WATCH: Tribute to modern 'Anzac warrior’ Nathan Bewes
PRIVATE Nathan John Bewes has been remembered by his commanding officer Brigadier Paul McLachlan as a modern-day Anzac warrior.
The 23-year-old's life was cut tragically short on July 9, 2010, by an improvised explosive device in the Baluchi Valley, Oruzgan province, Afghanistan.
As a result, Pte Bewes became the 17th Australian fatality of Operation Slipper, the Afghanistan campaign that would claim 41 Australian Defence Force lives (Late last year a 42nd soldier was officially recognised as an Afghanistan casualty - Sapper David Wood, who took his own life following his service as a result of PTSD).
A special Anzac Day commemoration service for Pte Bewes was held on Friday at RSL LifeCare's Bayside @ Byron retirement village, which has named its communal lounge in his honour and erected a memorial display.
Corporal Robert Murphy spoke about going through basic training and deployment with Pte Bewes and thanked RSL LifeCare for helping to share the memory of his best mate with the community.
"Nathan taught me the meaning of mateship," he said.
"We joined the army together, we went through basic training together, deployed several times together and even got evicted from our first rental property together.
"Throughout this time our brotherhood only became stronger and his sacrifice has made him my hero.
"Heroes don't wear capes, or a mask, they wear camouflage uniform and boots.
"Nathan had a tattoo on his arm saying 'watch over me'.
"I know he's currently doing this with me and his family and I thank everyone here today because I know he's watching over you too."
Pte Bewes' father, Gary Bewes, said he thought the tribute would have meant "the world" to his son.
"He wouldn't expect it, but he'd love it," he said. "We're very honoured.
"I always knew he was going to join from the days in cadets and he more or less marked time from school until he could get into the armed forces."
Pte Bewes had always wanted to follow in the footsteps of his grandfathers - Cliff Gill, who served with the Australian Army in New Guinea in the Second World War, and Jack Bewes, who served with bomber command in the Royal Australian Air Force in England.
Nathan joined the army cadets at 13, and in 2005 enlisted in the Australian Army and was posted to 6th Battalion in Brisbane after completing basic training.
He was qualified in direct fire support weapons (DFSW), combat first aid and as a driver of the protected mobility vehicle.
His father said Anzac Day had always held a lot of significance for his family.
"We've always gone to Anzac Day.
"When he was in the cadets he was marching, and when he went in the army, he had Anzac Day in Brisbane and we'd go up there," he said.
"It's always been a special day."
Private Bewes was awarded the Australian Active Service Medal with clasp International Coalition Against Terrorism (ICAT), Australian Service Medal with clasp Timor Leste, the Australian Defence Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO medal with clasp ISAF and the East Timor Solidarity Medal. He was also awarded the Infantry Combat Badge and, for previous deployments, the Returned Active Service Badge.