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Vunibobo: A man of many seasons

A TREASURED document amongst war and modern history aficionados is an old sepia programme entitled “Official Programme of the VICTORY CELEBRATIONS 8th June 1946,” commemorating victory in Europe Day in London. The parade headed by His Majesty and the Queen and the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret carried in the horse-drawn Sate Landau swept out of the Buckingham Palace gates down Marble Arch and through to The Mall where the saluting base was located. In the programme is a detailed listing of all military and civilian service arms participating in the World War II victory that would see Nazi Germany and the evil axis vanquished.

After the allied forces section is the listing of the British Empire forces and therein lies the pride of the Pacific. Under the section Fiji and the Western Pacific, the listing reads as follows:

• Fiji Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

• Fiji Infantry Regiment

• Fiji Medical Corps

• Tonga Defence Force

• British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defence Force

• Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony Defence Force

The tiny islands of the Pacific, putting their best foot forward and contributing to world peace, punching well above their fighting weight. Led by the distinguished and decorated Fijian Knight, soldier and statesman, Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, who also garnered respect and high regard during WW I, earning the Croix de Guerre from the French Republic as a member of the French Foreign Legion, the tiny Pacific contingent was able to hold its head high amongst the world’s super powers. Looking at old BBC Pathe footage of the Parade, our representatives acquitted themselves with honour and dignity and social capital we have long ago, fully expended. 

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