Private Robert Poate

It is with deep regret the Australian Defence Force announces the death of Private Robert Hugh Frederick Poate on operations in Afghanistan on 29 August 2012.

Private Robert Poate was a member of the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment Task Group and was from the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (6 RAR), based in Brisbane, Queensland.

Private Poate is survived by his parents Hugh and Janny, and his sister, Nicola.

Private Poate was born in Canberra, in 1988. He enlisted in the Army in 2009. On completion of his basic and initial employment training, he was posted as a rifleman to 6 RAR. Private Poate was a highly qualified soldier, having completed specialist training as a Protected Mobility Vehicle Driver in 2010 and Protected Mobility Vehicle Commander in 2011.

Private Poate was known for having outstanding leadership potential, which led to him completing a promotion course for Corporal in 2011. He will be fondly remembered by his 'Brothers by Choice' in 6 RAR as a larrikin and an incredibly professional soldier. Private Poate was proud of his family, his military service, his Canberra origins and his red hair which he vehemently defended as being strawberry blonde.

Private Poate has been awarded the following honours and awards:

  • Australian Active Service Medal with Clasp ICAT
  • Afghanistan Campaign Medal
  • Australian Defence Medal
  • NATO Non Article 5 Medal with Clasp ISAF
  • Infantry Combat Badge

During Private Poate’s service in the Australian Army he deployed on Operation Slipper (Afghanistan): June – August 2012.

Statements and tributes

Private Poate's family

Robert attended Canberra Grammar School from pre-school to year 12, this period being two thirds of his short life. Robert was an intelligent student and a superb all-round athlete. He was awarded Blaxland House Colours and the Mark Sowell Award for outdoor education. He was Captain of the open grade Third Fifteen Rugby Football Team where he played as five eighth, and he regularly played with the Second Fifteen. In his final year at school, his football team presented him with the Players’ Player Award.

Robert was gregarious, charismatic, he made friends easily and had a wonderful sense of humour. His family and his friends meant everything to him. He loved the outdoor life, particularly camping, fishing and hunting. This love of the outdoors was a strong influence on his decision to join the Australian Army in 2009.

Robert was posted to the 6th Battalion, The Royal Australia Regiment (6RAR) where he quickly earned himself a reputation as a fun-loving person and a great mate to be around. There was never a dull moment when Poatey was present. He was a great morale booster and was known as a dedicated soldier, a quick learner and a man on a mission to go to Afghanistan. As a junior soldier, he was also identified for his leadership skills ahead of most of his peers and he completed an Infantry section leaders course.

Robert deployed to Afghanistan as crew commander of a Bushmaster vehicle with Mentoring Task Force 5 in June 2012. The vehicle he commanded was regularly the lead vehicle in convoys and patrols. On 29 August 2012, Robert was tragically killed along with two of his mates by enemy fire at Patrol Base Wahab, Oruzgan Province, Baluchi Valley, Afghanistan.

Hugh, Janny and Nicola are left with wonderful memories of Robert, particularly his ever-present smile, his great sense of humour and his unconditional love.