No.1 TG No. 1 Training Group RAAF
Ascotvale Probably No 1 Engineering School
Laverton Laverton
CAS CAS


No. 1 School of Technical Training - Technicians

The school of Technical Training was based at melbourne's Exhibition Building in Carlton from 1941 to 1946.

The 1943 team included Jack Malone (Footscray) and Keith Rawle (Essendon). Rawle played 16 games for Essendon in 1943, including in the 1943 VFL Grand Final against eventual winners Richmond. The player named Hunt is possibly Ray Hunt from Richmond (Ray Hunt played in the combined Services team)

ref http://museumvictoria.com.au/collections/items/255664/photograph-raaf-personnel-exhibition-building-carlton-1941

No. 1 Stores Depot - Stores

The Stores depot was located at Port Melbourne. The team jumpers have a 'SD" logo on the front. The players most regularly featured in the Argus as best players and goal kickers were Forrest, Humphries, Doxey, Pearce and Gunn. Ex-South Melbourne and Coburg star Bob Pratt had five mentions and kicked 12 goals following ion from his appearances for Stores Dept in 1942.

Stores Depot Team Year unknown (not 1943) Source: State Library of Victoria Pictures Collection H2008.122/242. Photographer Charles Boyles
Stores Depot Team Year unknown (not 1943) Source: State Library of Victoria Pictures Collection H2008.122/242. Photographer Charles Boyles

See 122_242 - RAAF Stores Depot in RAAF Style at St. Kilda circa 1941-45

No. 1 Initial Training School - Rookies

The RAAF Initial Training School was based at the Somers School camp site from 194 and provided initial training for Air and Ground crews.

A regular newspaper mention for ITS was 'Abbot', This is possibly Essendon's Gordon Abbott who played in the combined services team.

SOMERS HAS A BIRTHDAY. (1941, April 18). Standard (Frankston, Vic. : 1939 - 1949), p. 2. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75039130

No. 1 INITIAL TRAINING SCHOOL, SOMERS. (1941, November 7). Standard (Frankston, Vic. : 1939 - 1949), p. 5. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75041188

The National Sport Museum contains a photo by Charles Boyles of the 1942 ITS team (1986.1170.154) showing the team with a single colour mid range (not to light/dark) jumper with no insignia.

A 1941 article from the Frankston Standard shows that the Rookies were keen to play in an organised competition.
Frankston Standard 12-Apr-1941 p6 Football at Somers
Frankston Standard 12-Apr-1941 p6 Football at Somers

FOOTBALL AT SOMERS. (1941, April 12). Standard (Frankston, Vic. : 1939 - 1949), p. 6. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75039071


No. 1 Communication Flight

These units typically performed a wide range of support roles such as transport and supporting training. In 1944, No. 1 Communication Flight role became providing VIP transport.

Woods, Barnett and Sanderson are the team members with the most newspaper mentions in the 1943 season. Woods (Preston) also came third in the season's best and fairest.

Comm Flight received regular beatings, with 9 of 12 known match outcomes being losses by 80 points or more. Hopefully they were more effective at VIP transport.


No. 1 Training Group RAAF - Staff

Argus 15-May-1943 p9 refers to the team as 'HQ No.1 TG'. A 1946 Argus article notes the impending sale of '10 Irving rd, Toorak, the wartime home of No 1 Training Group HQ'.

RAAF TO LEAVE TWO HOMES. (1946, April 23). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 3. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22253471

The 1943 Training Group Team was one of the strongest in the competition. Featuring Collingwood veteran Jack Regan in defence and Williamstown (ex Collingwood) player Ron Todd at full forward. Todd kicked over 60 goals for the season and was by far the standout goal kicker of the competition.

Regan played 13 games for Collingwood in 1943 but Todd only played on Sundays. Todd had controversially left Collingwood for Williamstown without a clearance (for more money) and in 1943 the VFA competition was in recess. Todd kicked 999 goals in a long career at Collingwood and Williamstown, with an overall average of 4.6 goals per game (4.3 for his VFL period), putting him in the top 10 (7th) in the AFL/VFL's records of goals per game. Jason Dunstall's Average of 4.66 goals per game is in fourth position.


Regular players included Eric Glass (Williamstown), Norm Hillard (Fitzroy), Reg Humphries (Sth Melb), Jack Regan (Collingwood), Clarrie Shields (St Kilda), Ron Todd (Coburg), Harold Winberg (Fitzroy) and Ted Hill (Fitzroy)

Other more unusual surnames on the team match players in the combined Services team, meaning that other likely players are Laurie Cahill (South Adelaide , Richmond), Jack Cockburn (Essendon), Don Bauer (Footscray).

Probably No. 1 Training Group RAAF, year unknown, Source: State Library of Victoria Pictures Collection - Photographer Charles Boyles
Probably No. 1 Training Group RAAF, year unknown, Source: State Library of Victoria Pictures Collection - Photographer Charles Boyles

See 122_234 - Probably Services Team


Ascotvale - Probably No 1 Engineering School

The strong Ascotvale team featured a number of big names including Gentleman Jim Cleary (Sth Melb), Frank Curcio (Fitzroy), Ken Herbert (Collingwood), Laskey (Ex Fitzroy), Hughie McPherson (Melbourne) and Darcy Walsh (Melbourne)

In the Grand Final, Ascotvale featured a player named Hillard for the first time. For the rest of the season Hillard played for Training. This is probably Norm Hillard who played 126 games for Hawthord and Fitzroy between 1933 and 1946. If Hillard did receive a transfer to another unit, it was certainly well timed for the football team.

