Has a WWI footy mystery been solved?

Western Independent may have found a relative of two WAFL premiership players who died during World War I after East Fremantle Football Club launched a public appeal for descendants to come forward.

Barry Wrightson. Photo: Peter Milne

Barry Wrightson. Photo: Peter Milne.

Arthur and Roy Wrightson were premiership players for Old Easts before enlising in the army and the club has now named a medal after the pair, which is to be presented to the best player in the Anzac Day game between East Fremantle and South Fremantle when it is played at East Fremantle Oval.

The medal was first awarded on Saturday to East Fremantle player Matthew Watson, but the club had not been able to find a Wrightson descendant to attend the presentation.

But Arthur and Roy Wrightson had a brother named Ernie and Western Independent today tracked down Claremont man Barry Wrightson, whose great grandfather was named Ernie Wrightson.

East Fremantle Football Club chief executive officer Todd Shimmon said he was interested to see whether Barry Wrightson was related to the war hero brothers. He said he was keen to have a relative present the award in future.

“The brothers were a terrible loss for the club and to know a relative of them is only fitting to present the medal in their honor,” he said.

Mr Wrightson said he had many links to the Fremantle community, particularly the sporting community. He said he had participated in sailing, game fishing, and football.

“Football is a big part of my family. We watch it every week,” Mr Wrightson said.

“I think it would mean a lot [to present the medal], anything to do with Freo, particularly football is close to my heart because I grew up there.”

Brothers Arthur Henry (Cock) and Roy James (Nugget) Wrightson both played in premierships for East Fremantle.

Arthur was a defender and played 87 games for the club and was killed in action in 1916. Roy, a ruckman-forward, played  71 games and died in 1917. Their parents were Robert Wrightson and Harriett Groves and their siblings were Hetty, Alfred, Ada, Hilda, Sydney, Ernest, Thomas and Hope.