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Prince Harry And Meghan In Fiji: Renewed Calls To Award Late Sgt Labalaba Victoria Cross

Renewed calls have been made to award the late Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba, the Victoria Cross on the eve of the unveiling of his statue by the Duke of Sussex, Prince
25 Oct 2018 11:14
Prince Harry And Meghan In Fiji: Renewed Calls To Award Late  Sgt Labalaba Victoria Cross
Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba(left), Sekonaia Takavesi Wakalo (right) Photo credit: Daniel Ligairi Badham

Renewed calls have been made to award the late Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba, the Victoria Cross on the eve of the unveiling of his statue by the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry.

“More than anybody else he deserves the Victoria Cross,” said Howard Thomas.

The message left by Prince Harry at the National War Memorial site at Nasese, SUVA . Photo: Ronald Kumar.

The message left by Prince Harry at the National War Memorial site at Nasese, SUVA . Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Mr Thomas is the brother-in-law of one of the pilots who fought in the Battle of Mirbat, Oman.

He lives at Pacific Harbour, Deuba, and is the owner of H & M Property Sales, a real estate company.

The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, lays a wreath at the National War Memorial site at Nasese, Suva, on October 24, 2018. Photo: DEPTFO News

The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, lays a wreath at the National War Memorial site at Nasese, Suva, on October 24, 2018. Photo: DEPTFO News

“Sean Creak who was one of the pilots was my brother-in-law, he died about six months ago,” said Mr Thomas who is also a military veteran having served in Saudia Arabia in the late 1960s.

The Victoria Cross is the highest and most prestigious British award in recognition of ‘gallantry in the presence of enemy’.

Mr Thomas is also a military veteran having served in Saudia Arabia in the late 1960’s.

Howard Thomas

Howard Thomas

The Special Air Service (SAS) nine-member squad, two of them Fijians, including Mr Labalaba, was attacked by about 400 men from the Popular Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arabian Gulf (PFLOAG).

Sekonaia Takavesi Wakolo 75, who fought alongside Sgt. Talaiasi Labalaba, on October 24, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Sekonaia Takavesi Wakolo 75, who fought alongside Sgt. Talaiasi Labalaba. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Sekonaia Takavesi Wakalo, 75 years, who is lives in the United Kingdom has returned to witness the unveiling of Mr Labalaba’s statue.

Recounting the memories of 19th July 1972, Mr Wakalo said the images of the battle still haunted him to this day.

“We were surrounded by enemies, less than five meters away and they were throwing grenades at us,” he said.

Sergeant Labalaba ran to the fort where he was fighting on his own using the 25 pounder which normally takes about 6 men to mend.”

“After about an hour and half, we heard that Sergeant Labalaba had gotten hurt.  He died in battle. It was probably the saddest day for me.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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