Almanac History: Two Mates


Bluey Truscott Photo: Australian War Museum



This memorial notice appeared in late March 2019. It read:


Keith William “Bluey” Truscott DFC and Bar – 28th March, 1943. ‘The Little White Man.’ Your ultimate sacrifice on this day will never be forgotten by anyone, anywhere, who loves and defends freedom. Inserted by the son of your Melbourne Hall of Fame team mate and friend, Wally Lock.


This notice was read by my brother, Bob, who suggested I write this story.


‘Bluey’ Truscott was born on May 17 1916. He came from a footballing family as his father played with Prahran in the VFA. A gifted sportsman, ‘Bluey’ was popular with his Melbourne High School mates and despite being an outstanding cricketer, football became his chosen sport. He joined the Melbourne Football Club in 1937 where he played on the half forward flank. After two seasons, he played in the 1939 and 1940 premiership teams. (1) For 50 games Truscott played with confidence, enthusiasm and heart and was what Jack Dyer used to call a good ordinary player. (2)


In 1941 Truscott enlisted in the RAAF and went on to become one of Australia’s greatest fighter pilots, winning the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) after his sixth “kill”. He became a national hero recognised as Australia’s most outstanding air ace. In March 1942 he was recalled to Australia with a record sixteen “kills”, with another five probables. A Bar was added to his DFC after he assisted in the sinking of an enemy destroyer and later promoted to Squadron Leader. On May 16 1942 Truscott was invited to captain his old team in a VFL match against Richmond. He had not touched a football since the 1940 Grand Final yet he received a heroic reception from supporters of both teams, as well as a gold premiership medallion from the VFL and a cheque for one thousand pounds from John Wren. Unfortunately Melbourne lost the game.


Truscott never played football again. He returned to the war, flying Kittyhawks in the Battle of Milne Bay. On one occasion he disobeyed orders to return to base preferring to continue assisting the Australian infantry to successfully defend Milne Bay.


He returned to Australia where on May 23, 1943 he disappeared off the West Australian coast. His death sent Australia into mourning. His funeral was a glorious tribute to his life, stopping the nation. An outstanding Australian of huge proportions, his life was an inspiration to all, his death a national tragedy.


His mate, Wally Lock, was not a national hero but a champion footballer. Born in Maryborough, Victoria, he attended Maryborough High School. Like Truscott, Lock was also an outstanding cricketer, but preferring football, joined the Melbourne Football Club in 1936 and went on to play 140 games. He was a solid defender throughout his career and became a vital member of the famed Melbourne backline. He played 23 games in his first two seasons then rarely missed a game for the next four years. Unfortunately he missed the 1939 Grand Final due to suspension and also the 1940 Grand Final through injury. Happily, his big moment came in 1941 when he was a member of the premiership team, a team which had won three successive premiership flags. Wally was named best player on the ground in that game. In 1942 he enlisted in the army serving with the 15th Field Ambulance.


At war’s end, Wally returned to football in 1946 after an absence of three seasons and played in the 1946 Grand Final. In 1947 he had his best season, playing eighteen games, winning the club Best and Fairest and being named in The Sporting Life “Team of the Year”. He again played every game in 1948 but unfortunately injured his knee in the Semi Final and missed out on playing in the Melbourne premiership team of that year. This was the third Grand Final which he missed. He did not return to the side until late in 1949 when he played four games. His glittering career ended in 1950 when he retired due to his ongoing knee injury, aged thirty-two years. (3)


In 2013 he was elevated into the Melbourne Football Club Team of the Century. Lock was a boyhood hero of Ron Barassi, who described him as someone who “combined strength with guile and football intelligence” and “was dashing and played with flair.” Norm Smith said that “He was as good as any half back flanker who has played at the club,” He was the hardest half half back Smith had ever seen.(4)


Two mates, two champions.


Wally Lock Photo: demonwiki




1. Fallen. The Ultimate Heroes, J.Main and D.Allen, Melbourne ,2002, pp342-348.

2. Heroes: G.Hutchinson, Melbourne, 2008,pp210-211

3. Lock

4. Heroes: G.Hutchinson, Melbourne, p125

Australian Dictionary Biography, Vol 16, Melbourne, 2002.


Richard Davis

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