42294 Pte Petersen BJ
                    Bryan James PETERSEN
                    18 March 1947 – 14 September 1968
                    Killed in Action
                    Burried in the Eketahuna Cemetary







During Operation HAWKESBURY in Long Khan Province on 14 September 1968.

As the result of intelligence indicating a likely consignment of rockets being moved from east to west,
W Company was unexpectedly uplifted by helicopter and moved north into the Don Dien de

Courtenay rubber plantation early on the 14th.  Soon after dispersing from the Landing Zone a
platoon had a clash with an unknown sized group of enemy deployed along a stream bed.  Pte BJ
Petersen of the platoon was killed by a sniper  in a concealed hole in the ground during a search of
the area. Later that day there was another clash with two enemy and another with three the

following day.

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Bryan was the eldest of 4 children, born in Eketahuna to Jim & Vera (nee Churchill from Kakahi). His
schooling was at Eketahuna Primary, then when Tararua College opened in Pahiatua, was one of the
founding students at the new college. After leaving school he completed a butchers apprenticeship
with the local butcher in Eketahuna. Then at the age of 18 he was called up for national service, he
happily went off to Waiouru to do his bit for his country, as his father had done in the Second World
War and his great uncles in the First World War. (Obviously joined the regular force back then) I just
recently re-read all of the letters my mother kept. These were letters Bryan had written to my mother
& father, describing his adventures, starting with his time on his basic in Waiouru, then at Burnham &
on to his Vietnam experiences. I can state very clearly Bryan loved the army, he had found his career.
After the 68 stint in Vietnam he had every intention of
re-enlisting and if he could, probably would
have gone over there again. My memory of my big brother are those of a very caring and thoughtful
person, who looked out for his little sister (me), who always thought of others before himself, who
was very well liked in the community of both Eketahuna and Nireaha, which is where we as a family
were living while Bryan was in Vietnam. Before he left for Vietnam there was a big dance at the local
hall in Nireaha, the whole community came to wish him luck and a safe return. As he was due to

return home in the November of 68, plans were already underway for another big dance, again for
everyone in the area, to celebrate his safe return. When we were awaken in the dead of the night in
the September of 1968, by the local constable and the Chairman of the local RSA to tell my parents
the contents of a telegram which had arrived......that was the day my mother’s world changed

forever. To bring my brother home, the family had to fund the cost, as the government at the time
(Holyoake administration) refused. The community of both Eketahuna and Nireaha came to our
assistance by way of donating their own hard earned money to my father. Once the money was

paid, my brother was brought home and buried in the Eketahuna RSA section. Bryan was survived
by two younger brothers, one served in the Territorials, the other in the Navy, a younger sister, who
also served in the army and his mother & father. All of these people except myself have now

passed on with three also resting in the Eketahuna RSA section along with Bryan.

The man may have gone, but he is never forgotten.


                                                ( Written by Linda Haddon, sister of Pte BJ Petersen)