O’DONNELL, Timothy Andrew
X1017058, Lieutenant, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment
New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration Lieutenant O’DONNELL, in the rank of Second Lieutenant, served as Platoon Commander in Timor Leste from November 2006 to May 2007, as part of the NZDF contribution to the Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF). His platoon was conducting a security patrol in April 2007 when it encountered a crowd of approximately 1000 Fretilin supporters returning from an election rally in Dili. The crowd, escorted by UN Police officers, halted on the outskirts of Manatuto, fearing attacks from opposition political supporters. While the platoon was endeavouring to secure a safe route, the UN Police began moving the Fretilin supporters across a bridge toward Manatuto. The crowd was then ambushed by some 600 opposition supporters throwing rocks and firing steel darts and arrows. Under the hail of projectiles, the Police escort was quickly overwhelmed and withdrew, leaving the Fretilin convoy stranded on the bridge. He made a quick decision to intervene in the melee, which meant that his platoon also came under attack. Eventually, his platoon managed to push back the attackers and secure a bypass route around Manatuto for the Fretilin convoy, which safely circumnavigated the town without loss of life or serious injury. Soon after ISF reinforcements arrived on the scene to assist in restoring law and order to the town. Without the decisive intervention of his platoon, it is likely that the situation could have deteriorated resulting in a number of fatalities between the rival political supporters.
New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration
New Zealand Operational Service Medal
New Zealand General Service Medal Timor Leste
New Zealand General Service Medal Afghanistan (Primary)
NATO ISAF Medal
Timor Leste Solidarity Medal
New Zealand Defence Service Medal
Killed in Action 4 August 2010, Bamyan Province, Afghanistan
The Defence Force has named the New Zealand soldier killed in an attack in Afghanistan overnight. He was Lieutenant Timothy O'Donnell from the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment. The 28-year-old soldier from Feilding died when his patrol in the north-east of the Bamiyan province came under a "complex" attack along a notorious stretch of road that borders the neighbouring and more violent province of Baglan.