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Kelly Francis Byrne

Photograph of Wing Commander Kelly Byrne in East Timor. Image from Air Force News, November 2008, Issue 98. Image subject to copyright restrictions.

Photograph of Wing Commander Kelly Byrne in East Timor. Image from Air Force News, November 2008, Is …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Kelly Francis AWMM
  • Surname
    Byrne AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    L30976 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    31 December 1950 AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • "A former Army gunner who became an RNZAF pilot, and is now in command of the 180-strong New Zealand contingent in Timor Leste, says his current role is a ‘great opportunity’.

    WGCDR Kelly Byrne is the Commanding Officer of the New Zealand forces working in Timor Leste as part of the International Stabilisation Force. This includes Task Groups Manu, Gyro, Kaihanga and Toa, which collectively form Operation Koru.

    TG Gyro is the company group of Kiwi soldiers, Kaihanga the five advisors to the Timorese Defence Force, and Toa the United Nations Mission in Timor Leste. Manu is the helicopter detachment.

    A one-time transport pilot with the RNZAF, WGCDR Byrne left the Air Force in 1993 and bought a Blenheim vineyard, which he operated for 11 years. He rejoined the RNZAF two years ago, and was based at RNZAF Woodbourne until he deployed to Timor Leste.

    He says while the mission is very ‘Army-centric’, having been an artillery officer in the New Zealand Army gives him an insight into how the Army operates.

    Timor Leste, he says, is ‘reasonably benign’.

    ‘Without the benefit of the ISF, I think it would be very easy for law and order to break down again here. Essentially, we are part of an over-arching force, so there is no incentive for vested interest groups to cause trouble. We’re here to help Timor Leste on its way to full democracy.’" From Air Force News, November 2008, Issue 98. AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    16 March 2019 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    Published in The Press, Nelson Mail and Marlborough Express March 21-22 2019.
    BYRNE, Kelly Francis: 31 December 1950 - 16 March 2019 Retired RNZAF Pilot, Wing Commander. It is with sadness that we advise friends and the community that Kelly Byrne passed away peacefully at the Golden Bay Community Health Centre, while surrounded by family, including all of his grandchildren. As per Kelly's wishes, there will be no formal funeral but there will be a party to celebrate Kelly's life later in the year. AWMM
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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