Tim Britten

tim-brittenTim Britten CV was born in Western Australia April 1969 and attended Duncraig primary and High schools. He worked several years in shearing teams before joining the West Australian Police force in 1994. He is currently a Sergeant with the West Australian Police.

He has been a Police Officer for over 22 years and has worked in a large variety of locations including a six-month deployment to East Timor as part of the Australian Federal Police peace keeping mission and ten years with the Tactical Response Group.

Prior to joining the WA Police, Sergeant Britten served as an infantry solider in the 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment from 1988 to 1991 followed by a further 6 years with the Army Reserves 11/28 Battalion in West Australia.

At approximately 11.30pm on 12 October 2002, following a terrorist bombing in Bali, Constable Timothy Britten placed his life in danger by repeatedly entering the burning Sari Club to rescue a seriously injured woman and to search for survivors.

Sergeant Britten, who was on secondment to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in East Timor, was in Bali on leave. As he walked to his hotel, he heard an explosion that he recognised as a bomb blast. He immediately ran approximately 800 metres toward the Sari Club, through narrow streets blocked by hundreds of panicking people fleeing the site. The Sari Club was reduced to a burning shell and large numbers of burned and seriously injured people were lying on the roadway and footpath.

On being told that a woman was trapped in the building, Sergeant Britten ran into the burning Club and made his way through the debris as gas cylinders exploded all around him. He managed to locate the severely injured woman, but was forced back by the intense heat and flames. He returned to the street and sought help from a man who was there searching for his friends. Sergeant Britten, wearing only a light singlet top, shorts and thongs, ran back into the burning building with the other person to try to rescue the woman but, having no protective clothing, was forced back by the intensity of the flames. Outside the Club, they were doused in bottled water and together ran back into the building to rescue the woman. On this attempt, they managed to reach the woman, who was still conscious but pinned down by rubble and a piece of iron. Throughout this time and later in searching the building for other survivors, Sergeant Britten was aware that he was in danger of being severely injured at least and possibly, of losing his life, as he believed that another explosion had been planned by the terrorists to disrupt rescue efforts and kill emergency workers. Despite this constant fear and severe burns to his arm, Sergeant Britten persisted in the rescue until the woman was free and could be pulled from the wreckage. The men carried her out of the Club and placed her on a truck to be taken to hospital. They then both went back into the burning building to look for more survivors, but could see only dead bodies. Although Sergeant Britten wanted to continue entering the building to retrieve the bodies of victims, he was prevented by the growing intensity of the fire and further gas explosions.

Over the next hour, Sergeant Britten and the other person carried the badly wounded from the street outside the club to waiting trucks. At one stage, they were stopped at gunpoint by an Indonesian police officer. It was only when Sergeant Britten produced his police identification that the two men were allowed to continue their rescue efforts. Sergeant Britten remained at the site helping Indonesian police and security guards, and only when he felt assured that emergency workers had the Sari Club site secured did he return to his hotel.

On that night, Sergeant Britten selflessly placed himself in constant danger sustaining severe burns to his arm, requiring skin grafts; deep cuts and abrasions to his feet from explosion debris; potential injury from gas cylinder explosions; and exposure to deadly infection from blood-borne diseases.

By his actions, Sergeant Britten displayed the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril.

Sergeant Britten was awarded the Cross of Valour on 17 October 2003 for these actions. This award is Australia’s highest civilian bravery decoration. Sergeant Britten is one of only 5 Australians to receive this award since 1975.

Sergeant Britten is also the holder of the Police Overseas Service medal with East Timor clasp, the National Medal, the Australian Defence Medal, the Western Australian Police Bravery Cross, the Western Australian Police Service Medal, the United Nations Medal for the United Nations Mission of Support to East Timor and was one of ten Australians to be awarded the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Sergeant Britten is a Vice Patron of the Australian Bravery Association and Ambassador for Solider On. He is also a Daniel Morcombe Foundation Day for Daniel Ambassador and Australia Day Ambassador.

In June 2016 Sergeant Britten was made a board member of the ANZAC Day Trust in Western Australia.

In October 2016 Sergeant Britten was honoured as a Great Australian at the Great Australian’s Gala Dinner in Melbourne.

Sergeant Britten is currently Australia’s highest decorated serving Police Officer.

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