It is with deep regret the Australian Defence Force announces the death of Sapper James Thomas Martin on operations in Afghanistan on 29 August 2012 (local time Afghanistan).
Sapper James Thomas Martin was on his first operational deployment as part of the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment Task Group. He was a Sapper from the Brisbane-based 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment.
He is survived by his mother Suzanne Thomas, his younger brother and sister Angus and Holly, and his grandparents Lucille and Ralph Thomas.
Sapper Martin was born in Perth, Western Australia on 1 June 1991. He enlisted into the Australian Regular Army on 24 January 2011 and completed recruit training at the 1st Recruit Training Battalion in Wagga Wagga in April 2011, where he was allocated to the Corps of Royal Australian Engineers.
In May 2011, Sapper Martin attended the School of Military Engineering in Sydney and began his Initial Employment Training as a Combat Engineer. On completion of his Combat Engineer course in August 2011, he was posted to the 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment in Brisbane.
On his arrival at the 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment, Sapper Martin became a member of the 7th Combat Engineer Squadron. He completed a number of additional courses including Combat Engineer High Threat Search, Communications and Weapon courses. Along with the rest of his Squadron, Sapper Martin Force Concentrated in Townsville with the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment in early 2012, in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan.
Sapper Martin was an intellectual soldier who was a quick learner and adapted well to the Army environment. He was respected by his mates and was considered a loyal friend and comrade. A musically talented individual, he often played his base guitar for his mates. He was also an avid follower of Aussie Rules.
Sapper Martin has been awarded the following honours and awards:
During Sapper Martin’s service in the Australian Army, he deployed on the following operations:
Defence releases the following statement on behalf of the family of Sapper James Martin.
James was a very loving son, brother and grandson, who even as he matured remained very affectionate to those he loved. He was a fantastic big brother and role model to Angus, whom he took to from birth and spent much time together with as they were growing up. He had a witty sense of humour and a great sense of fun.
James took pleasure in playing the guitar, he liked to read books regularly and was also an avid gamer. He enjoyed playing cricket growing up and liked to watch a game of AFL with friends or family.
He was very thoughtful, caring and considerate of others. This really showed when selecting gifts for family members on special occasions. James always seemed to be able to choose something perfect, even if it was something totally unexpected by the recipient at the time. The family's bookshelves are peppered with books gifted by James; and Holly's iPod filled with music selected by him.
James was a great communicator and he used every opportunity to transfer new skills and facts on to his family and friends. He never shied away from an intellectual discussion and when opinions were in conflict, he ended up being right most of the time. But he made you like him in the process.
Once James had made his decision to enlist in the Army as a Combat Engineer, he remained very determined and focused on this goal. He researched his new job and the training required meticulously, raising his level of fitness whilst waiting to attend basic training. In his first letter home from Kapooka, when some of his section mates were homesick and discussing pulling out of the training, James wrote to his family, saying "I would not give up this opportunity for anything" and that "I will be an Australian Soldier".
James was a wonderful person and he will be sorely missed by his family and anyone who knew him.
We would like to thank everyone who has and will provide support to our family during this difficult time. We will not be making any further comment and request the media respect our wish for privacy.