Private David Stewart's bravery honoured at ceremony dedicating his name to military building

By Kelvin McDonald
Kathy Stewart, mother of Private David Stewart, with Chief of Army Major General John Boswell at Linton Military Camp.  Photo / Supplied

Private David Stewart NZBM has been honoured at a ceremony at Linton Military Camp in Palmerston North today. 

He lost his life through the selfless act of looking after others during a blizzard on Mt Ruapehu in August 1990.

Source / File

Private Stewart was one of six military personnel who died during the alpine training exercise - the largest loss of life the 1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1 RNZIR) has suffered in any one event in the unit’s history.

At today's ceremony, the New Zealand Army dedicated Private Stewart's name to the 1 RNZIR Theatrette at Linton Military Camp. 

“David’s selfless actions embodies all the best traits we want in our people. The theatrette was chosen to honour him because it is our learning hub for our junior soldiers,” 1 RNZIR Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Logan Vaughan said in an NZDF statement Saturday.

“They will walk into the David Stewart NZBM Theatrette to carry out their training and will read about his bravery. That will help them understand the values of the soldiers in the 1st Battalion and the culture they are now a part of.”

Photo / Supplied

Whānau including Private Stewart's mother, Kathy Stewart, were in attendance, alongside dignitaries and Chief of Army Major General John Boswell.

“What we are doing here is recognising the courage of a brave and selfless young soldier who lost his own life caring for his comrades in appalling conditions. This serves as an enduring reminder to Private Stewart’s bravery on the mountain all those years ago,” said Major General Boswell.

At the conclusion of the dedication service, the Last Post was played, poppies were laid and volleys fired.  

The five others who perished on Mt Ruapehu were Privates Brett Barker, Stuart McAlpine, Mark Madigan, Jason Menhennet and Able Rating Jeffrey Boult. All were honoured during proceedings, the NZDF said.

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