Former RFMF commander laid to rest

Fifteen gun salute to the former Army Commander Col Paul Manueli at the Lovonilase Old Cemertry yesterday.Picture:ATU RASEA

VICTORIA Pde in Suva was a sea of red and white at midday yesterday as soldiers, senior officers and sailors of the Fiji Navy, Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) and the Fiji Police Force marched through the city to escort the late Colonel Paul Manueli’s body for his final journey to his resting place.

The late Col. Manueli was the first indigenous Commander of the RFMF.

He passed away last Saturday following a short illness.

While delivering his eulogy on behalf of the RFMF during the funeral service at the Churchward Chapel in Rewa St, Suva yesterday, Brigadier Apakuki Kurusiga said Col. Manueli’s achievements were forever etched in the history books of the RFMF.

“During his tenure as Commander, Honorary Col. Paul Manueli was the chief architect of the Naval Squadron now known as the Republic of Fiji Naval Service (FNS), Engineer Squadron which now evolve into the RFMF Engineers regiment,” Brig. Kurusiga said.

“He later went on to hold numerous portfolios in government, including Minister for Home Affairs, Finance Minister and Minister for Justice in the Fijian Parliamentary Cabinet.”

Col. Manueli’s son, Peter, said his father had a very strong moral code and a very clear sense of what was right and what was proper. “As a young man I was always reminded of this code with a little encouragement,” he said.

“There were many firsts in his life and many stories that he shared with us. He was the first Rotuman to be inducted head boy in QVS, first Fijian to graduate from the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst and the first local Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and the first local to manage a regional oil company and many more.”

The late Col. Manueli is survived by his wife Lydia, his son Peter, his two grandchildren and four greatgrandchildren.

He was laid to rest at Suva’s Lovonilase Cemetery.

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