Lance Corporal Leslie John Hildebrandt in Japan 1946

Japan 1946

After reading the front page of RAEME Nation website and seeing WO1 Hildebrandt’s photo, the memories flooded back to Puckapunyal 1958, Leslie John was in charge of the GE section at Puckapunyal Area Workshops and I was their as a corporal in the same section. 

After reading the front page of RAEME Nation website and seeing WO1 Hildebrandt’s photo, the memories flooded back to Puckapunyal 1958, Leslie John was in charge of the GE section at Puckapunyal Area Workshops and I was their as a corporal in the same section. Leslie John was a died in the wool Essendon supporter so much so he lived across the road from the Essendon football Oval in a terrace two story house and I could always identify his house because on the side wall up high he had a neon Aeroplane Jelly sign.

In the old Wksp at Seymour we had a RAEME stores person WO2 Pall Turner who during WW2 played for St. Kilda and later of course took charge of the stores at Pucka Area Wksp and Leslie John and Pall were great mates but only when their two teams weren’t playing each other.

Both these men were friends of mine and they knew I had never seen an Australian Rules game at senior level. I was a Rugby person. Leslie John invited me to come to Melbourne and attend a game, it was Essendon Verses St Kilda and Pall Turner and him were going together. I jumped at the chance. 

The following Saturday we meet at Leslie John’s house and stroll across the road and I follow the two of them in with a great crowd into the ground and up into the stand. They situate me between the two of them to share the telling. A huge mistake on my half. The game starts and at first they are only yelling intermittingly and as the game went on the yelling of advise to the players and umpires became more vocal and eventually in the last quarter when the scores were about even they started yelling abuse to each other and it got really heated and at one stage each were throwing  punches at each other and remember I was in the middle and copped a few of them.

It was so bad I left the two of them and waited at the top of the stairs for the final whistle. As they left the stadium they were still arguing. By the time we got to Leslie John’s house they had settled down, well a little.

I never ever made that mistake again even though I was invited many time to go to the football with them, I never did. Both Leslie John and Pall Turner were great people who got on with everyone, I will never forget my introduction to Aussie Rules football.

Memories by WO1 Bob Thompson (Ret)