Captain Nevell Stanley Kath, the son of Frederick Kath and Alice Eliza Maud Kath (nee Skuse), was born at Toowoomba in Queensland on 23rd November 1916. He was educated at the Toowoomba Grammar School. At the age of 23 years and 11 months he was mobilized into the Australian Military Forces at the Northern Command Reception Depot at the Brisbane Exhibition Grounds on 30th October 1940 after swearing the statutory oath that he would serve for the duration of the war and an additional twelve months. At the time of his enlistment, he was single, employed as a Clerk and residing at 241 James Street in Toowoomba. He had previously served in the Citizen Military Forces with the 25th Infantry Battalion where he had been promoted to the rank of Probationary Lieutenant on 10th July 1940. He stated that he was of the Church of England religion. He gave his next of kin as his father, Mr Frederick Kath, residing at Mount Tyson via Oakey.
Captain Nevell Kath was allotted the regimental number of Q70489. He was selected for appointment to the Darwin Infantry Battalion and he joined the battalion on 1st November 1940. He embarked on the ship H.M.A.S. “Zealandia” for service in the Northern Territory on 27th January 1941. After disembarking in Darwin he joined the Darwin Infantry Battalion on 6th February 1941. He was appointed as the Adjutant of his battalion on 28th September 1941. In November 1941 the Darwin Infantry Battalion was redesignated the 19th Infantry Battalion. He was then seconded to the 19th Infantry Battalion. He was promoted to the rank of Temporary Captain on 30th March 1942 in the 19th Battalion. He was appointed Adjutant of the 19th Infantry Battalion on 4th July 1942. He transferred to the Australian Imperial Force on 16th March 1943 at Gan Gan in New South Wales and he was issued a new regimental number of QX50509.
Captain Nevell Kath embarked for service in New Guinea on the ship H.M.A.S. “Duntroon” from the port of Cairns in Queensland on 4th July 1943 and he disembarked at Buna in New Guinea on 7th July 1943. His battalion was used on defensive duties and patrolling at Milne Bay. He is shown as having embarked at Lae on the sea transport “Gorgon” on 15th January 1944 and he disembarked at Brisbane in Queensland on 28th January 1944. He was evacuated to the 3rd Australian Camp Hospital suffering from eczema of both feet on 28th February 1944. He was transferred to No. 101 Army Convalescent Depot on 23rd March 1944 and remained a patient there until 3rd May 1944 when he joined the Queensland Line of Communication General Details Depot. He embarked for service in New Guinea on the sea transport “Tarooma” from the port of Townsville on 8th May 1944 and he disembarked at Buna on 13th May 1944 where he rejoined the 19th Infantry Battalion later that day. He emplaned at Nadzab on 19th August 1944 to return to Australia to attend a course of instruction and he deplaned at Townsville. He attended a Royal Australian Air Force School of Army Cooperation during the period 9th September until 9th October 1944. He embarked on the sea transport “Taroona” from the port of Townsville on 2nd January 1945 and he disembarked at Jacquinot Bay on 7th January 1945.
Captain Nevell Kath was wounded in action suffering a bomb (grenade) wound and compound fracture of his skull and lacerations to his brain on 13th March 1945 received in action at New Britain and he died from his wounds whilst being evacuated to the 6th Australian Field Ambulance Unit. He was buried in the Cape Turner Cemetery in New Guinea. At the time of his death he was 28 years of age. His remains were reinterred in the Tol War Cemetery on 8th August 1945. On 20th March 1946 his remains were reinterred in the Rabaul War Cemetery. His remains were exhumed on 24th October 1946 and reburied in the Rabaul (Bita Paka) War Cemetery. His headstone in the Rabaul (Bita Paka) War Cemetery contains the family inscription “Greater Love Hath No Man – Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten”.
Captain Nevell Kath, for his service during World War 2, had entitlement for the 1939/1945 Star, the Africa Star with 8th Clasp, the Pacific Star, the Defence Medal, the War Medal and the Australian Service Medal 1939/1945. His name is commemorated on Panel No. at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Mothers’ Memorial, the Toowoomba Soldiers’ Memorial Hall Honour Board, the Pittsworth Honour Board, the Oakey World War 2 Honour List and the Toowoomba Grammar School World War 2 Honour Board.
His photo and the following report were published in the Toowoomba Chronicle newspaper:
Captain Nevell Stanley Kath, QX48768, killed in New Britain on March 13, 1945, was the second son of Mr and Mrs F. Kath of Mt. Tyson. He was 28 years of age. His early education was at Captain’s Mountain State School, and later at Mt. Tyson State School, where at the age of 12 years he gained his scholarship and subsequently went to the Toowoomba Grammar School, where he secured a Junior University pass. After leaving school he was employed by the Mt. Tyson Co-operative Dairy Association, and latterly by the Shell Co. of Australia (Dalby Centre) where he remained for about five years, prior to his departure to the Shell Company’s Toowoomba Office. He enlisted at Toowoomba and after gaining his commission was sent to Darwin in 1940 and promoted to the rank of captain. He was then sent to New Guinea, and later returned to Canberra where in 1944 he completed an Army and Air Force training course in a military college. He was again sent to the north and then to New Britain, where he lost his life. The late Captain Kath was a keen sportsman, and was from early school days, closely identified with football, cricket and tennis, in Toowoomba and Dalby. He was also a member of the Apex Club in Toowoomba. His surviving two brothers are also in the military forces, Lieutenant D.H. Kath is with an Army Transport Command, and Leading Aircraftman Howard G. Kath is in the Air Force.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a boarder on 3rd February 1930 and left the School on 31st December 1931. His parent was shown as Mr F Kath, Mt Tyson. He attended Captains Mountain State School, then Mt Tyson State School where he gained a scholarship to Toowoomba Grammar School and secured a Junior University pass. He was then employed at Mt Tyson Co-op Dairy Assn and Shell Co. of Australia. In his school days, he played football, cricket and tennis and later played in the Past Grammar Reserve Grade XV and won a place in the Toowoomba team.