Friends and fam­ily gather to re­mem­ber fallen sol­dier

The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE - MIRI SCHROETER

Be­fore Stu­art Ell­wood fought in Viet­nam, he was a laid-back 20-year-old who liked play­ing pool with his friends and tak­ing his mo­tor­bike for a spin in Fox­ton.

His fam­ily re­call Ell­wood find­ing an empty bath­tub with his friends on the beach. They sailed out in the tide, with one keep­ing the plug­hole closed, one with an oar and the other bail­ing wa­ter.

His sis­ter Ngaire New­land said her fun-lov­ing brother planned to be back in New Zealand in time for his 21st birth­day. But, on Fe­bru­ary 6, 1968, Ell­wood was killed in Viet­nam.

He was one of 37 Ki­wis who died in the long-run­ning war.

On Tues­day, dozens gath­ered at the Fox­ton ceme­tery to re­mem­ber a brother, com­rade and friend.

‘‘It is dif­fi­cult to be­lieve that 50 years have passed since the day our fam­ily learned Stu­art had been killed and we would never see him or hear his voice ever again,’’ New­land said.

The fam­ily had sev­eral gath­er­ings to re­mem­ber Ell­wood, but Tues­day’s was the last or­gan­ised one, she said.

Mem­bers of the New Zealand De­fence Force, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Horowhenua Dis­trict Coun­cil, the Re­turned and Ser­vices’ As­so­ci­a­tion and the po­lice came to honour the fallen sol­dier.

New­land said she was grate­ful for the sup­port her fam­ily re­ceived over the years and for those who at­tended the cer- emony brother.

‘‘He was my big brother and I adored him.’’

Ell­wood sib­lings.

He was a laid-back man with a great sense of hu­mour, and was loyal to his fam­ily and friends, New­land said.

In 1966, he joined the army and he planned on join­ing the po­lice upon his re­turn from Viet­nam.

‘‘We were ab­so­lutely shat­tered when the Fox­ton Po­lice came to our door in Cook St and told our fa­ther that Stu­art had been killed that day,’’ New­land said.

Lieu­tenant Tony How­ell, who fought along­side Ell­wood in the Vic­tor 2 Com­pany, said Ell­wood was an ex­pe­ri­enced gun­ner who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Ell­wood and com­rade Barry Toohill stopped on the way to Saigon, now called Ho Chi Minh City. They were am­bushed by the North­ern Viet­namese and Ell­wood suf­fered a fa­tal wound to the chest. to re­mem­ber left be­hind her six

Stu­art Ell­wood in Viet­nam.

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