NEWS

RFMF Celebrates Infantry Day

The Republic of Fiji Military Forces will be celebrating Infantry Day today. RFMF Commander Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga will be officiating. “A special commemoration will also take place to remember the
23 Jun 2015 12:01
RFMF Celebrates Infantry Day
From left Chief of Staff Landforce Lt-Col Alipate Vosaicake and RFMF Commander Mosese Tikoitoga during the Infantry Day celebrations at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua. Photo: Jona Konataci

The Republic of Fiji Military Forces will be celebrating Infantry Day today.

RFMF Commander Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga will be officiating.

“A special commemoration will also take place to remember the only Fijian who received the Victoria Cross after giving his life for the sake of his fellow soldiers on Mawaraka, Bougainville, Solomon Islands during World War II,” Landforce Commander Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho said.

He said Corporal Sefanaia Sukanaivalu of the 3rd Battalion, Fijian Infantry Regiment, died on this day, June 23, 1944.

A Victoria Cross citation from London tells of the final chapter of his life.

“Citation: On June 23rd, 1944, at Mawaraka, Bougainville, in the Solomon Islands, Corporal Sefanaia Sukanaivalu crawled forward to rescue some men who had been wounded when their platoon was ambushed and some of the leading elements had become casualties.

“After two wounded men had been successfully recovered this N.C.O., who was in command of the rear section, volunteered to go on farther alone to try and rescue another one, in spite of machine gun and mortar fire, but on the way back he himself was seriously wounded in the groin and thighs and fell to the ground, unable to move any farther.

“Several attempts were then made to rescue Corporal Sukanaivalu but without success owing to heavy fire being encountered on each occasion and further casualties caused.

“This gallant N.C.O. then called to his men not to try and get to him as he was in a very exposed position, but they replied that they would never leave him to fall alive into the hands of the enemy.

“Realising that his men would not withdraw as long as they could see that he was still alive and knowing that they were themselves all in danger of being killed or captured as long as they remained where they were, Corporal Sukanaivalu, well aware of the consequences, raised himself up in front of the Japanese machine gun and was riddled with bullets.

“This brave Fiji soldier, after rescuing two wounded men with the greatest heroism and being gravely wounded himself, deliberately sacrificed his own life because he knew that it was the only way in which the remainder of his platoon could be induced to retire from a situation in which they must have been annihilated had they not withdrawn.”

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

 


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