Soldier killed by bomb remembered
A LIFELONG passion came to a tragic end on Friday when Murwillumbah-raised soldier Private Nathan Bewes was killed on duty in Afghanistan.
The 23-year-old died when a roadside bomb exploded while he was on patrol in the Chora Valley region of the Uruzgan Province late on Friday night, Australian time.
Parents Gary and Kaye Bewes, and sister Stephanie, gathered at the family home in Murwillumbah this weekend to remember their loving son and caring brother.
“The army was his lifelong passion. It was all he wanted to do,” the family said in a statement.
“When he was on leave from Afghanistan in June all he could talk about was getting back to the deployment and his mates.”
Private Bewes, a former Mt Saint Patrick College student, was serving in the 1st Mentoring Task Force. He was from the Brisbane-based 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment.
Private Bewes was inspired to join the army by his family’s history of military and community service.
He joined the Murwillumbah-based 225 Army Cadet Unit with friends from school when he was 13 before joining the army in 2005.
“He was a loyal friend and always cared for his mates,” the family said.
“He just loved to look after people.”
Private Bewes is the 17th soldier to be killed in Afghanistan since 2001, and the sixth in just over a month.
It was his second deployment to Afghanistan. He had also been deployed to East Timor in 2006.
Private Bewes’ partner, Alice Walsh, said she had lost her soul mate.
“Nate was the one I knew I would be with for the rest of my life,” Ms Walsh said.
“He was an amazing mate to our many friends and was loved by everyone.
“He always made me laugh and I have never loved anyone so much.
“He was an excellent soldier who was willing to put his life in danger, along with his mates from Team 3, for the people of Australia.
“I will miss my Bewesy for the rest of my life.”
The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said the loss would be deeply felt by Private Bewes’ unit, the Australian army, and the Australian Defence Force.
“To this soldier’s family, I offer my heartfelt sympathies and promise the full support of the Australian Defence Force in the hard days and weeks ahead,” he said.
Another soldier from the same patrol as Private Bewes suffered minor wounds as a result of the blast.
The body of Private Bewes is expected back in Australia in the coming days.