Family mourns loss of soldier
PRIVATE Nathan Bewes would send the same text message to his family and friends each time he was deployed to a war zone.
“Remember it’s goodbye for now, not for ever.”
It is a sentiment his family are holding on to at their home in Murwillumbah as they deal with his loss. Private Bewes was killed on duty in Afghanistan last Friday.
Parents Gary and Kay, his sister Stephanie, partner Alice Walsh, and cousins Samuel and David Preston have been remembering a 23-year-old they described as a patriotic, lovable larrikin.
Stephanie said he was the best brother anyone couldever have and Alice described him as the most amazing person she had met.
“I’ll never stop loving my Bewesy,” Ms Walsh said.
“Nathan will be forever remembered by his family and friends, and we know he will always watch over us.”
Nathan was 100 per cent his father’s son and they will all miss him terribly.
“It is going to take a long time to come to terms with and is something that we won’t get over and will never forget. It is a part of you that is gone,” Mrs Bewes said on Sunday.
But tempering their grief is the knowledge that Nathan was born to join the army.
Kay’s father, Cliff Gill, served on the Kokoda Track in World War II and Gary’s father, Jack Bewes, flew Lancaster bombers in Britain in the same war.
Nathan, a Mt Saint Patrick College student, joined Murwillumbah’s 225 Army Cadet Unit at the age of 13 and rose to the rank of company commander.
When his cousin Samuel joined the 5/7 RAR and served in East Timor the family knew there was no stopping Nathan.
Gary said his son was a born leader and loved the comradeship of the armed forces. He thrived on the lifestyle, the adventure and the mateship.
“He was very proud of the job he did, and we were very proud of the job he did as well,” Mrs Bewes said.
Nathan joined the army at 18 and was part of 6RAR, based at Enoggera in Brisbane.
He was on his third tour of duty after first serving in East Timor in 2006, then in Afghanistan in 2008 and again this year. He had been awarded six service medals.
“For him that was what he was joining the army for, to serve Australia, change the world and to help other people,” Mrs Bewes said.
“It was always in the back of your mind (what could happen), but he was going off to do what he wanted to do.”
Stephanie said: “At least we can be in peace knowing Pa and Pop will be there to take Nathan’s hand and help him be at peace.”
Nathan was passionate about the beach and enjoyed bodysurfing and scuba diving. He was born at Kogarah and, like his dad, loved the St George rugby league team.
He started an NRL tipping competition among the troops in Afghanistan, and is still leading it now.
His cousin David Preston is also joining the infantry and had always planned to join Nathan overseas, and is now more determined than ever to get over there.