Len Johnson (footballer)
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Len Johnson Footballer

Len Johnson
Personal information
Full name Leslie Albert Johnson
Date of birth (1908-07-06)6 July 1908
Place of birth Elsternwick, Victoria
Date of death 24 January 1942(1942-01-24) (aged 33)
Place of death near Singapore, British Malaya
Original team(s) Ascot Vale CYMS
Position(s) Full-forward
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1929-1933 Essendon 64 (85)
1933 North Melbourne 05 0(3)
Total 69 (88)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1933.
Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

Leslie Albert "Len" Johnson (6 July 1908 - 24 January 1942) was an Australian rules footballer who played with Essendon and North Melbourne in the Victorian Football League (VFL). He died in an accident while serving with the Second AIF during World War II.[1][2]


One of the eight children of Albert Henry Johnson, and Margaret Johnson, née O'Keefe, Leslie Albert Johnson was born in Elsternwick, Victoria on 6 July 1908 (his birth was registered as "Albert Lesley Johnson").

SVP Boys Orphanage

His mother died on 26 June 1918, aged 40,[3] when Len was only 10. His father, a handyman who had to travel widely for his work, leaving his youngest son in the hands of his daughters, and assuming that his eldest son, Dan (known as Edward), could look after himself, and delivered his three other sons, Len, Eric, and Patrick over to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul's Boys Orphange in Cecil Street, South Melbourne.[4][5]


He was equal leading goalkicker for Essendon in the 1929 VFL season, and in one game kicked nine goals. He then played and coached in Tasmania, including at the Longford, Nhill and Griffith clubs.

Military service

Johnson enlisted in the Second AIF in March 1941 and was posted to British Malaya as a private in 4 Reserve Motor Transport Company.


He died in an accident on 24 January 1942 near Singapore. On that day, Johnson's sergeant ordered 4 Reserve Motor Transport Company to demolish a warehouse. The sergeant knocked down a wall, not knowing that Johnson was behind it and killing Johnson in the process.[6][7][8][9][10]


The location of his grave was lost when the Japanese Empire occupied Singapore three weeks after Johnson's death.[11]


His death is commemorated at the Singapore War Memorial, Kranji.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Holmesby & Main (2002), p.328.
  2. ^ 6 July 1908, ABC Radio Melbourne, 23 April 2016.
  3. ^ Deaths: Johnson, The Argus, (Thursday, 27 June 1918), p.1.
  4. ^ Main & Allen (2002), p.270.
  5. ^ Former St Vincent de Paul Boys Orphanage, Heritage Council of Victoria.
  6. ^ Deaths: On Active Service: Johnson, The Argus, (Tuesday, 27 January 1942), p.2.
  7. ^ Footballer's Death, The Argus, (Wednesday, 28 January 1942), p.4.
  8. ^ Former Essendon Player Killed, The Herald, (Wednesday, 28 January 1942), p.8.
  9. ^ L.A. Johnson Killed: On Active Service, The Mercury, (Thursday, 29 January 1942), p.8.
  10. ^ Ex-Port Footballer's Death Overseas: Len Johnson was Well Known in South and Port, The (Emerald Hill) Record, (Saturday, 31 January 1942), p1.
  11. ^ "Remembering our Anzacs". nmfc.com.au. Retrieved 2020.
  12. ^ Private Leslie Albert Johnson (VX50877), at Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


  • World War Two Nominal Roll: Private Leslie Albert Johnson (VX50877), at Department of Veterans' Affairs.
  • Holmesby, Russell & Main, Jim (2002), The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers: every AFL/VFL player since 1897 (4th ed.), Melbourne, Victoria: Crown Content. p. 328. ISBN 1-74095-001-1.
  • Main, J. & Allen, D., "Johnson, Len", pp.270-272 in Main, J. & Allen, D., Fallen - The Ultimate Heroes: Footballers Who Never Returned From War, Crown Content, (Melbourne), 2002. ISBN 1-74095-010-0
  • Maplestone, M., Flying Higher: History of the Essendon Football Club 1872-1996, Essendon Football Club, (Melbourne), 1996. ISBN 0-9591740-2-8

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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