Finding the Fallen: A search for the men the club forgot

Each Anzac Day, the League clubs publish articles about former players who sacrificed their lives for our country. Their names may adorn the club run-throughs on gameday, or be a mere cut and paste list on a website. ,The names of the men never include those who played lower grade. It is always the senior players.

What about the boys of the Reserves, the Thirds, the battlers who trained and never made Senior football.

I began my search last year. To fill in the gaps with those Richmond players who deserved to be recognised. I searched the online newspapers, the club minute books, the club annual reports, microfilm, and diaries.

Below is a list of names that the Richmond Football Club must now acknowledge, every year, on Anzac Day, forever.
6 men. 6 soldiers. 6 Tigers.
There may be more yet to be uncovered. But here is the beginning.

This is a shout to all clubs. Find your men. Find. Your. Men.


arthur quinnArthur Owen ‘Ginger’ Quinn
b: 1875, Richmond
d: Nov 15 1916, France
age: 39
rank: Private (Service Number 4780)
buried: Bulls Road Cemetery, Flers, Picardie, France

Born in Richmond, Arthur Quinn began his junior career with St Ignatius, before debuting in Richmond’s 1898 VFA Season. He played 7 games, and kicked 7 goals.
A Driver by occupation, he enlisted in war on April Fools Day 1916, and served with the 12th Reinforcement 22nd Battalion
He was taken on strength into the battalion on October 7 1916, but was killed in action, in the field, just over month later.

‘And so Arthur Quinn has travelled ‘, Frank Sheedy wrote in The Richmond Guardian, ‘across the farthest and loftiest mountain into the far country beyond the mists whence no traveller ever returns’

They ended their eulogy with “As a footballer, he was as tenacious a follower as ever expended abundant energy in the game; he gave a bump, a real bump, and was always ready to take a bump in good spirit.”



John Oswald ‘Ossie’ Jennings
b October 13 1920, Hamilton
d July 24 1942, Egypt
age: 21
rank: Corporal (Service Number VX5382)
buried: El Alamein, War Cemetery, Egypt

Always listed in Richmond Minute Books and newspaper articles as ‘Ossie’ Jennings.
He participated in practice matches for The Tigers in 1940, and was signed by them around April 13 1940. He played at least 3 games for the Richmond Seconds that year.

Hauntingly, during the pre season of 1940, The Age newspaper wrote ‘Richmond suffered its first “casualty” for the season yesterday, when Ossie Jennings, a promising recruit from Hamilton, injured his ankle’

On the May 18 1941, the Richmond players, officials and staff met at the Richmond pavilion to bid farewell to Jennings, on his journey to war.
His service record has not been digitised, nor accessed, and as such, further information on his service is not available at this moment.

The Age reported on August 12 1942 that ‘regret has been expressed at the death in action of O Jennings, a former player’. On August 18 1942 the Richmond Committee noted his death, in their minute books.


Frank Percy Stamford
b: April 29 1923, Richmond
d: 7 December 1943, New Guinea
age: 20
rank: Private (Service Number V200396)
buried: Lae War Cemetery, Papua New Guinea

Born in Richmond, he was the winner of the 1941 Richmond Recruits Best and Fairest (which was a precursor to Richmond Thirds/Under19s).
His occupation was a Junior Clerk for ‘John Sharp and Sons’ timber merchants in South Melbourne.
Frank enlisted on November 27 1941 and joined the 26/ 46 Australian Infantry Battalion.
He was killed in action in New Guinea. He was 20.



Richard power

Richard ‘Dick’ John Power
b: February 6 1923, Barfold.
d: 27 January 1944, Werder Germany
age: 20
rank: Warrant Officer (Service Number 409590)
buried: Berlin War Cemetery

Formerly of Xavier College, he first came down to Tigerland on 24 September 1940 where Richmond signed him. In November 1941, The Argus lists him, along with 3 other players, under the headline Richmond Footballers Enlist.

He joined the Air Force for ‘air operations’.
His father would write in 1946 ‘He did, I think, 23 raids, 14 on Berlin, but in his letters never mentioned flying. He also refused to have his photo taken’
Richard piloted the Lancaster aircraft JB 637 which was shot down and which crashed in Stuecken. All 7 crew members died. A resident of Stuecken reported that the aircraft crashed on his land and all were killed instantly. The resident would later attempt to claim from the East Republic government for the damage to his land.
Although his plane crashed on January 27, it took until November for them to officially declare him dead. Months of investigation as to what happened, and how it happened caused great distress.

