Update - Vehicle incident at Townsville Field Training Area
1 September 2021
It is with deep sadness that the Australian Army confirms the identities of the two soldiers who died in a training incident near Townsville on Monday, 30 Aug 2021.
Warrant Officer Class Two Ryan Leslie, and Craftsman Brendon Payne died after their vehicle rolled over on a public road in the vicinity of the Townsville Field Training Area.
Defence is releasing the following information on behalf of the families.
Warrant Officer Class Two Leslie had served for 22 years and two months, was a member of the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, and had posted to 2/14 Light Horse Regiment (2/14 LHR) at Enoggera Barracks in January 2021. He was 40 years old and leaves behind his loving wife Tara and daughter Montana; loving parents Robyn and Kerry, his best friend and loving brother Dean and extended family who loved him dearly. Ryan was a proud member of the Australian Army and leaves behind many friends and colleagues who will honour his memory with love and respect.
Warrant Officer Class Two Leslie had deployed to East Timor and the Solomon Islands, this was his second posting to 2/14 LHR.
Friends in his unit describe him as ‘one of the most loved members of the Army, a true leader and consummate professional who cared deeply for the soldiers both at 2/14 and at 7 Combat Service Support Battalion. A larger than life character, Ryan’s endless energy, smile and wonderful sense of humour made him the heart of the workshop. His positive influence will be irreplaceable’.
Craftsman Brendon Payne joined the Army in March 2020, and had served for one year and five months, and was also a member of the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Craftsman Payne had posted to 2/14 Light Horse Regiment (2/14 LHR) at Enoggera Barracks in June 2021, on his first posting after training. He was 29 years old, married and leaves behind his wife Aimee, his parents Mark and Julie and siblings.
Friends in his unit describe him as ‘the strongest bloke we’ve ever worked with, a man who would never fault and never crack. His cheeky smirk would come out all the time, and when it came out you had to smile back. He gave all to his work, and would do anything to help his mates. He was a man who gave so much, and we will miss him forever’.
The family of both members request privacy during this very difficult time.
Imagery of Warrant Officer Leslie and Craftsman Payne is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20212665