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New Zealand Battalion Farewells Irish Comrade

Commanding Officer of NZ Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Lofty Hayward salutes Private Peadar Flaherty

A funeral service was held at the New Zealand Battalion headquarters in Suai yesterday afternoon to farewell Private Peadar Flaherty, an Irish soldier serving with the Battalion in East Timor.

Private Flaherty died on Monday after receiving an accidental gunshot wound to the head while on patrol near Taroman, north of Suai.

Private Flaherty’s coffin, carried by NZ soldiers, was welcomed onto the camp where members of the NZ Battalion and the Irish contingent were gathered.

The poignant service, conducted by Chaplain Wayne Toleafoa, RNZN, included prayers and a reading by one of Private Flaherty’s platoon members.

Members of the Irish contingent sit beside Private Flaherty's coffin during the service

The Commanding Officer of the NZ Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Lofty Hayward, addressed the large gathering speaking of how genuinely respected Private Flaherty was amongst his fellow soldiers. Describing him as quiet and dependable, he emphasised how Peadar would be greatly missed by his friends and fellow soldiers, and his family in Ireland.

The atmosphere was sombre and still as the Last Post was played by a bugler and flags were flown at half mast.

Private Flaherty, accompanied by a section of Irish soldiers, a section of NZ soldiers and the NZ Commanding Officer, was then flown to Dili by RNZAF Iroquois helicopter where he was to be met by the Irish Senior National Officer before returning home to Ireland.

Karen Hill
Flying Officer
Public Relations Officer
Media Support Unit
New Zealand Forces in East Timor

17 April 2002

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