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We will remember them

As we prepare to commemorate the brave women and men who served, and continue to serve, in our country’s armed forces, North Media reflects on the Shinboners who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Of the 223 former North players that represented their country on the front-line in either World War I, World War II, Vietnam War or in the National Service, seven died on active duty, and gave their lives for our nation’s freedom.

North players who died in active service

Lance Corporal Halcombe Brock

(3/04/1919 - 2/08/1941)

Lance Corporal Halcombe Brock served as a Leading Aircraftman in the Royal Australian Air Force in 1941. 

On the 6th of January, Brock was enlisted in the RAAF, but was granted permission to play for North, who he played four games for, and kicked three goals.

At just 22-years-old, Brock was accidentally killed in an air collision on August 2 in the You Yangs, a mountain range south-west of Melbourne.

Private Alfred Goonan

(3/04/1904 - 22/01/1942)

Private Alfred Goonan served as part of the Infantry Battalion in the Australian Army between 1940 and 1942.

Goonan, who played seven games for North and kicked 12 goals, was a part of the club’s first ever VFL game, and is believed to have kicked North’s first ever score.

At the age of 37, he was killed in action on January 22, 1942 in Singapore, Malaya.

Private Leonard Johnson

(6/07/1908 - 24/01/1942) 

Private Leonard Johnson was a member of the Reserve Motor Transport Company in the Australian Army. 

The full-forward made the move to North Melbourne after playing 64 games for Essendon, and featured in the royal blue and white five times in 1933.

At 33-years-old, Johnson died while on active service on January 24, 1942 in Singapore, Malaya.

Flying Officer Albert Peters

(8/08/1908 - 13/06/1944)

Flying Officer Albert Peters, a school teacher by trade, was a part of Squadron 53 in the RAAF. 

Peters played 17 games for North in two seasons, but was never a part of a winning side. 

At 35-years-old, Peters was sent to England for training, and was posted to his squadron.

While conducting an anti-submarine patrol on June 13, 1944, Peters’ aircraft was shot down over the English Channel, with all crew members on board killed. 

Pilot Officer Beresford Reilly

(17/09/1914 - 23/07/1943) 

Pilot Officer Beresford Reilly, a butcher by trade, was a part of Squadron 454 in the RAAF. 

Reilly played eight games for North after moving from Footscray after failing to get a game. 

The winger also played at Melbourne and St Kilda after his stint at Arden Street. 

Reilly was killed on July 23, 1943, when his aircraft crashed over Crete. 

Flight Sergeant Morris Shapir

(9/09/1917 - 15/08/1942)

Flight Sergeant Morris Shapir, who was a member of Squadron 108 in the RAAF, played three games for North. 

Standing at 164 centimetres, and weighing just under 62 kgs, Shapir managed three goals in his career. 

Shapir was killed in action on August 15, 1942 in Egypt.

Corporal Leonard Thomas

(20/07/1908 - 17/08/1943)

Corporal Leonard Thomas was a member of the Independent Company in the Australian Army.

Thomas played over 200 games for South Melbourne (187), North (16) and Melbourne (6), and kicked 78 goals. 

At age 35, Thomas was killed fighting the Japanese in Salamaua, New Guinea, and became the most experienced VFL player to be killed in war. 

