Harry and Meghan Fiji visit: British armed forces veterans meet comrade

Akuila Uluiviti (left) with former comrade Derek Derenalagi at the National War Memorial. Picture: TALEBULA KATE

HAVING met a former comrade who is also a member of the British Royal family brought back a lot of wonderful memories and excitement for Akuila Uluiviti and Merewalesi Diogelagilagi.

The duo who are now veterans of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces were among those who met the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry during his official engagement at the National War Memorial at Veiuto in Suva yesterday.

Mr Uluiviti who hails from Nairai had served for 13 years before he came back last year to Fiji due to family reasons.

He said he had never met Prince Harry while serving in the army until yesterday.

“It brings back memories of being in the army and the military humour. So when we met, we shared a few jokes (laughing) and I’m sure everybody saw that. He had asked me what I’m doing now and I said unfortunately I’m a veteran now,” Mr Uluiviti said.

Mr Uluiviti who now works for Fiji Ports was then asked as to how old is he now to which he responded with his age (giggling) and Prince Harry’s response was Mr Uluiviti was still young and he was supposed to be still serving in the army.

Mr Uluiviti said the best moment while in the army was during operations abroad and going on leave.

Meanwhile Ms Diogelagilagi who served for eight years in the army before returning to run the  Royal Legion British Headquarters here in Fiji   said she had met Prince Harry a couple of times back in the UK.

The mother of one said it’s quite exciting and it’s like a normal day routine for her in meeting someone of Prince Harry’s calibre and stature.

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markel, the Duchess of Sussex will be in Nadi today, October 25 to conclude their official engagement here in Fiji with the unveiling of the late Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba statue at the Nadi International Airport.

Sergeant Labalaba who was recruited into the British Army in 1961 made the ultimate sacrifice whilst defending his comrades on July 19, 1972 in the Battle of Mirbat, Oman.

 

Merewalesi Diogelagilagi (middle) with former comrade Derek Derenalagi (right) and his wife Ana Derenalagi (left) at the National War Memorial. Picture: TALEBULA KATE

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