14 Nov 2002

Fiji moves to repatriate WWII hero from PNG

5:40 pm on 14 November 2002

Fiji's ex-servicemen have welcomed plans by the Great Council of Chiefs to build a National War Memorial and brong home the body of its greatest war hero from Papua New Guinea.

Corporal Sefania Sukainavali was the only Fijian soldier ever to win the Victoria Cross - the highest award for bravery in the British military honours sytem.

He was given the award posthumously for gallantry in action in Bougainville during the Secind World War when he deliberately exposed himself to Japanese gunfire and died to stop his friends from attempting to save him.

Corporal Sukanaivalu has been buried at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery on the Papua New Guinea island of New Britain since then.

The National War Memorial will be built alongside the proposed new headquarters of the Great Council of Chiefs close to the current parliament house.

The chair of the council, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, says Corporal Sukanaivalu should have a special place at the War Memorial because of the fine example he set in serving his country.