Fijian War heroes were today honored for their service to the country during the First World War at the National War Memorial Site in Veiuto.
The Acting Minister for Defence, National Security and Immigration, Hon Jone Usamate said today?s commemorative service is for the Second Fiji Contingent, the Second and Third Fiji Reinforcements, the Third Fiji Contingent and for the women of Fiji who served in the First World War.
?The Second Fiji Contingent of 61 men left Fiji on 16th July, 1915 and arrived in Liverpool, England on 19th August. Most of the men like their predecessors enlisted at Stratford for the First Battalion of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC). The battalion fought in the battle of the Somme in 1916 and in the battle of the Scarpe and the battle of Cambrai in 1917,? Mr Usamate said.
The acting Minister for Defence said that the Second Fiji Reinforcement of twenty men left Fiji on 13th July, 1917 arriving in England on 10th August where they enlisted in the 1st Battalion KRRC and the Third Fiji Reinforcement of 28 men left Fiji on 4th July, 1918 and were listed in the KRRC in August.
?The Third Fiji Contingent left Fiji on 5th August and arrived in Auckland on 14thAugust where they underwent training. They had completed their training and were ready for embarkation to Egypt when the Armistice was declared. The Third Reinforcement and the Third Contingent did not see active service but are included in this Commemorative Service.?
Family representative of the 1st Fiji Contingent, Sallyarn Harness felt honored to be included in the commemorative service.
?I am here representing my Dad?s uncle; George Harness who went to the First World War. When he returned and as part of Government?s initiative, he was given farming land in Tailevu, Wainibuka which we still own. ?We are the fifth generation and the last surviving family of the First Battalion,? Harness said.