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Royals In The Battle Of Singapore

Friday, April 21, 2017 - 9:48 AM
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This year Australia is commemorating the 75th anniversary of the fall of Singapore, to the Japanese. In 1942 during World War 2 this was also a time to remember two of our former players, Alf Mussman and Bill Innes, who paid the supreme sacrifice when they were both killed in action on the same-day February 12th just three days before the surrender of Singapore took place. Both players were members of the West Australian formed 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion.

At the time of his death Mussman a Private was almost 31 years of age. Innes a Sergeant was 22 and seven months of age.

Alfred Charles Mussman was born in Adelaide; SA on the 25th April, 1911 he joined East Perth in 1935 after having played with the Sturt Football Club in SA. He was a member of the 1936 premiership team and during his career; he played a total of 103 games and kicked 102 goals. His last game with East Perth was in the first semi-final of 1940 when East Fremantle defeated East Perth. The Football Budget of the next week had this say: “Alf Mussman was just about the pick of the losing team. He gave a solid aid to the defence and when not placed in that division, continued his useful play. It was difficult to fault his effort in any way.”  Mussman enlisted in the AIF on 9 December 1940.

William Leonard Innes was born at Subiaco WA on the 29th July 1919 and enlisted in the AIF on 4 December 1940. Innes first played football with Mt. Lawley in 1932 and then transferring to live in Kalgoorlie. he distinguished himself for his all-round sporting ability. In 1937 he won the junior professional cycling championship of Kalgoorlie, both for the road and track.  He also had a good season with North Kalgoorlie cricket club and was a keen swimmer. Returning to Perth in July of that year he linked up with his old club - Mt. Lawley and played consistently for the remainder of the season. Due to his brilliant form in 1939 he was awarded the Strempel medal, which was awarded to the fairest and best player for the season in the Metropolitan Junior Football Association. (Other East Perth players who won this award included Eric Sweet and Jack Clayton.) Innes played his first league game for East Perth on the 25th May 1940 and completed a total of 12 games for the season.

We salute and remember these two players who paid the supreme sacrifice for their country 75 years ago.