Cross of Valour hero in Broome for Australia Day

Nicola KalmarBroome Advertiser
Cross of Valour recipient Timothy Britten will be the guest speaker at the Australia Day community breakfast in Broome.
Camera IconCross of Valour recipient Timothy Britten will be the guest speaker at the Australia Day community breakfast in Broome. Credit: WA News, Lincoln Baker/The West Australian.

A senior WA police officer awarded the Cross of Valour for risking his life to save a woman during the Bali bombings will be the guest speaker at this month’s Australia Day Broome celebrations.

Sergeant Tim Britten, who is the 2017 Australia Day Ambassador, is being hosted by the Shire of Broome and will make a special appearance at this year’s community breakfast at Town Beach on January 26.

Sgt Britten was bestowed Australia’s highest civilian bravery decoration when he put his life on the line in the immediate aftermath of the Bali bombings on October 12, 2002 by repeatedly entering the burning Sari Club to rescue a seriously injured woman and to search for survivors.

The WA policeman was on secondment to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in East Timor and was in Bali on leave at the time.

As he walked to his hotel, he heard an explosion that he recognised as a bomb blast. He immediately ran about 800 metres toward the Sari Club, through narrow streets blocked by hundreds of panicking people fleeing the site.

The club was reduced to a burning shell and large numbers of burned and seriously injured people were lying on the roadway and footpath.

After learning that a woman was trapped in the building, Sgt Britten ran into the burning club and managed to locate her, but was forced back by thick smoke and intense heat.

He returned to the street and sought help from a man called Ricahrd Joyes who was there searching for his friends.

Together, they ran back into the building to rescue the woman. On this attempt, Sgt Britten and Mr Joyes managed to reach the woman, who was still conscious but pinned down by rubble and a piece of iron.

He persisted in the rescue until the woman was prised free and could be pulled from the wreckage.

Constable Britten and Mr Joyes 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.

He was awarded the Cross of Valour for his heroic actions.

The Australia Day breakfast will be held from 8-10am in the park at Town Beach. Other highlights will include the 2017 Community Citizen of the Year Awards and an Australian citizenship ceremony.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails