1941 in Sydney World War II had been going for eighteen months or so, men were signing up in the three forces and many interstate footballers were filtering their way through the Sydney Football scene. Sydney provided many training facilities. The RAS Showground and Randwick Racecourse were turned into camps for a multitude of units.
By the start of the season, well over 100 Sydney footballers had enlisted.
Supporters of the code had no idea whether the game would continue to be played in Sydney and in fact in many country areas saw the drain on young men to such an extent that many competitions were forced into suspension for the duration of the war. There was talk too of suspending all sport during the conflect, but the question was asked “how would that help.”
North Shore player, Frank Young had been killed in Libya while South Sydney player, Nigel Watson, was killed in an air crash while instructing a new pilot in Brisbane.
Another North Shore player, Lieutenant Tom Prentice of R.A.N.R. figured in one of the most heroic episodes thus far in the war during a raid on the German post in the North Sea. Tom was a leading ruckman with the North Shore Club before the conflict.
There was at least one future Brownlow Medalist and several Magarey Medalists playing in Sydney. As time went on, captains of VFL clubs took on playing for various Sydney Clubs as they were either stationed or passing through the city. The standard of the game in Sydney during WWII was unbelievable.
What’s all this got to do with our website you ask? Well, we have found all the Sydney League’s Football Records from 1941 and they have now been scanned and added to the site.
You can read all about footy during the war. The difficulties, the trials and tribulations and the successes.
For a footy buff, this is fantastic reading. PLUS the 24 May issue is the production for the VFL v NSW at the SCG with the Victorian team containing all the stars of the day.
Read about Tom Prentice and Nigel Watson and many others and see if you can identify some of the footy stars of the future in these pages.