North players who served

Alec Albiston, Ronald Allan, John Allister, Neil Alves, Francis Anderson, Edward Atkinson, Tom Attenborough, Allen Aylett (OBE), Selwyn Baker, Raymond Bamford, Sydney Barker Jnr, Charles Bartling, John Bennett, Lawrence Blades, Campbell Bogie, James Bolwell, Edward Bourke, Halcombe Brock*, Irvine Bromley, Robert Brooker, Joseph Bruce, David Burke (MC), Robert Burt, Charles Cameron, William Campbell, Christopher Carroll, Frank Carter, Dudley Cassidy, Keith Chamberlain, Barry Cheatley, Henry Clapson, Milton Clark, Albert Clarke, Alexander Clarke, Raymond Clarke, Donald Condon, Francis Conellan, Jack Cordner, Graham Cornes, Donald Coulton, John Crane, Francis Crapper, Allan Crawford, Vincent Cross, Alfred Crump, Claude Curtin, Frederick Dean, Michael Delanty, Roy Deller, John Diprose, Cairo Dixon, James Donnellan, John Donovan, Neil Doolan, Robert Drummond, John Dugdale, Arthur Duncan, William Dunn, Thomas Dunne, Graham Dunscombe, Phillip Dunstone, Leo Dwyer, Kevin Dynon, Gerald Eastmure, Maurice Edwards, Roy Eliason, Garry English, Frederick Fairweather, Horace Farmer, Roy Files, Richard Flynn, Arthur Foden, Leslie Foote, Keith Forbes, Frank Galle, Charles Gaudion, John Gaudion, Michael Gaudion, William Gerrand, Donald Gibson, Archibald Giles, Peter Gill, Alfred Goonan*, Harry Green, Bruce Gregory, John Gregory, Alfred Hacker, Eric Haggis, Archibald Hamilton, Barry Harrison, John Harrison, William Harvey, Francis Hasell, Kevin Hayes, Thomas Hayes, Charles Healy, Albert Hill, Vincent Hogan, Harold Hooke, Leonard Hooke, Frederick Hough, Ronald Howell, Kevin Hurley, Raymond Jackson, Lesley Jeffrey, Douglas Johnson, Lloyd Johnson, Leonard Johnson*, Edgar Jones, William Jory, Daniel Kearney, Sam Kekovich, George Kennedy, James Kennedy, John Kenny. James Kirby, Joseph Kirkley, Joseph Knott, John Lander, Thomas Leather, Duncan Lindsay, Albert Linton Snr, John Lynch, William Lynch, John Lyons, Roy Lyons, Allan Maas, Joseph Malone, Arnold Maltby, Albert Mantello, Peter Marchesi, Arthur Mason, Robert Matthews, Richard May, William McCabe, Allan McCasker, Leonard McConnell, John McCorkell, Joseph McElholum, Robert McEwen, Michael McFarlane, Sydney McGain, Walter McGrath, Keith McKenzie, Roderick McKindlay, Ronald McLeod, William McMaster, Frank Melville, Richard Michalczyk, Keith Miller, Richard Molloy, Allan Montgomery, Ronald Moran, Edwin Morcom, Charles Morgan, Arthur Morley, George Morrissey, Norman Murray, Francis Neenan, David Nelson, John Norris, John O’Brien, Brian O’Halloran, Richard O’Shea,Robert Oswald,Osborne Parks, James Patterson, Charles Pearce, Francis Pearce, Frank Penney, John Perry, Walter Perry, George Peters, Albert Peters*, Hughes Price, Michael Pullen, Pearce Purcell, Royston Quinn, Stanley Radloff, Michael Redenbach James Reid, Beresford Reilly*, Harold Robb, Thomas Roulent, Claude Rowe, William Russ, John Ryan, Reginald Ryan, Reginald Sanders, Ormond Saunders, William Serong, John Sexton, Morris Shapir*, William Sharp, Roy Sitch, Alan Smith, Bradley Smith, Clive Smith, William Smith, Harold Somerville, Colin Spratling, Arthur Staveley, Alexander Steigenberger, Thomas Stevens, Francis Stubbs, Leonard Thomas*, Desmond Tobin, Norman Tomkinson, Brian Turner, Edward Turner, Leo Tyrrell, Clifford Tyson Graham Walker, Trevor Wallace, Kenneth Watkins, Donald Watson, William Wells, Eric Whittam, Albert Williams, Harold Winberg, Edward Wintle, Herbert Wood, Raymond Wynd, Gordon Yea

Information courtesy of ‘Harder Than Football: League Players At War’, by Barbara Cullen.