Home' Army News : July 22nd 2010 Contents NEWS 3
Army July 22, 2010
By Capt Peter Martinelli
TO HIS family he was an outstanding dad
and to his mates he was a tower of strength.
Pte Timothy James Aplin was farewelled
by relatives and comrades at a service at St
John's Cathedral in Brisbane on July 5.
Pte Aplin was killed on 21 June, along with
Pte Benjamin Chuck and Pte Scott Palmer.
They were involved in a rotary-wing strike
operation in Kandahar province when their
helicopter crashed only minutes away from the
area of operations.
CO 2 Cdo Regt described Pte Aplin as
"extremely experienced, level headed and
"He met the challenge of operations on
many occasions," he said.
"He knew that he could rely on his mates
to support him, that his family was proud of
Pte Aplin was borne into the cathedral on
the shoulders of his brothers in arms through
an honour guard of students from Brisbane
The college flew the Australian flag at half
mast as the school paid tribute to its fallen
Pte Aplin's friend, Michael Kruger, said
his departed mate was too big for the coffin in
which he lay.
"His smile was bigger than that, his heart
was bigger than that," Mr Kruger said.
"In the past week I have received hundreds
of tributes from across the army, words like
'one of our finest NCOs, 'an honour to serve
with Tim, 'indispensable'," Mr Kruger said.
He said Pte Aplin was driven by the love
for his family.
"Duty makes us do things well, love makes
us do it to perfection," Mr Kruger said. "Tim
loved his kids, he was a perfect father."
Such was Pte Aplin's determination to
become a commando that upon passing selec-
tion he willingly gave up his sergeant's rank.
"He wanted to show the young guys that
they had to keep up with us, not the other way
around," a fellow commando said.
Pte Aplin's loss was felt not just by his
mates, 2 Cdo Regt Chaplain Maumau Monu
"The Prime Minister, on behalf of
Australia, has lost a hero. The Chief of Army
has lost a true warrior. 2 Cdo Regt has lost one
of their own," he said.
"Tim's concern as a soldier was to be noth-
ing less than one of the selected few, which we
can only describe as Australia's finest."
Relative Wendy Gunnell read a poem writ-
ten by Pte Aplin's wife Natasha.
"I may never receive a medal or march on
Anzac Day, but I stand tall in the quiet knowl-
edge I too have a role to play," Ms Gunnell
"I am a silent soldier; I am a commando's
wife. No uniform, nor rank, just pride in
knowing I live a commando's life."
By Capt Peter Martinelli
HE WAS a warrior remembered for generosity
of spirit and the respect of his mates.
The funeral for Pte Scott Travis Palmer, 27,
was held at Christ Church Anglican Cathedral in
Darwin on July 10.
Pallbearers from 2 Cdo Regt ignored the sti-
fling heat and carried their mate's flag-bedecked
coffin into the cathedral after a procession along
the Darwin Esplanade.
Pte Palmer died as a warrior, CO 2 Cdo Regt
said. "He was capable, versatile and robust, both
physically and mentally," he said. "A warrior
endures pain and discomfort so that others can
enjoy peace and prosperity."
Pte Palmer was killed in action on June 21
during a commando-led mission in Afghanistan's
"In the dark and cramped confines of the
helicopter they prepared themselves and their
equipment for the mission ahead," CO 2 Cdo
"Unfortunately the balance of uncertainty and
chance was tipped and the helicopter crashed
killing Scott, Pte Tim Aplin and Pte Ben Chuck
and wounding seven of their mates.
"Scott died doing what he loved."
The cathedral was filled with family, friends,
mates from his former battalion, 5/7RAR, and
comrades from 2 Cdo Regt.
He was no saint and never claimed to be,
mourners heard, but his larrikin nature infected
all who knew him. Many from Darwin and
Katherine attended the service to remember and
pay their respects to a departed mate, including
members of the University Pirates Rugby Club.
In a statement released days after his death,
Pte Palmer's parents Ray and Pam said he was
devoted and loyal.
"Scott was a larrikin who made us laugh, he
had mischief in his smile, love in his heart, and
was completely generous regardless of circum-
stance," the statement read.
Relative John Palmer said Pte Palmer had a
"unique sense of humility and a way of turning a
bad situation into something bearable."
"He's left us with vivid memories and
touched us in a unique way. He's remembered as
a hero, soldier, brother, and son."
Other eulogies recalled "Positive" Palmer's
love of training, and his generosity that drove
him to commit time to the Young Raiders foot-
"He had a soft spot for young people and
those wanting to excel in what they did," 7RAR
Chaplain Richard Whereat said.
Pte Palmer shared his father Ray's honesty
and his mother Pam's compassion, and they saw
their son affected by his tours of Afghanistan.
"Their concerns were real and justified; war
does affect the human spirit," Chap Whereat
said. "Ray and Pam were able to see some of
those changes in Scott."
A firing party from 7RAR fired a volley of
three shots followed by the Last Post, before the
coffin was solemnly marched from the church.
soldier gave all
"He takes more risks on behalf of those who fol-
low him so they remain safe. It takes courage, talent
and experience. More importantly, it takes the trust
of the rest of your mates that you can do the job for
More than 1000 at Gallipoli Barracks remem-
bered Pte Bewes during a 6RAR Memorial Service
on July 16 attended by his parents Gary and Kaye,
sister Stephanie and partner Alice Walsh.
His family said the Army was his passion and
all he wanted to do. They said he was a loyal friend
who cared for his mates.
"Nathan just loved to look after people -- at
his 21st birthday party we could not get over such
camaraderie between young men.
"We could not believe that such mateship could
exist between young men in this day and age."
In a statement, Alice Walsh said Pte Bewes was
"an amazing friend" and was loved by all.
"Nate was my best friend, my soul mate, the one
I knew I'd be with for the rest of my life," Ms Walsh
"He always made me laugh and I have never
loved anyone so much. He was an excellent soldier
who was willing to put his life in danger along with
his mates from Team 3 for the people of Australia.
"I will miss my 'Bewesy' for the rest of my life."
Pte Bewes was born in Kogarah, NSW, in 1986.
He joined the Army in 2005 and in the same year
successfully completed his recruit and infantry
basic training before being posted to 6RAR.
This was his second deployment to Afghanistan.
He had also deployed to East Timor in 2006.
The blast that killed Pte Bewes also inflicted
minor wounds on another soldier who received
treatment at the medical facility at Multinational
Base Tarin Kowt. Remembered
for a big heart
Funeral march: The
casket of Pte Timothy
Aplin (pictured below)
is carried into St John's
Cathedral in Brisbane.
Photo by Cpl Chris Moore
Honoured: The bearer party lifts the coffin from the gun
carriage at the funeral for Pte Scott Palmer (pictured right).
Photo by Cpl Melina Mancuso
Final salute: CDF ACM Angus Houston and Acting CA Maj-Gen Paul Symon honour
the sacrifice of Pte Nathan Bewes.
Photo by LAC Leigh Cameron
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