Feature

Fiji50: Ratu Peni Recalls Moment Of Freedom

Ratu Peni Volavola had completed basic recruitment training by the then Royal Fiji Military Forces in 1970.
01 Oct 2020 09:31
Fiji50: Ratu Peni Recalls Moment Of Freedom
The Union Jack being lowered. Photo: National Archives of Fiji

One of the last military officers commissioned under British rule recalled his first parade on that memorable day 50 years ago.

Ratu Peni Volavola had completed basic recruitment training by the then Royal Fiji Military Forces in 1970.

The following year, was the turning point in his career after he and other personnel were summoned to undergo the Officers Cadet Training at the Officers Mess.

And on October 10, 1970, he and his comrades would be part of the military parade marking the historic Independence Day.

“It began as an emotional and solemn ceremony when the Union Jack was lowered for the last time, a chapter in the history books of our country had closed and a new chapter had begun,” the former Suva Lord Mayor said.

Ratu Peni Volavola.

Ratu Peni Volavola.

It was a solemn occasion marking a new era in the world’s history.

“The ground was jam packed, there were cheers of joy but the ceremony was also a touching one,” he said.

“We finally realised that after years of being under British rule and being cared for and disciplined by the Britons, we would finally gain our freedom,” he said.

“I remember rehearsing so many times preparing for the much anticipated Independence parade.

“It was something we were proud of back then, especially with young girls giving us the stare,” he said.

The group of officers including Mr Volavola were commissioned by the Governor-General of Fiji Sir Robert Foster.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj


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