Career : 1926
Debut : Round 8, 1926 v North Melbourne, aged 23 years, 44 days
Carlton Player No.: 429
Games : 6
Goals : 0
Last game: Round 14, 1926 v Geelong, aged 23 years, 100 days
Guernsey No. 31
Height: 177 cm
Weight: 74 kg
DOB : May 6, 1903
Les Witto came to Carlton from Broken Hill West, NSW in 1926. A resolute defender who had played senior football in two states, he was a valuable acquisition for the Blues, who by that time had languished near the bottom of the VFL ladder for five years.
Tragically, Les wore the Navy Blue in only a handful of games. In just his sixth match, he suffered a badly broken arm against Geelong. A tetanus infection developed in the wound, and he died on August 23, 1926.
The club immediately launched an appeal in aid of Les's widowed mother, and within weeks, 695 pounds ($1390) had been raised. If this seems paltry to modern readers, one should consider that the average weekly wage at that time was 30 shillings (three dollars).
"The news of the death of Leslie Witto, the Carlton footballer who hailed from Broken Hill, in the Melbourne Hospital on August 23, has come as a shock to footballers generally, and Carlton players in particularly. Witto met with an accident in the last quarter of the game against Geelong on August 14. Leaping for a mark he fell over he fell over another player, coming down heavily with his arm doubled beneath him. One of the broken bones was forced through the flesh, and he was admitted to the hospital. He had been progressing favourably until tetanus developed. He was at once isolated from other patients, but never recovered, dying as stated. I saw him play against Richmond and Melbourne and he was a fine type of footballer. It is shocking that his death should have been caused in such a manner, and so far away from home. He was 23 years of age, and lived at Northcote."
("J. W." (Jack Worrall) Australasian August 28 p42)
FootnoteIn the above photo, Les is wearing the short lived Carlton guernsey (1923-26) which had a white stripe on the edge of the collar.
LinksArticles: Tragedies in Blue
Blueseum: Summary of playing statistics for Les Witto | Witto's Blueseum Image Gallery