Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Fijian soldier remembered

From Peceli
Yesterday was Anzac Day and I watched one of the marches to remember fallen soldiers. In Melbourne there is an eternal flame at the Shrine of Remembrance and this is a symbol not to forget them.

I was thinking of my older brother Laisiasa Masidugu who died in the battlefield in the Solomon in 1944. I only discovered by using the internet that my brother Laisaisa is listed in the Rabaul War Cemetery in Papua New Guinea.

Rabaul War Cemetery
Roll of Honour
The Roll is in alphabetical order

MASI, Pata (Private), PN3526. A.C.M.F. 3 New Guinea Bn. 1. B. Australian Infantry. 28th June 1946. W.
MASIDUGU, Private, LAISIASA, 1336. 1st Bn. Fiji Infantry 13. A. Regt. Fiji Military Forces. 29th March 1944. Age 22. V.

I was about seven when the District Officer and a Fijian came to our house to tell my father that Laisiasa had died. The story was that there was a valley and three young soldiers kept on fighting while the others in his platoon of the First Battalian were told to retreat. Later on someone came to our house to give us his belt and water bottle. There were bullet holes in the belt. A few years ago I saw an honour scroll in my cousin’s house in Naseakula and it was a tribute to Laisiasa and I have it now.

Some Fijian soldiers have been particularly noticed such as Sefanaia Sukunaivalu from Yacata who was awarded the Victoria Cross. But of course there are many others who were courageous and died during a war. The Sukunaivalu Barracks of the Fiji Army in Labasa are named after Sefanaia.


Anonymous said...

Your brother died a hero! God bless his soul.

Pandabonium said...

Thanks for sharing this. 22 years old - it is hard to imagine, yet so many soldiers are younger. Your brother died so that others may live. May he ever rest in peace.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

The Fiji military were highly respected as courageous soldiers. Unfortunately in the current situation in Fiji, that respect seems to have been lost to something quite different. Barking out orders and expecting instant obedience doesn't quite work in a modern world!