New Diggers Story - Captain Harry Katekar M.I.D.
Most of us in the modern western world are lucky enough, never to know hunger. An intense kind of hunger, the sort that gnaws away at your stomach causing you to drop around 12 kilograms of body weight in less than two weeks.
Very few of us know what it is like to sleep in pouring rain, to be constantly wet with nothing but a cotton shirt or thin woolen pullover to protect you from the elements. Nor do we know what it is to suffer from festering open wounds – where your only chance to ward off gangrene, is to allow maggots to infest your injury and eat away the rotten flesh.
But then again, most of us did not happen to grow up in South Australia during the nineteen twenties or thirties and find ourselves going off to the Second World War with the 2/27th Infantry Battalion.
Perhaps the young Harry Katekar, who had recently graduated from university with a degree in Law with ambitions of opening his own Solicitor's office, would also not have dreamed of experiencing such hardships.
The first Australian to be Killed in Action on an Australian operation in the First World War
Able Seaman John Courtney
Able Seaman John Courtney, from Ross Island, Townsville was one of the sailors advancing along the Bitapaka road on September 11, 1914 as part of the landing party of the Australian Naval and Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF). Courtney's real name was John Edward Walker. He was shot in the chest and in the base of the skull as he was fighting in the jungles of Rabaul.
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One of the best known images of an Australian soldier in the Pacific War is that of VX12513, Corporal Leslie 'Bull' Allen. Bull Allen was born in 1918, in Ballarat, Victoria. As an orphan, he and his sister would grow up in an orphanage.
By the time the Second World War had broken out, Bull Allen had already been working for nearly a decade. In 1940 at the age of 21, Allen volunteered for service with the Second Australian Imperial Force (AIF).
Posted as reinforcement to the 2/5 Australian Infantry Battalion of the 17 Brigade. Allen would join Battalion in Palestine were they were training and would be made a stretcher-bearer in 'Don' Company.
By the time the above famous image had been taken, Bull Allen along with the 17 Brigade, had seen service in the Middle East, including Libya and Syria. It was during those campaigns that Allen would not only earn his nickname of ‘Bull’ but also gain a reputation as being ‘cool under fire’.