Family and friends farewell naval pioneer

The casket of Fiji Naval Volunteer Reserve Force officer Samisoni Tamanikalou after the church service at Naivicula Village in Wainibuka, Tailevu yesterday. Picture ATU RASEA

The casket of Fiji Naval Volunteer Reserve Force officer Samisoni Tamanikalou after the church service at Naivicula Village in Wainibuka, Tailevu yesterday. Picture ATU RASEA

ONE of the first naval officers of the Fiji Naval Volunteer Reserve Force, Samisoni Tamanikalou, 83, was laid to rest in Naivicula, Tailevu yesterday.

Mr Tamanikalou was enlisted into the reserve force on July 14 1955 and served alongside the Turaga na Ratu mai Verata Ratu Iferemi Gavoka and Ratu Inoke Bainimarama — the father of Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

More than 50 people gathered at the church in Naivicula to pay their last respects to Mr Tamanikalou, who was a FN 1145 ex-ordinary seamen and served on the naval ship MS Viti in 1955.

In a stirring eulogy, comrade and retired naval officer Pio Seduadua said Mr Tamanikalou always rose to every challenge while serving in the Fiji Navy.

“Samisoni was a dedicated man of service and it’s our duty to thank him most sincerely for all the work that he had done,” Mr Seduadua said.

Also speaking at the church service, village headman and Mr Tamanikalou’s nephew, Simione Vasuca, said his uncle had successfully charted his course in life unto the end.

“With reference to the Holy Bible, we all know that he has completed his course in life and had successfully won his battle,” he said.

Secretary of Northland’s Ex-servicemen’s Association Ilatia Savai thanked Mr Tamanikalou’s family on behalf of all former servicemen for his service to the Fiji Navy.