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Anzac Day – Captain Harry Katekar

Captain H.J. (Harry) Katekar – service in Syria and New Guinea (SA 2/27 Infantry Battalion)

We wish to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of men and women who have served our country in all theatres of war.

This year we are highlighting Harry Katekar’s service in WWII. H.J (Harry) Katekar was on the RIT Board from 1957-1972. He was the son of Charles Katekar MBE who was the chairman of the Board from 1925-1945.

Harry was born in 1914 in Renmark, and graduated from the University of Adelaide in 1937. He enlisted in the SA 2/27 Infantry Battalion in May 1940 as a private, but due to his education was offered a commission and promoted to Lieutenant.

Harry fought in Syria and New Guinea. A pivotal battle for Harry and his battalion took place on the slopes of Mission Ridge in Central New Guinea, on the days after September 7, 1942. The Japanese had outflanked the Australians who were also outnumbered. Japanese snipers were effective and many Australians died or were wounded in the ensuing days. Harry went on to fight in the battle of Gona in New Guinea in December 1942.

After the war, Harry Katekar was Chairman of the Renmark Flood Emergency Committee, which had responsibility for defending and/or evacuating the town if the flood waters rose significantly in July-August 1956.

Harry conducted two interviews which are available on the Australian War Memorial website – Rob Linn in 1990 and Peter Brune in c.2009.

Rob Linn interview and transcript

Peter Brune interview

*Photo from the Kokoda Historical webpage which includes a detailed account of Harry Katekar’s war service