The New Zealand Army has honoured and remembered the life of Private David Stewart NZBM by dedicating his name to the 1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1 RNZIR) Theatrette at Linton Military Camp.
Private Stewart was killed during a blizzard on Mt Ruapehu in August, 1990. He was one of six military personnel who died during the alpine training exercise – the largest loss of life 1 RNZIR has suffered in any one event in the unit’s history.
“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,” said 1 RNZIR Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Logan Vaughan.
“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.”
Chief of Army Major General John Boswell was in attendance alongside whānau and dignitaries at the name dedication ceremony.
“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.”
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.