A young Foxton man killed in Vietnam more than 50 years ago will never be forgotten.

The Stuart Ellwood Room at Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom was officially opened last week in honour of his sacrifice.

The third in a family of seven children brought up in Foxton, Stuart Ellwood was just 20 when he was killed in Vietnam on Waitangi Day in 1968 during the Tet Offensive.

Ellwood's family have always worked to keep his memory alive. His younger sister Ngaire Newland said she had always felt it was important that her brother's sacrifice was acknowledged.

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"Stuart fought for us so if we can fight for his memory it's the least we can do," she said.

The family of Stuart Ellwood, pictured, of Foxton, who died in action in the Vietnam War on February 6, 1968 are gathering at the Stuart Ellwood Room in the Foxton War Memorial Hall this Sunday, close
The family of Stuart Ellwood, pictured, of Foxton, who died in action in the Vietnam War on February 6, 1968 are gathering at the Stuart Ellwood Room in the Foxton War Memorial Hall this Sunday, close

His body was flown back to Foxton where he was given a full military burial.

"That meant a lot for Mum and Dad," she said.

Ellwood had a memorial at the Foxton Memorial Hall, but the future of the hall was in doubt as it was tagged for disposal by Horowhenua District Council due to the cost of earthquake strengthening work.

Newland had lobbied to have her brother remembered at Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, and was relieved to have a permanent tribute given the hall's uncertain future.

"We are really happy because we have been a bit concerned about what might happen if they sell the Memorial Hall," she said.

"It's great for his memory."

There was also a memorial at his old school Manawatū College.

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"Despite the fact he was in the army he was a very gentle guy with a very gentle nature....laid back...he would have been loved by his nieces and nephews."

"He smoked like a chimney, but a lot of people did back then."

Newland said it was important that the memory of Shannon soldier Peter Rauhihi from the neighbouring town 15km away, was also never forgotten.

Rauhihi was killed in Vietnam in 1969.