Private Timothy Aplin

It is with deep regret the Australian Defence Force announces the death of Private (Pte) Timothy James Aplin during operations in Afghanistan.

Private Aplin was serving with the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) when he tragically lost his life in a helicopter crash, on Monday 21 June 2010.

Thirty-eight-year-old Private Aplin was from the Sydney-based 2nd Commando Regiment.

Private Aplin enlisted in the Australian Army Reserves on 04 Feb 1992. Private Aplin transferred to the Regular Army on 20 Sep 1995, reaching the rank of Sergeant. He successfully completed the Commando Selection and Training Course in 2008 and was posted to the then 4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (Commando) in January 2009 after completing the Commando Reinforcement Cycle. To achieve this goal he willingly took the required reduction in rank from Sergeant to do this. Private Aplin was an outstanding and dedicated Commando who was highly respected. This was his second tour to Afghanistan and he was serving with the SOTG as a team demolitions specialist.

Private Aplin has been awarded:

  • the Australian Active Service Medal with East Timor, Iraq and ICAT clasps 
  • the Infantry Combat Badge 
  • the United Nations Medal with Ribbon UNTAET 
  • the IRAQ Campaign Medal 
  • the Australian Defence Medal 
  • the Defence Long Service Medal
  • the Afghanistan Campaign Medal
  • the Returned from Active Service Badge.

During Private Timothy James Aplin’s service in the Australian Army he deployed on the following operations:

  • Operation Tanager (East Timor): 2000
  • Operation Bastille (Middle East): 2003
  • Operation Slipper (Afghanistan): 2009
  • Operation Slipper (Afghanistan): 2010.

Statements and tributes

Mrs Natasha Aplin, Private Aplin's wife

Timothy Aplin is a man who represented many things to many people.

He was first, foremost and most importantly, an adored husband to his beloved Natasha, and a loving, guiding light as father and stepfather to their children Ty, Shinae, Josie and Daniel.

Tim was a much loved, valued and loyal friend to so many. He was a highly trained and highly regarded soldier, who as a senior non-commissioned officer decided to pursue his dream of becoming a Special Forces soldier, and ultimately, a Commando.

His family supported him in realising this dream. The loss of Tim has completely devastated his immediate and extended family, and this devastation further extends to his friends, colleagues, and the community. There are no words to describe the depth of the pain that Natasha and the children are experiencing.

Tim was always ‘the rock’, the one who people turned to when the chips were down. He will continue to be a source of strength and inspiration to us all. The love and vivaciousness that Tim shared with all those who knew him was infectious.

His humour, his kindness and his practical, no-fuss approach to life will give us the courage to navigate through this extremely difficult time.

Margaret and Richard Gunnell, Private Aplin's parents

We are all very proud of Tim.

Tim was very fit and active with a real sense of adventure. He loved life, loved his family and was a devoted friend, father, uncle, son, brother and nephew.

Tim was a proud Australian who followed his dream to join the army. He loved military life and enjoyed his job. He was a confident and highly capable soldier and his loss will be deeply felt.

On behalf of Tim’s very large and extended family, we would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers and we would now like the opportunity to grieve with our family and friends in private.