Soldiers Supporting Their Mates

Soldiers from the 6RAR with Tonia Ellis. Photo credit Chaplain Stan Fetting

On 12 June 1996, two Blackhawk helicopters collided in mid-air near Townsville during a training mission.

Fifteen SAS soldiers and three aviators died that night – Sergeant Hugh Ellis being among them.

Sergeant Ellis’ mother, Mrs Tonia Ellis, lives in Hebel, 650 kilometres west of Brisbane. Her home overlooks a Covid-19 movement border control point where our local soldiers from Enoggera that belong to the the 6th Battalion, Australian Army Royal Australian Regiment soldiers have been supporting the Queensland Police Service. :

Mrs Ellis had been visiting the task group members with baked goods.

‘I’m delighted to have them here, so I took down some Anzac biscuits every now and then,’ Mrs Ellis said. ‘It’s been very healing. I’ve been able to talk about things you can’t talk to others about.’

Lieutenant Colonel Bryce Herslet, Commanding Officer of Task Group 629.3’s Task Unit 1, explains that it was during those talks that the soldiers realised who she was. Nine off-duty soldiers then took it upon themselves to renovate her yard.

The soldiers ‘were humbled by the opportunity to contribute to a very deserving person,’ reveals Lieutenant Colonel Herslet.

They were thanked with a generous country lunch and by Mrs Ellis saying that her son would be very proud of them all. 

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