Corporal David O'Neil

1975-2007 died in a car accident

Defence media release

13/04/2007 MSPA 95/07 


Media Note:

The Department of Defence is releasing this statement on behalf of Ms Sara Cole, fiancée of Corporal David O’Neill. Three Australian Special Forces soldiers were tragically killed in a car accident on Monday, 9 April 2007.

Ms Cole has requested her privacy be respected and that she will not be conducting any media interviews at this time. Mr Simon Legg (cousin of CPL O’Neill) prepared the following statement on behalf of Ms Cole.

Corporal David O’Neill was born in Geelong on 25th October 1975. Together with his brother and sister he spent his school years in Eltham on the outskirts of Melbourne. In 1993, during his final year of secondary school, Dave enlisted in the Army Reserve and served with the 1st Commando Regiment.

David completed two tours of duty in East Timor, two in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. During his time in East Timor he encouraged his family and friends back home in Australia to send toys, balls and writing and reading materials which he and several of his army colleagues would distribute to villages in their off-duty hours.

David and his fiancée, Sara, lived in Scarborough with their dog Rama. David and Sara had planned to marry in the Cook Islands in November this year. His love for his fiancée is unquestionable and he was looking forward to their married life together.

He travelled extensively, as his job required, but always gravitated back to his family and loved ones. His professionalism, loyalty and courage suited him well for his role with the military and he understood the dangers of his job.

David was a dedicated man to his family friends and his job. He was a jovial character whose zest for life was infectious to all who met him.

He was a selfless, loyal, all endearing and humorous person, who gave 100% to everyone around him. His commitment to his job, his country, his family, his mates and comrades was undivided. He loved them all.

In his short time, David achieved more than many achieve in a life time. He lived life to the fullest and his contagious smile filled our hearts with endless joy.

12 April 2007


Corporal David Graham O’Neill enlisted into the Australian Army Reserve on the 28th of March 1993 and served with the 1st Commando Regiment. After two years with the Army Reserve, David joined the Australian Regular Army on the 9th of May 1995. After completing his Recruit Training at Kapooka, he commenced his Initial Employment Training at The School of Infantry, Singleton NSW on the 31st of July that year. At the completion of his Initial Employment Training, David was posted to the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment.

David had a flair for Infantry training and in 1996, completed a Reconnaissance Course which is the most demanding of all Infantry Battalion specialist courses.

It was obvious that David wanted to be challenged as a soldier so in 1997, David successfully completed the Special Air Service Selection Course. Over the next two years, David completed another 15 specialist courses ranging from patrolling, demolitions, tactical driving, parachuting, communications and language. David was posted to the 2nd Special Air Service Squadron.

During his service in the Australian Defence Force, David was awarded the Australian Active Service Medal with the East Timor Clasp, Return from Active Service Badge, The Infantry Combat Badge, United Nations Medal with the United Nations Transitional Authority East Timor Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the International Coalition Against Terrorism Clasp to the Australian Active Service Medal and the Australian Defence Medal.

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A Hero's Legacy by Francis Edwards

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