Afghanistan – Private Bewes commences final journey home

The Australian soldier killed by an improvised explosive device on the 9th of July has been farewelled by his mates from the 1st Mentoring Task Force at Multi-National Base Tarin Kowt.

The moving service to honour the sacrifice of Private Nathan Bewes was attended by all available Australian personnel and large contingents of personnel representing the other nations from the base.

Commanding Officer 1st Mentoring Task Force Lieutenant Colonel Mark Jennings said Private Bewes was a soldier who displayed absolute courage and commitment to his job.

„Nate embodied all of what we seek in an Australian soldier,“ Lieutenant Colonel Jennings said.

„He had the moral courage to go out almost every day into harms way and the self discipline to continue doing so despite the dangers that he faced – this ethos is the mark of the Australian soldier.

„Nate was well known throughout the battalion and was highly regarded by all who knew him.“ Lieutenant Colonel Jennings also spoke of the impact on the family of Private Bewes.

„We cannot forget the grief of his loved ones who anxiously await his return and our thoughts and prayers are with them.“

Lieutenant Colonel Jennings said the Task Force must not let the sacrifice of Private Bewes be forgotten.

„Our grief at his loss is a mark of respect for a true mate who has never faltered in his endeavours and has laid down his life for a noble cause.

„We farewell him with the honour and the respect he deserves as an Australian Digger who has made the supreme sacrifice.

„We will continue this difficult but worthy mission with a sense of purpose born from sacrifice and we will not falter in our endeavours in the weeks and months ahead.

„We will never forget Nathan Bewes for the warrior that he was.“

Following the service, the Australian flag-draped casket of the fallen soldier was moved through an honour guard of Australian, Afghan and ISAF troops before being placed in an Australian C-130J Hercules to commence the final flight home.

The Hercules carried the casket of Private Bewes to the Australian headquarters in Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates where another honour guard waited to receive their fallen comrade.

Deputy Commander of Australian forces in the Middle East, Commodore Roger Boyce, RAN said the opportunity for all members of his force to take time to remember the sacrifice of Private Bewes was especially important.

„The death of an Australian serviceman on operations affects everyone – as a Defence family, it has been a tragic five weeks with the loss of six brave diggers.

„All of us will mourn his death, but our hearts especially go out to Nathan’s family and loved ones at home.

„Nathan made the ultimate sacrifice in service not only to his nation, but also to those with him during that fateful patrol, his mates.“

The body of Private Bewes will continue the journey home to Australia in the coming days.

Media Contact:
Defence Media Liaison: (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

Press release
Ministerial Support and Public Affairs,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, Australia