Sefanaia Sukanaivalu

Sefanaia Sukanaivalu

Sefanaia Sukanaivalu VC (1 January, 1918 - 23 June, 1944) was a Fijian soldier and a posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to Commonwealth forces. His home island was Yacata.

Sukanaivalu joined the Fiji Infantry Regiment during World War II. By mid-1944 he was a Corporal in the 3rd Battalion, which was taking part in the Bougainville campaign.

On June 23, 1944, at Mawaraka, Corporal Sukanaivalu crawled forward to rescue some badly wounded men. He brought two back successfully, but when he crawled back to rescue the third, he was shot in the thigh and groin and was unable to move the lower part of his body. Several of his soldiers attempted to rescue him, but this only resulted in more deaths. Knowing that his men would never retreat while he was still alive, Sukanaivalu raised himself up and was shot apart by Japanese bullets.

Sukanaivalu is buried at Bitapaka War Graves Commission Cemetery, Rabaul, New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Plans are currently being made to return his body to Fiji.

Sukanaivalu's medal is in private hands and is not exhibited.

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