The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (8513334) Lance Corporal Todd John Chidgey, 2 Commando Regiment, Afghanistan.

Accession Number AWM2019.1.1.125
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 5 May 2019
Access Open
Conflict Afghanistan, 2001-2021
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (8513334) Lance Corporal Todd John Chidgey, 2 Commando Regiment, Afghanistan.

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Speech transcript

8513334 Lance Corporal Todd John Chidgey, 2 Commando Regiment
Gunshot wounds 1 July 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Lance Corporal Todd John Chidgey who died in Afghanistan in 2014.

Todd Chidgey was born on 5 May 1985 and was the second of three sons to Kerrie Baker of Gosford, New South Wales.

Growing up, Todd was loyal and close to his brothers, Paul and Adam, and to his wide circle of friends. He enjoyed most sports and he played cricket in the 1994/95 season and won the best fieldsman trophy for the year. He also began playing soccer for Gosford City and this became his sport of choice. Todd went on to play soccer for The Lakers Football Club, and over his sporting journey won numerous personal and team accolades. He maintained a passion for soccer off the field and was an avid fan of the Manchester United Football Club. He would often take it personally when his beloved team lost.

Todd was also passionate about rugby league and barracked for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. At every opportunity, he would attend games in Sydney with both family and friends.

He attended Point Clare Primary School where he received a Citizenship Award by the Probus Club of Gosford West for his community work. His sense of community continued to grow as he did in life; at the age of 15, he started sponsoring a child in a third world country.

Todd went on to attend Henry Kendall High School, and as soon as he was able to work, found part-time employment at his local supermarket.

After high school, Todd was accepted into the Australian Institute of Music where he achieved a Diploma of Music.

For reasons known only to him, Todd enlisted into the Australian Regular Army in 2006, applying for and being accepted into the Special Forces Direct Recruiting Scheme. Todd passed the gruelling selection and training program and went on became a member of the 4th Battalion (Commando), The Royal Australian Regiment (which in 2009 was renamed the 2nd Commando Regiment).

Known to his Army mates as “Chidge”, Todd fitted seamlessly into regimental life and quickly earned a reputation as a reliable soldier with an outstanding team ethic. One of his friends described Todd as a quiet achiever who knew his role within his platoon. Todd also had a great sense of humour and was always laughing.

When Todd joined 4RAR, the battalion was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan as part of Operation Slipper. Training was intense. Although Todd had initially been posted to one of the battalion’s mortar platoons, he went on to train in a reconnaissance and scouting role.

He deployed to Afghanistan for the first time in June 2008 with Special Operations Task Group – Seven. The tempo of operations for Australian Special Forces during this time was constant. The commandos sought to close with and engage the Taliban insurgents in Uruzgan and neighbouring provinces while other coalition efforts could focus on building peace and stability in support of the democratically-elected Afghan government. Todd returned home in November that year, and continued to hone his skills as a soldier by completing a host of training and courses. In February 2010, he returned to Afghanistan with the Special Operations Task Group as a mortarman.

It was during his third tour to Afghanistan in July 2012 that Chidgey really stood out. By then, he had completed courses that qualified him as a sniper and Joint Terminal Attack Controller. The latter was essential for Australian Special Forces teams, and gave them the ability to call in close air support from coalition jets and gunships whenever the situation called for it. Chidgey stood out for his professionalism and drive during this deployment. During one operation targeting a high-value Taliban insurgent, Chidgey, acting as a JTAC, called off an inbound airstrike due to the presence of civilians in the area. His actions that day undoubtedly saved many lives.

On another deployment, Todd’s mortar section was involved in a gun-battle with insurgents. Not only did he keep his mortar tubes in action, but he also managed to provide fire support to another patrol which had become involved in a small arms engagement with the Taliban.

After his return to Australia, Todd met Karla and the couple began a relationship. When Todd left for his sixth deployment to Afghanistan in May 2014, Karla was pregnant.

On this deployment, Todd was posted to the Australian Defence Force Headquarters in Kabul as part of a Protective Security Detachment for a senior Australian Army officer. At around 2 pm on 1 July 2014, Todd was found in a room of one of the ADF Headquarters buildings with a gunshot wound to the head. He was rushed to a nearby medical facility where he underwent surgery, but died later that day surrounded by his comrades. He was 29 years old.

Todd was farewelled by his mates at an emotional ramp ceremony. One of his friends gave a eulogy in which he said that Todd was “more than a mate, you were and are a brother”.

Todd Chidgey’s body was returned to Australia and he was laid to rest with full military honours in the Palmdale Lawn Cemetery and Memorial Park at Palmdale, New South Wales on 14 July 2014.

Those who served with Todd in the 2nd Commando Regiment described him as “a brilliant bloke to know and work with, who was loyal to the core and would do anything for his mates”. He was a “consummate professional and a dedicated soldier. Lance Corporal Chidgey was one of the hardest-working members of the regiment who never sought recognition or reward.”

Todd is remembered by his family as “the consummate gentleman – a son and a brother who was well mannered, loyal and always there for his family”. Time has not diminished their sadness, but their pride in his service and sacrifice continue to conquer the loss they feel without him. Todd Chidgey’s memory lives on through his son, Fox, who never got the chance to meet his father.

Todd Chidgey’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with 43 other Australians who died in or as a consequence of the war in Afghanistan. His is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Lance Corporal Todd Chidgey, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Michael Kelly

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