Jim Cleary during WW2 - Source H2008.122/178 State Library of Victoria Pictures Collection - Photographer Charles Boyles
Jim Cleary during WW2 - Source H2008.122/178 State Library of Victoria Pictures Collection - Photographer Charles Boyles

See Cleary, Jim (SLV 122_178)

Cleary stared for Ascotvale on top of playing 15 games for South Melbourne on Saturdays.
Argus 25 Aug 1943 p11 - Cleary wins RAAF Best and Fairest
Argus 25 Aug 1943 p11 - Cleary wins RAAF Best and Fairest

CLEARY WINS R A A F BEST AND FAIREST. (1943, August 25). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 11. Retrieved December 7, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11800805

Laverton - Fliers

Assumably based at the now gone airfield in Melbourne's west, Laverton fielded a strong team and ended the home and away season in first place on the ladder. A number of players on the team hard big weekends, playing VFL matches on Saturdays and RAAF games on Sundays. Alby Pannam played 15 games and kicked 40 goals for Collingwood in 1943 as well as kicking 38 goals for the Fliers in the RAAF games. Pannam was not alone; Jim Thoms played 15 matches for Footscray and Vin Brown 14 for Carlton.

The 1943 team included Phil Busbridge (Collingwood), Bob Green (Carlton), Alby Pannam (Collingwood), Cec Ruddell, Essendon), Eric Huxtable (Carlton, South Melbourne), Leo McPartland (WA/Colligwood), Jim Thoms (Footscray), Vin Brown (Carlton)

Jack Grant (Fitzroy, Geelong), Harry Gingell (Footscray) are possibly the Grant and Gingell from the Laverton team as both players appeared in the combined services team.

Probably Laverton Team - 1944- Source:State Library of Victoria Pictures Collection Photographer: Charles Boyles
Probably Laverton Team - 1944- Source:State Library of Victoria Pictures Collection Photographer: Charles Boyles

See 122_246 - RAAF Services team - circa 1943

A 1941 article in the Williamstown Chronicle gives an indication of the team colours, noting 'The Laverton; team, either by foresight or coincidence, has selected Williamstown's blue and gold for its colours, and this in itself should earn them much support from the local sports.'

FOOTBALL. (1942, May 29). Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved December 10, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70714651

File not found.
Argus 21-Aug-1943 p.1
Argus 21-Aug-1943 p.1
Argus 31-Aug-1943 p.1
Argus 31-Aug-1943 p.1


CAS

At present the acronym eludes identification.

Players included Hill, Moore, Kellett, Miller, Hughes and Emmett. Another player 'Cutting' is probably Arthur Cutting who appears in the Stores Division Team in other seasons.


Miscellaneous 1943 RAAF Season Statistics (Reconstruction)

Note that the statistics presented below are incomplete. A number of games were not reported at all and additionally in the reported games, not all goal kickers were recorded. Although incomplete, the statistics provide an insight into the seasons events..

Table 3: 1943 RAAF Competition- Most Goals in Season
Player Team Home and Away Games Finals games Total
Todd No1 TG 61 7 68
Borchier No1 ITS 38 38
Grant Laverton 36 2 38
Pannam Laverton 29 8 37
McPherson No1 STT 31 31
Doherty Ascotvale 24 24
Thoms Laverton 18 2 20
McKnight Laverton 18 5 23


Ron Todd kicked another 18 goals in the two all-star games for the season. He kicked 11 for combined RAAF v Army and 7 for Combined Services v Essential Services.

Table 4: 1943 RAAF Competition- Most Goals in Match
Player Team Opposition Goals
Borchier No1 ITS No1 Con Flt 17
Todd No1 TG No1 Con Flt 14
Doherty Ascotvale No1 Con Flt 10
Grant Laverton No1 Con Flt 9
Sullivan No1. SD No1 Con Flt 9
Todd No1 TG No1 Con Flt 9
Borchier No1 ITS CAS 8
Pannam Laverton No1. SD 8


Table 5: 1943 RAAF Competition- Winning Margins
Winning Margin Count of Matches
0-19 15
20-39 16
40-59 6
60-79 2
80-100 5
>100 10
Grand Total 54

Note that 9 of the 15 games with margins over 80 points were drubbings of the bottom team, No1 Com Flt.

Combined ‘all-star’ games

There were two ‘all-star’ matches during the season. On June 20th an RAAF v Army game was played and on August 15th a Combined Services Team played a combined Essential Services Team at Richmond for the Keith Truscott Memorial Fund.


The June 20th game was hardly reported, but the August 15th Combined Services (Army, Navy, RAAF) v Combined Essential Services (Police, Fire Brigade, Rail/Tramways, Munitions, Engineering) received significant interest.

Argus 21-Jun-1943 p9 Airforce Wins Easily
Argus 21-Jun-1943 p9 Airforce Wins Easily
Argus 14-Aug-1943 p9 Patriotic Game
Argus 14-Aug-1943 p9 Patriotic Game


AIR FORCE WINS EASILY. (1943, June 21). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 9. Retrieved December 11, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11348861

PATRIOTIC GAME. (1943, August 14). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 9. Retrieved December 8, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11788844

Argus 13-Aug-1943 p9 Stars in Patriotic Game
Argus 13-Aug-1943 p9 Stars in Patriotic Game
Argus 16-Aug-1943 p8 Essential Services Win
Argus 16-Aug-1943 p8 Essential Services Win


STARS IN PATRIOTIC GAME. (1943, August 13). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 9. Retrieved December 8, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11790885

ESSENTIAL SERVICES WIN. (1943, August 16). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 8. Retrieved December 8, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11796030

Raw Data

The original newspaper articles used to compile this page are available at 1943 RAAF Competition Raw Results

Boyles RAAF Team Photos

Charles Boyles took a number of photos of the teams in the RAAF Competition. The lack of information about the teams and players makes it difficult to be certain about identifications.


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