Stolen War Medals Found After 27 Years
Henry "Harry" John KATEKAR is one of the unspoken heroes of Kokoda. A commissioned officer in South Australia's 2/27th Infantry Battalion, he had served in Syria during 1941 against the Vichy French - before being sent to New Guinea to help stop the Japanese thrust. He was Adjutant of the 2/27th on Mission Ridge; during the battle for Brigade Hill. He was also instrumental in helping to keep his men together as a unit; during that horrendous journey through the rugged virgin jungle surrounding the Kokoda Track - an ordeal which would last for two weeks. And then backed up for a second go, when the 21st Brigade were sent up to the slaughterhouse that was Gona.
IMAGE ABOVE: Story from the Australian newspaper, THE ADELAIDE ADVERTISER which featured on the 2nd December, 2010. It is stories like this which give hope to other families who have fallen victim to thieves. The Medals Gone Missing Administrator wishes to state:- "There is always a chance that the medals will turn up and you should never give up looking".
Surviving the Second World War, he earnt the right to a life of relative peace and good fortune. Until Harry fell victim to an unscupulous and callous thief who broke into his Adelaide home and stole his cherished war medals in 1983. Harry had worn these medals every Anzac Day since 1945 and in the words of his sister, Helen Drever "He was very upset when they were stolen".
Over 27 years later, the Medals Gone Missing Administrator found the medals being offered for sale on ebay in May of 2010 .... totally unaware at the time that the medals had been stolen - so many years ago. The medals were eventually purchased and placed on the Medals Gone Missing website in the hope of contacting a descendant of Harry KATEKAR.
It was only through a casual search on the internet, by Ben Logos (a grandson of Harry's) that the Medals Gone Missing listing was located and contact made. Further email contact ascertained that the precious war medals were stolen, so many years ago ..... sadly, too late for Harry - who passed away in 2000.
Harry had received a replica set of medals and these he wore on ceremonial occasions up until his death - however it must have left a bitter taste in his mouth; knowing full well that his original medals had been taken by a criminal who had no conscience.
IMAGE LEFT: Helen DREVER, sister of Harry Katekar - holding her brother's medals.
The medals were taken down to Harry's beloved sister, Helen Drever who was very pleased that they had been finally found. Helen indicated that the family had forgotten about them, it was so long ago.
Whilst ownership of the medals is back with the KATEKAR family, it is their wish that the medals be used as 'display items' by the Medals Gone Missing Administrator when giving presentations and historical talks to school and community groups around Australia.
Finding these war medals and bringin the KATEKAR family a small token of their father back into their lives; is one of the proudest achievements for Gary Traynor, the Medals Gone Missing Administrator.
WISH TO READ THE FULL STORY OF HARRY KATEKAR? Please Click Here
PLEASE NOTE: The person who offered the medals for sale on ebay WAS NOT the person responsible for the theft in 1983. The medals had gone through a number of hands over the years and there was little chance of ascertaining information which would lead to a conviction.