THE granddaughter of an Australian national, who had served in the Fiji Military Forces during World War Two, was presented a defence medal by the Fiji government yesterday as a token of appreciation.
Ex-sergeant Wesley Woodward had come to Fiji as a bank officer for the Bank of New South Wales in 1941 and was one of the many Europeans who had voluntarily joined the military force.
In remembering his four-year service with the now Republic of Fiji Military Forces, the Minister for Defence Joketani Cokanasiga presented the defence medal to ex-sgt Woodward's granddaughter Natalie Anderson.
Ex-sgt Woodward died in 2004 at the age of 84. His daughter, Kay Moore said it was her father's desire to see his Fiji defence medal passed on to his eldest grandchild.
Ex-sgt Woodward was attached to the 2nd battalion and was responsible for training the Fijians and the defence of the cable station and the flying boat base at Laucala Bay.
"Dad's initial service with the Fiji Military Force was mainly in a training role, the troops he commanded were all Fijians," said Ms Moore.
"This must have been interesting because most Fijians spoke little English at that time and dad spoke little Fijian."
Ms Moore said her father had three great loves throughout his life — family and community, sport and the Fijian people.
"The Fijian people always held a very special place in my father's heart, which is why there was a Fiji flag placed beside his coffin at his funeral service," she said.