Remembering Blackhawk Disaster

Today, June 12, marks the 16th anniversary of the Blackhawk disaster in Townsville’s High Range Training Area that killed 18 Australian soldiers, 15 from SASR and three from the 5th Avn Regiment. This incident was the worst air disaster in the Special Air Service Regiments’s history. Accidentally killed in an aircraft crash (S70A Blackhawk); 12 June 1996 1 Squadron (Special Air Service Regiment) (Members of the Royal Australian Corps of Infantry) Captain Timothy J. STEVENS Sergeant Hugh W. ELLIS Corporal Michael BIRD Corporal Andrew CONSTANTINIDIS Corporal Darren R. OLDHAM Corporal Brett S. TOMBS Lance Corporal Gordon A. CALLOW Lance Corporal Glen O. HAGAN Lance Corporal David J. JOHNSTONE Trooper Jonathon G. CHURCH Trooper David FROST Trooper Timothy J. McDONALD 152 Signal Squadron (Special Air Service Regiment) (Members of the Royal Australian Corps of Signals) Corporal Mihran “Avi” AVEDISSIAN Corporal Darren J. SMITH Signalman Hendrik “Rick” PEETERS 5th Aviation Regiment Capt KJ Hales Capt JB Berrigan Cpl MC Baker Townsville Bulletin remembers The Hon Ian McLachlan AO MP, then Minister for Defence released this statement on the investigation into the crash in the House in March, 1997. Lest We Forget.


  • all good blokes. i was serving in sasr and 152 sig sqn. remember them. not enough said about these blokes. 
    a great loss.

    • Agreed all great men. Frosty and gordon were in my platoon in b coy 2/4 before they did selection. i have good memories of the antics and the fun we got up to. especially when we went to butterworth. Never be forgotten.

      • Hi I’m frosty brother he died when I way young n don’t know much about him love to here more .

        • Frosty was my mate in 2/4 RAR. He attended my wedding in NZ…can share many stories about Frosty if you like.

          • Hi bill this is frosty a brother I would love to hear more about him as I was only 6 when he died I still remember little bits of him but just love to hear what he was like on a day to day lol I miss him sooo much it still hurts my heart

  • I remember this happening but never read into the details. I went through Kapooka with Captain Tim Stevens. He enlisted as a private,i recall bumping into him again at Enoggera, when he had started his officer training.

    Captain in the SAS, he was living his dream. Dont think I have ever met a nicer guy. Still remember going to Sydney and meeting his sister and mum, all his family were just nice, you could see where he got it from.

    Will have to sit for a bit and try to process this,he didnt make 30.

    • Caitlyn Cleary (nee Stevens)

      Hi Paul – I am Caitlyn (Tim Stevens’ sister).
      I agree, Tim was living his dream.
      Sorely missed, still 20 years on.
      I hope life’s been kind to you.
      (I’m sure I’d remember meeting you if I looked back through old pics.)
      Best wishes,

  • 20 yrs coming up what is happening here in Perth and Qld

    Mick W

  • Paul, he had a great time as Troop Cmdr of Land troop

    • Caitlyn Cleary (nee Stevens)

      Hi Mick,
      I attended 20 year anniversary in Townsville and heard lovely stories about Tim, including CA Angus Campbell who recalled Tim’s enthusiasm.
      I have since joined Airbus Helicopters in a temporary role which started on what would have been Tim’s 50th birthday – and Tony Fraser (CO 5th Avn at the time of the crash) is the MD.
      I like to think that these coincidences suggest Tim’s somehow to still around.
      I hope life’s been kind to you.
      Caitlyn (Tim’s sister)

  • I was at LBMC when this tragedy occurred. I will never forget the night nor the weeks that followed. I have a young family now, but feel compelled to pay my respects this year more than most at the Townsville memorial garden. I hope everyone is hanging in there – it certainly impacted my life, and I played such a minor role in the aftermath, thoughts are with you all and the families involved. For those that are able to make the pilgrimage I’ll see you there. I’d love any details of functions times and locations if anyone knows them.

  • Hi,

    My name is Marion Smyth and I am a PhD Candidate at Edith Cowan University. I am undertaking research on the lived experiences of those individuals affected by the 1996 Townsville Blackhawk accident. I am seeking permission to post the invitation to participate in the study. I am hoping the study will inform the SAS Resources Fund on the provision of contemporary support as articulated by the affected individuals.

    thank you

    • Caitlyn Cleary (nee Stevens)

      Hi Marion,
      I am a family member of one of the men lost that night.
      If I can be of assistance please let me know.
      However, it sounds as if your study is directed more towards serving SASR members.


      How did you get on Marion? My partner is an ex SAS soldier who was on the ground when they crashed. It is a night that haunts him and affects him deeply to this day.

  • Dear Caitlyn,

    Thank you for your email. It was good to hear from you and I am appreciative of
    your generosity in assisting with my study. The study is not directed toward SASR members but rather to those
    family, friends , extended family and mates who were affected by the Black Hawk accident.

    I am sure you will be able to assist. Your story is very important as it the stories of those who like you
    have suffered that provide understanding on how to best provide support.

    I have posted the link below directs you to the online survey. If there is anything I can help you with
    please send an email to me at or phone 0416 477 076.

    kind regards


    • Jennifer Johnstone

      Hi Marion,
      My name is Jennifer and my brother David ( Bill ) was killed in this crash. Im curious about the results of your survey. That night deeply affected my family, repercussions still ripple to this day.
      Kind regards,

  • My brother Steven Frerk Was in the S.A.S we the family have been looking after him for along time as he has P.S.D he lives in Traralgon Vic I looked after him for about 10 Years had to clean, wash his clothes etc.
    We had as a family fight to get him on a full Army pension etc though the Traralgon R.S.L with help from the manager
    We had to put him in the metal part of the Hospital to get help we tired to get him down to Melbourne to a place were ex Soldiers go who have problems but he thinks there is nothing wrong and won’t go metal health are watching him in Traralgon but I think they are not doing a very good job I think the metal health service should be able to take him and others to the right place for on going treatment before it’s to late.

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