BRITISH High Commissioner Roderick Drummond has acknowledged the long relationship between the district of Nakelo and the UK.
On his visit to the Tailevu district last weekend, Mr Drummond said the historical connection between Nakelo and the UK dated back 99 years when the HMS Encounter docked on its shores and was assisted by the village in 1915.
"HMS Repulse also visited the village some years later, in 1924, and handed over a Union Jack flag as a thank you to the village for helping its sister ship Encounter," Mr Drummond said.
"I believe that someone in the village was named Jone Union Jack after this visit."
He said the largest group of Fijian soldiers serving in the British Forces were from the 13 villages in the district of Nakelo, many more serving before then.
This, he added, was one of the reasons why the Ministry of Defence UK responded to their request for the renovation of their church.
"That's what you do among friends and family whenever you can. The military family will always look after its own.
"And when Major Jim Hall and Colonel Ghika of the British Army Welfare knew you had a need, they did everything they could to respond because we are friends, almost family."
Mr Drummond also acknowledged the late Tui Nakelo, Major Manasa Talakuli, who was a loyal and exceptional British Army soldier for 31 years.
And also three young sons of Nakelo who recently paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of the Crown — Corporal Rogoiruwai, Kingsman Tagitaginimoce and Guardsman Tuisovurua.