DOB: 17 May 1916
Died: 28 March 1943
From: Melbourne High School
Having captained Melbourne High School in both football and cricket, Truscott was invited to train with the Demons by Checker Hughes and instantly impressed. He was from a fine football lineage as his father Bill had played for Prahran in the VFA and won a gold medal in 1902 for his service.
He won a Seconds premiership in 1935, while playing for Melbourne Boys' Club in the Morning League during the same season. After initially being part of the swap deal to clear Bert Chandler from Hawthorn, Truscott stayed and made his senior debut in 1937 with six games. He played 11 the next year and 17 in 1939 including the first premiership victory of the Melbourne title hat-trick.
By January that year he'd been involved in 65 missions for 15 confirmed enemy kills. He had nearly met tragedy after having been forced to bail out at 400m over the English Channel. His parachute opened just in time. Another time when his squadron led an attack on the city of Brest his spitfire had the hood of the cockpit torn off and shrapnel hit his wings. Nevertheless he was as close to a rock star as a fighter pilot could be. The people of Britain raised the equivalent of $100k to buy him a new plane.
Returning to Melbourne en route from Europe to the Pacific conflict, Truscott got in contact with old coach Checker Hughes and arranged to play the following Saturday. Before his comeback game he received a donation of 1000p from local identity John Wren, he temporarily received the captaincy and three young girls threw rose petals on the ground as he ran onto Punt Road Oval.
Richmond's Jack Dyer raised his arm to the crowd before the first bounce, and an opponent even conceded a soft free kick to allow him to kick a goal. Truscott was out of shape for football and Melbourne lost by 79 points but the crowd still charged the ground at the end of the match to get a closer look at one of the country's best fighter pilots and a hero of the Battle of Britain.
He never played again, and in March of 1943 was killed in a plane crash during a training exercise off Exmouth in Western Australia
The Best and Fairest award is now named after him, as are an RAAF Base in Western Australia and streets in Sydney and the ACT. In 1956 Heidelberg High School named one of their school houses after him.
|Round 14, 1939||Elbowing||Not Guilty|
The Argus - 01/06/1935
Age - 20/05/1937
Barrier Miner - 12/11/1941
The Horsham Times - 19/05/1942
"Australia loses famous air ace" - The Canberra Times 30/03/1943
"Tributes to Sqd-Ldr Truscott" - The Argus 30/03/1943
Football Record Finals
"Demon a true ANZAC hero" - The Age 26/04/2009