Richard’s father received a parcel from the RAAF which contained a wristwatch apparently belonging to Dick Power, that was recovered in Europe. But he and his wife could not associate it with their son. Numerous letters went back and forth trying to ascertain further information.

Achingly, his father wrote ’All sorts of thoughts come to mind. Did he crash and get killed in France, Holland, Belgium or Denmark and friendly people secure the belongings to hand them over or was he shot as reported. Germans were going in revenge for bombing Berlin or did the watch have nothing to do with him. Did they send the watch to me because on the file they would have my inquiry for your watch.…
So many probables and improbable, impossibles and possibles have been confusing my brain that I’m afraid my letter is a jumble. Dreaming of my boy and then this incident has me disturbed’.




Ralph Ayers

Ralph James Ayers
b: 1 August 1920, East Prahran
d: 20 December 1943, Frisian Islands
age: 23
rank: Flight Sergeant (Service Number 409881)
buried: Lost at sea somewhere in the North Sea.


Ralph played for the Richmond Seconds in 1939 and 1940 for at least 2 games. His occupation was a printer and book binder, and he came from Prahran College and Prahran Technical School.
He was Flight Sergeant for No. 149 Squadron and undertook an operational flight on the night of 20 December 1943. It took off at 5.19pm with the target being minelaying operations off the Frisian Islands.
The Stirling Mark III BK 798 failed to return from the flight. There were 7 men on board. Ralph Ayers was the captain.

‘I am able to tell you that none of the crews engaged upon the same operation , saw any thing of what may have occurred to your son’s aircraft’ The Air Force wrote in March 1944 to his father.

Months later, they wrote again
’The report states that all efforts to find any trace of your son’s aircraft or to establish whether the bodies of any members of the crew were ever recovered for burial, have proved unsuccessful.
In view of this complete lack of evidence, it is now concluded that your son and his comrades were lost at sea. ‘

For years afters death, his family placed a heartbreaking In Memoriam notice in the The Argus.
‘Proud and constant are the memories of our dearly loved only child. Ralph James, pilot, R.A.A.F, missing over Holland. December 20 1943. Today, tomorrow, always. (Mum and Dad)’


Salton, far right in white coat, as goal umpire in the Soldiers vs Carlton match

Salton, far right in white coat, as goal umpire in the Soldiers vs Carlton match

Alexander Salton
b: 1871, Richmond
d: 10 September 1916, France
age: 45
rank: Private (Service Record 3934)
buried: Estuaries Communal Cemetery

His occupation was a Tailor.
Alexander Salton played for Richmond from 1886-1889, and 1892 for a total of 25 games and 7 goals. He also represented Fitzroy in 1889-1890, and Carlton in 1891.
After his playing career, Salton became a League umpire.
On September 25 1915, a Soldiers’ Team played Carlton, the League’s premiers. Richmond players Arthur Danks and Jack Sheehan represented the Soldiers’ Team.
Alexander Salton, was the goal umpire.

When he enlisted in the AIF on 6 August 1915, he was 44 years old. The following day, he goal umpired his only Richmond match, and then a fortnight later his last official VFL match.
He was scheduled to join the 60th Battalion, but suffered from varicose veins and was admitted to hospital. As a result, he was not present at the Battle of Fromelles , where the 60th Battalion suffered 757 casualties from a strength of 887. After being discharged from hospital he joined the Battalion, as they were so decimated, but five days later he was shot in the stomach.
He died in hospital six days later.

A medallion, struck by the Richmond Football Club in 1888 and presented to him at the end of that season, was discovered 110 years later in a Hawthorn antique shop, and now resides in hands of this author.
Alexander Salton is the only VFL umpire to have died in military service.


Find. Your. Men.


The full list of Richmond Senior, Reserces, Thirds, Training players and officials who went to war can be found via the link below

About Rhett Bartlett

Wrote the history of the Richmond Football Club. Literally.


  1. Really great work Rhett. And thanks for sharing this with the Almanac. I look forward to more of your research.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Welcome to the Almanac. Your Tigerland archive is astounding Rhett.

    Thanks for this, more please.

  3. Thank you Rhett, great work.
    I’ll attach your story of Alexander Salton to his Blueseum bio page.

  4. Powerful stuff Rhett. Indeed all clubs should find their men. Wonderful research here.

  5. Thanks Rhett. I really enjoy reading about the history
    (sometimes tragic, yes) of our great game.

  6. Cat from the Country says

    Lovely memorial tribute

  7. Hi Rhett, I’m not sure how best to say ” great post” . History that in so few words can be so evocative,

    Your words and quotes read in a way that gives us a slither of view, a glimpse or window to that which has passed and to that which is hard to imagine, today.

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