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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.

katekarnewspaper_400

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.  

helenkatekarwithharryka_400IMAGE 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.



Unclaimed War Medals of Henry Arthur YOUNG Now Claimed

Here is proof that not every serviceman made a claim for his medals after the war!  In August 2010, Robert YOUNG from the United Kingdom contacted Medals Gone Missing and informed us that to the best of his knowledge, his father had never claimed his war service medals. 

Lance Sergeant Henry Arthur YOUNG (Service Number 5833397) served on Home Duties during the Second World War with the Royal Engineers; from 1940 through to 1946.  Robert asked if his father was entitled to any War Medals and despite the fact that Henry remained in Britain throughout these years - he was certainly eligible for something. 

It is a well known fact that Britain was under constant air attack from the Luftwaffe as from 1940, and from attack by flying bombs (V1 & V2 rockets) through to 1945.  Based on this information, many areas within Britain were under threat from air attack and as such, the Medals Gone Missing Administrator was of the opinion that at the very least, Henry was entitled to both the Defence Medal and the 1939-1945 War Medal.

robertyoungmedalsofhe_400IMAGE RIGHT:  Robert YOUNG with his the two "newly issued" Second World War Medals which were not claimed by his father after the cessation of hostilities.  The medal in Roberts right hand (red, white & blue ribbon) is the 1939-1945 War Medal and the award in his left hand (green, black and orange stripes) is the Defence Medal.

Being the next of kin to his father Henry; Robert wrote away to the relevant authority and in record time - the two war medals turned up.

Robert said “They both arrived in plastic presentation boxes with a gold crown on the top and on the reverse, a label with my father’s Military details. It is a shame he is not still alive so that he could see them”.  With these two war medals taking pride of place in Robert’s home, no doubt this year will be a very special “Remembrance Day” in the YOUNG household.

For those of you who are unsure if your ancestor's medals were claimed or not; it just goes to show - if you do not ask - then you shall not receive.



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