Harry Henkel has now passed to glory. He was in a Canberra nursing home. His family and friends said good-bye. There were three separate services. He was born in Germany in 1926 and migrated to Australia in 1952 and lived a remarkable life.
I'm able to speak with a little knowledge on the subject as the privilege was mine to document and write the e-book of Harry Henkel's WWII experiences as a boy parachutist with the Wehrmacht.
The title of the book is "Boy Parachutist 1943-45". Harry's mother was English, married to a German officer, and they spoke English at home whenever dad was away, which was often.
He saw military service in North Africa, Catania (Sicily), where he was wounded and convalesced back in Germany. He spent time in recovery training new recruits. Eventually he was reassigned and ended up in Italy fighting both at the invasion at Anzio and Monte Cassino. Here was wounded and repatriated to hospital back in Germany once more.
He was part of the contingent of paratroopers led by Otto Skorzeny that rescued Mussolini (12 September 1943) and eventually ended up on the Russian Front as Germany collapsed. He escaped an SS hunt and again escaped to the Americans over the Elbe River as the war ended.
As he was fluent in English he was soon in the employ of the Americans as a translator engaged in various tasks in office duties and driving American and English dignitaries.
This is the role he played during the Nuremberg Trials and was present when the condemned Nazi leadership were hung. He experienced the Berlin airlift of 1948 and eventually decided migration was a good option, finding his way to Australia in 1952.
Left Germany 1952
Born in 1926 and leaving Germany in 1952, the greater part of Harry Henkel's life has been as an Australian citizen. He retired, remarkably after 30 years in the Australian Navy rising to the rank of Commodore and commanded the submarine that can be publicly viewed at Darling Harbour.
There's a first! A Wehrmacht boy parachutist to an Australian Navy Commander.
Harry Henkel became a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ in 1985, when he was 59 years of age. Harry Henkel has bought his strength of character and good humour to his Christian walk and was a friend of wisdom to everyone he meets. Myrner his wife of was an effervescent character which added much positive entertainment to his life.
The e-book, "Boy Parachutist 1943-45" was written when Harry was 86 years old. It can be purchased on-line for $9.95.
Dr Mark Tronson - a 4 min video
Chairman – Well-Being Australia
Baptist Minister 45 years
- 1984 - Australian cricket team chaplain 17 years (Ret)
- 2001 - Life After Cricket (18 years Ret)
- 2009 - Olympic Ministry Medal – presented by Carl Lewis
- 2019 - The Gutenberg - (ARPA Christian Media premier award)
Gutenberg video - 2min 14sec
Married to Delma for 45 years with 4 children and 6 grand children