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Fijians in the 2PWRR

By Cpl. Rob Knight
First published in
SFOR Informer#108, March 7, 2001

Mrkonjic Grad. - There are 32 Fijian soldiers currently serving with the 2nd Battalion, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment. During the next six months another batch of approximately 20 are being taken through the training cycle and are expected to be joining the regiment soon after.
Slightly larger than Kuwait, the Republic of Fiji lies approximately 2,774 km north-east of Brisbane, Australia and forms the largest islands in the Pacific Melanesian group. The population of about 800,000 is broken down along ethnic lines of 49% Fijian, 46% Indian and 5% European, other Pacific Islands, and others Asian. Fiji gained independence from the UK in 1970, after having been a Crown Colony since 1874. Exports comprise mainly of sugar, clothing, gold, processed fish (tuna) and timber.
Pvt. Lemeki Tuisovivi stands at the main gate of the UKBG platoon location at Manjaca Ranges, staring with barely concealed horror at the snow falling gently around him. He has another hour of his two-hour guard duty before he can retire to the warmth of the Rubb Shelter for a hot drink. Though by European standards this winter in Bosnia has been comparatively mild so far, it is still a far cry from the annual average of 25oC in Fiji. Even with his cold weather gear, Lemeki is feeling a long way from the tropical sunshine of his native islands.
“We all joined for the experience and opportunities that the British Army offers, but this is an experience I could happily do without,” he laughed. He was also encouraged by the many sporting opportunities offered by a career in the British Army. “Everyone assumes that because of our size and speed that we're crazy about rugby, but personally, I prefer football!”
His colleague, Pvt. Josefa Beleveicau, agreed. “We like rugby a lot and we're looking forward to beating some more people,” he said. “We beat the Canadians and the local Bosnian team very easily, so we're hoping that we can arrange a game with the Bosnian National team, just to make things more interesting. We hear that there are French troops in Bosnia and Herzegovina also - we'd like to beat them too!”

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: UK