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Corporal Qasenivalu Receives Gallantry Medal From Queen

Corporal Saimone Qasenivalu and Staff Sergeant Stuart Griffiths received Gallantry Medals from Queen Elizabeth on Friday, October 25.
27 Oct 2019 15:30
Corporal Qasenivalu Receives Gallantry Medal From Queen
Fijian-born Corporal Saimone Qasenivalu of the British Armed Forces with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in London, England

A Fijian soldier serving under the British Armed Forces and his colleague have been recognised for their bravery.

Corporal Saimone Qasenivalu and Staff Sergeant Stuart Griffiths received Gallantry Medals from Queen Elizabeth on Friday, October 25.

The two soldiers jumped into a burning tank to rescue two colleagues after a blast which killed two others in a training area in Wales on June 2017.

Corporal Qasenivalu’s mother, Maria Qasenivalu, posted a thankful note about her son on Facebook.

“I am absolutely overwhelmed with pride for being mum to my first born. He continues to amaze me as he grows into greatness in leaps and bounds. More than 60 people received special awards from Her Majesty the Queen of England and he being the last one called and the only Kai Viti,” she posted.

“Her Majesty had to say to him ‘you from Fiji’ after he knelt and ‘obo’ (clap with cupped hands) after receiving his medal.”

The Times reported that Sergeant Griffiths and Corporal Qasenivalu disregarded smoke and flames to pull two unresponsive survivors from the vehicle after an explosion that killed two other soldiers.

Warrant Officer Stuart Lawson and Trooper Michael Warren were both injured, but survived.

Both Gallantry Medals recipients told BBC that they were honoured to receive the distinction from the Queen.

However, they would prefer their colleagues and friends to be with them.

Corporal Qasenivalu said: “There’s a lot of things to say about this but I think it’s all very personal.

“I think for both of us, we would rather have our mates here than this medal.”

The Queen’s Gallantry Medal is awarded for exemplary acts of bravery by civilians, and by members of the Armed Forces “not in the face of the enemy” above the level required for the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery.

Corporal Qasenivalu is a member of the oldest tank unit in the world, which today is known as the armored regiment of the British Army.

Fijian-born Corporal Saimone Qasenivalu of the British Armed Forces with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in London, England

Fijian-born Corporal Saimone Qasenivalu of the British Armed Forces with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in London, England

Edited by Percy Kean

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