Chairman’s Report: July Update

Chairman’s Report: July Update

Welcome to the Commando Welfare Trust’s (CWT) Chairman’s report. Moving forward, the CWT will be sharing this report with our community every month.

The primary mission of the CWT is to provide emergency and long-term financial assistance to Special Forces soldiers, veterans, and their families when the existing systems cannot.

To better serve our mission, we have recently revamped our website and will begin to expand our community through an increased public presence.

Please help us spread the word by sharing this email with others who are passionate about supporting our Special Forces soldiers and their families. Together, we can build a network of Australians committed to making a difference.

Annual Commando Welfare Trust Charity Ball - 80th Anniversary of Operation Jaywick

The event will commemorate the 80th anniversary of Operation Jaywick, which was carried out by the above-pictured 14 operatives from SOA / Services Reconnaissance Department.

Tickets are now available for the Annual Commando Welfare Trust Charity Ball, which will commemorate the 80th Anniversary of Operation Jaywick.

Operation Jaywick is significant to Australian military history because it is one of the country’s greatest and earliest Special Forces missions, which laid the foundation for today’s Special Operations Command.

All the funds raised will go directly to providing emergency and long-term financial support to Special Forces soldiers, veterans and family members where the system cannot.


  • Date: Friday, 8th September 2023.
  • Time: 6:30pm – 11:30pm AEST.
  • Where: Ripples Waterside at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney.
  • Address: 2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour, Sydney NSW 2000.
  • Ticket price: $145.
  • Theme: Black Tie with miniatures.
  • Limited tickets: An estimated 500 are available.
  • How to attend: Click here to buy tickets.
  • MC: Australian comedian, Merrick Watts.

Supporting An Australian Special Forces Veteran Who Suffered a Tragic Accident

Australian Special Forces veteran, Taraidh Colquhoun, had a mountain bike accident in late May 2023 and suffered severe injuries, which required surgery to restore a break in his spine C6-7.

Taraidh is now out of his induced coma and is breathing on his own once again. There is some movement in his arms, but it appears that he may not regain the use of his legs.

Taraidh is now moving to the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre in Melbourne, where he will undergo further treatment for an estimated 4 to 6 months. During this time, he and his family will face various challenges as they navigate this next chapter in their lives. The extent of his eventual recovery is still uncertain.

The Commando Welfare Trust has been actively supporting Taraidh and his family, making visits to Melbourne to offer assistance. We will continue to provide them with the ongoing support they need during this long journey.

Introducing Our New Trust Executive Officer

Major Paul Dunbavin farewelling his children before heading to Iraq in 2019.

We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Major Paul Dunbavin OAM (retired) as the Executive Officer of the Commando Welfare Trust.

With over 35 years of distinguished military service, Major Dunbavin brings a wealth of experience to his new role. He began his journey with the Australian Regular Army in 1987 and recently concluded his long-standing service in 2023.

In 2019, Paul was commissioned as a Major and posted to the Australian School of Special Operations as the SO2 Human Performance Optimisation and Family Force Veterans. He has completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Organisational Leadership along with the Summit Course at the Joint Special Operations University in Tampa, Florida.

Paul’s extensive background means he has a deep understanding of the challenges Special Forces members, veterans and their families face.

Over the past several years, Paul has actively contributed to the Commando Welfare Trust, enabling him to immediately make a significant impact in fulfilling our mission of supporting the Special Forces community.

We believe Paul’s passion for the Special Forces community will be a vital asset to our organisation. We look forward to working with him to enhance our capabilities and further our mission.

We also wish to express our gratitude to Major Steve Pilmore OAM RFD (Retired), our outgoing Trust Executive Officer. He has been instrumental in advancing the Commando Welfare Trust and providing unwavering support to Special Forces, soldiers, veterans, and their families.

He will remain with the Commando Welfare Trust in a supporting role as well as being an Ambassador for the CWT.

If you require support or would like to be involved in the Commando Welfare Trust, please contact Paul at or +61 477 308 443.

Commandos Commemorate Corporal Cameron Baird VC

The service and sacrifice of Corporal Cameron Baird, VC, MG, was commemorated on 22nd June by soldiers from 2nd Commando Regiment (2 Cdo Regt), his family and friends at a service marking ten years since his death.

During the memorial service, Corporal Baird’s parents unveiled a plaque naming the unit’s conference centre in honour of their son.

After the ceremony, the Corporal Cameron Baird VC MG Cup was held, which saw 2 Cdo Regt soldiers line up against the officers in a game of AFL.

Remembering Sergeant Todd Matthew Langley

We commemorated the memory of Sergeant Todd Matthew Langley, who lost his life on 4th July 2011 in Afghanistan while serving with the Special Operations Task Group during deliberate operations against a Taliban Safe Haven.

Sergeant Todd Langley was characterised by his dedication, extensive knowledge, and unwavering passion as a warrior.

He was not one to seek the spotlight. Instead, he allowed his actions to speak for themselves. His professionalism and inspiring leadership were contagious among his peers. SGT Langley is survived by his beloved wife, three daughters, a son, loving parents, and a brother.

Remembering the loss of remember Scott Palmer, Benjamin Chuck, and Timothy Aplin

From left to right: Private Scott Palmer, Private Benjamin Chuck, and Private Timothy Aplin.

Australian Army personnel from the 2nd Commando Regiment and across Special Operations Command paused to remember the loss of Private Scott Palmer, Private Benjamin Chuck, and Private Timothy Aplin, who were killed following a helicopter crash in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan on 21st June 2010.

Several other Commandos from 2 Cdo Regt were wounded in the accident, and, today, they continue to deal with the crash’s consequences, both physically and mentally. Our thoughts and support are always with these soldiers, their family and friends.

Remembering Lance Corporal Todd John Chidgey

We remembered Lance Corporal Todd John Chidgey, who died in a non-combat-related incident in Afghanistan on 1st July 2014 and is survived by his mother and father, brothers and partner.

Lance Corporal Todd Chidgey was serving with a Protective Security Detachment, which provided protection for a senior Australian officer at Headquarters International Security Assistance Force Joint Command.

Lance Corporal Chidgey’s colleagues in the 2nd Commando Regiment have described him as a brilliant bloke to know and work with, who was loyal to the core and would do anything for his mates.

A consummate professional and a dedicated soldier, Todd was one of the hardest working members of the Regiment, who never sought recognition or reward.

Talisman Sabre 2023

Australian Army Special Operations Command soldiers have joined the personnel from the United States Special Operations Command for the start of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2023 (TS23).

TS23 is the largest bilateral training activity between Australia and the US, testing interoperability between the two militaries and demonstrating the strength, viability and endurance of Australia’s alliance with the US.

Continuing to support the Special Forces community

The Commando Welfare Trust is dedicated to providing ongoing support to the 42 families currently on our beneficiary list. Our goal is to ensure that no one is left without assistance during their time of need.

One of our primary focuses is financing the education of 28 children. We believe that every child from a Special Forces family deserves access to a quality education, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Our support has expanded to individuals who are struggling and need a variety of services not provided by the system or other veteran agencies. This also includes support in transition and education through Wandering Warriors, which we co-fund as necessary. The Command Welfare Trust relies on our network to assist us in identifying those that may need our support, so if in doubt, just ask.

As we strive to increase our public presence and expand our network, we aim to enhance our ability to support the Australian Special Forces community even further.

If you require support or would like to contribute to the Commando Welfare Trust, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We welcome any assistance you can offer in our mission to provide essential support to those who have dedicated their lives to serving our country.

Yours Sincerely,

Mark Smethurst DSC, AM,


The Commando Welfare Trust