Sefanaia Sukanaivalu


Sefanaia Sukanaivalu Famous memorial

Death 23 Jun 1944 (aged 26)
Bougainville (North Solomons), Papua New Guinea
Burial Kokopo, Kokopo District, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea
Plot Plot: V. B. 13
Memorial ID 8170681 View Source

World War II Victoria Cross Recipient. He received the award posthumously on November 2, 1944 for his actions as a corporal in the 3rd Battalion of the Fiji Infantry Regiment on June 23, 1944 during the first phase of the Bougainville Campaign in the Northern Solomon Islands of the South Pacific. Born in Yacata, Fiji, he joined the Fiji Infantry Regiment after the outbreak of World War II. He was killed in combat at the age of 26 while rescuing some wounded soldiers during a Japanese attack on his platoon. His Victoria Cross citation reads: "The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous award of the VICTORIA CROSS to:-No. 4469 Corporal Sefanaia Sukanaivalu, Fiji Military Forces. On 23rd June 1944, at Mawaraka, Bougainville, in the Solomon Islands, Corporal Sefanaia Sukanaivalu crawled forward to rescue some men who had been wounded when their platoon was ambushed and some of the leading elements had become casualties. After two wounded men had been successfully recovered this N.C.O., who was in command of the rear section, volunteered to go on farther alone to try and rescue another one, in spite of machine gun and mortar fire, but on the way back he himself was seriously wounded in the groin and thighs and fell to the ground, unable to move any farther. Several attempts were then made to rescue Corporal Sukanaivalu but without success owing to heavy fire being encountered on each occasion and further casualties caused. This gallant N.C.O. then called to his men not to try and get to him as he was in a very exposed position, but they replied that they would never leave him to fall alive into the hands of the enemy. Realising that his men would not withdraw as long as they could see that he was still alive and knowing that they were themselves all in danger of being killed or captured as long as they remained where they were, Corporal Sukanaivalu, well aware of the consequences, raised himself up in front of the Japanese machine gun and was riddled with bullets. This brave Fiji soldier, after rescuing two wounded men with the greatest heroism and being gravely wounded himself, deliberately sacrificed his own life because he knew that it was the only way in which the remainder of his platoon could be induced to retire from a situation in which they must have been annihilated had they not withdrawn." He is the only Fijian to have ever been awarded the Victoria Cross.
Service No: 4469
Age: 26
Regiment/Service: Fiji Infantry Regiment, 3 Bn.
Honors: V C

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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