Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Paul Martin Pardoel

Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

January 30, 2005

Age Rank Unit/Location
35 Flight Lt 47 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Died when a Royal Air Force C-130K Hercules transport aircraft crashed during a flight from Baghdad International Airport to Balad Air Base.

It is with great regret that the Ministry of Defence can confirm that Flight Lieutenant Paul Martin Pardoel, Royal Air Force, is missing believed killed following the loss of an RAF C-130K Hercules aircraft over Iraq on 30 January 2005. An Australian, aged 35 and married, he was a navigator with 47 Squadron at RAF Lyneham.

Paul ‘Pards’ ‘Paulie’ Pardoel was born in Melbourne, Australia on 15 June 1969 and spent his youth growing up in the Australian city of Ballarat. He joined the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra in 1988 and graduated three years later with a Bachelor of Science Degree. He completed Navigator training with the Royal Australian Air Force the following year and was posted to 36 Squadron flying Hercules aircraft in Richmond, outside Sydney. He served with distinction, flying operational aircraft around the world for seven years. In 1999 he moved to Sale in Victoria where he instructed at the School of Air Navigation, training future navigators for the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces. In this role Pards was renowned as an exceptional instructor for his ability to impart knowledge whilst maintaining a relaxed environment for his students.

After 14 enjoyable and rewarding years with the Royal Australian Air Force Pards was ready for a new challenge. He transferred to the Royal Air Force in 2002, and was posted to 47 Squadron, RAF Lyneham, again flying C-130 Hercules aircraft. He was a valuable member of the Squadron who served in all aspects of squadron operations, including active duty in both Afghanistan and Iraq. For these operations he was awarded Operational Service medals. Renowned amongst his friends and colleagues as an unflappable individual, Paul could never be fazed. He enjoyed the banter of being the only Australian in the Squadron, and remained a good sport, despite a Rugby World Cup final loss.

All of this was secondary to Paul’s first passion, his family. He met his wife and soul mate Kellie at an RAAF Summer Ball and they married in November 1995. Their first daughter Jordie was born two years later, and Jackson followed in 1999. Little India joined the family almost a year after moving to the UK. With their warmth and good humour, Paul and Kellie always settled easily into any new environment. RAF Lyneham was no exception, where the Pardoels lived in joy and happy chaos.

Paul’s love and dedication to his family was obvious to all who were fortunate enough to know them. He had the relaxed easy grace of someone who knew what was important in life, and what wasn’t worth worrying about. There is no doubt that Kellie and their children were the centre of his world. Between them, Paul and Kellie created a wonderful family. Pards' philosophy for life was reflected in his approach to fatherhood, where he was very much a ‘hands on’ and active Dad. His endless patience and gentle encouragement was a direct result of the pure joy he got from Jordie, Jackson and India.

He was a gentleman and a proud Australian. The impact of his sad and terrible loss has devastated a close and loving family. His loss has affected all who knew him. "We will always miss his smile."

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