HARRY, Ralph Lindsay

  1. Service Details
  2. Personal Details
  3. Unit and Rank Details
  4. Notes
  5. Sources

Service Details

Branch of Service
World War II
Date of Enlistment
Date of Discharge
Place of Enlistment
Sydney NSW

Personal Details

Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Geelong, Victoria
Address (at enlistment)
Canberra ACT
Public servant
Next of Kin
A. Harry

Unit and Rank Details

Service Number
NX148675, N43810
Final Rank
Final Unit
3 Battalion


Harry was the grandson of Sir Frederick Holder, one-time premier of South Australia and the first Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1901. He went to school at Launceston Grammar where his father was a teacher. After completing schooling he joined the Commonwealth Public Service and studied law in Hobart. He graduated in 1938 and became Tasmania's Rhode Scholar going onto attain a BA at Oxford in 1940. He attempted to join the British Army but, being unsuccessful, returned to Australia and joined External Affairs in Canberra. He served in the 3rd Battalion militia and was sent to Papua in May 1942 with his unit. When they entered the Kokoda track in September 1942 Harry was Intelligence Officer for the 3rd Battalion.

He was recalled in 1943 and posted to the Australian High Commission in Ottawa, Canada. In 1945 he was part of the Australian delegation, led by Dr. H.V. Evatt, to the San Francisco Conference which established the charter for the United Nations. Harry drafted the ANZUS Treaty which was signed in 1951, served as Consul-General in Geneva (1953-56) and as commissioner in Singapore (1956-57). After reporting on the structure of ASIS he served several years as its director and on postings as ambassador to Belgium (1965-68), South Vietnam (1968-70), Federal Republic of Germany (1971-75) and the UN as Australia's permanent representative (1975-78). After retiring he became Director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs. He was appointed a CBE in 1963 and AC in 1980.

Harry wrote several books including 'The Diplomat Who Laughed' and 'No Man is a Hero'. He died on 7 October 2002 in Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney.

The nominal roll only shows him enlisting in 1943 but this was when he joined the AIF.


WWII Nominal Roll http://www.ww2roll.gov.au
Colin Kennedy, 'Port Moresby to Gona Beach. 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion 1942', 1992 (p.26)
Sydney Morning Herald - 9 October 2002, 24 October 2002
NAA RecordSearch

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