David Mattiske - Joining the Navy

Running time
1 min 36 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


Sometime early in February, I suppose, in 1943, I got the notice to call in for a medical examination and passed that very easily. I was very, very active. I thought of myself as a pretty good Aussie Rules footballer and had been signed up by Melbourne to play in all the practice games during the autumn.

And that's another funny story. I thought I was doing pretty well. I suppose I could say the president, who was a very powerful man and managing director of Mobil in the Vacuum Oil Company, he was president of the Melbourne Football Club. And then I got the notice that I would be sworn in on my 18th birthday, so after practice, I said to the president, "Excuse me, Mr. Blair, but I will not be able to play any football, I'll be joining the Navy."

And his answer was very interesting. He said, "Listen lad, what did you do that for?" And I said "Well, sir, there's a war on, you know?" And he said, "Listen to me, my boy." He said, "Anybody can go and join the Navy, but not many people can play football for the Melbourne Football Club." "Sorry, sir, it's too late. I'm signed up."

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