True Blue War Hero

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The best known of all MHSOB players was the inimitable Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott. He was a star performer in the centre as a 17-year-old in 1934, though with his boundless energy he ‘roamed too much’.

Twice that year he kicked 10 goals when shifted from centre to full forward and was selected in the interstate team against South Australia. In his 1958 biography of Truscott, Ivan Southall wrote of him at the time:

He’d talk the leg off an iron pot. He’d talk and gesture and weave his way into a heart of flint…This boy shone like a light in darkness, an inexhaustible source of energy and ingenuity. No wilder plant grew in any garden, yet none exacted more admiration and affection. Gentle as a dove, cunning as a fox, effortlessly he molded the world to suit himself.

Bluey joined the Melbourne Football Club and was a half forward flanker in the premiership sides of 1939 and 1940. When war broke out he joined the Royal Australian Air Force, from which he was seconded to the Royal Air Force where he became known as one of the most fearless and inspirational of the fighter pilots Australia sent to Britain, shooting down 13 German planes.

With the Japanese advance on Australia, Squadron Leader Truscott returned to the RAAF, performing heroic deeds in his Kittyhawk at the Battle of Milne Bay. He went down with his plane in March 1943. He was just 26. The nation mourned Bluey Truscott, ‘brave as few were, loved as few were’.

Extract from FTLOTG