Ratu Tiale Vuiyasawa

Private Ratu Tiale Bau Mara Vuiyasawa

Ratu Tiale Bau Mara Vuiyasawa enlisted in Auckland and was attached to the 4th Maori Reinforcements which sailed for Egypt in May 1916. From a chiefly family in Fiji, he had studied in Sydney. Ratu Tiale served in Egypt and France with the Pioneer Battalion before being transferred to the Rarotongan Company in Palestine in early 1918. He served there until the war ended and was returned to Fiji in early 1919.

Ratu Tiale’s older brother, Ratu Josefa Lalabalavu Vana’ali’ali Sukuna, also served throughout the war but was unable to join either the British or the New Zealand forces. An old boy of Wanganui Collegiate, Ratu Josefa was studying at the University of Oxford in 1914. Rejected by the British authorities, he joined the French Foreign Legion and won a Croix de Guerre. Ratu Josefa was wounded in late 1915 and returned to Fiji.

Ratu Josefa then tried unsuccessfully to enlist in the New Zealand Pioneer Battalion. Instead he returned to France in 1917 with the Fiji Labour Corps, serving until late 1918. Ratu Josefa went on to become a major political figure and is remembered as the father of Fijian independence.

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Philip Powell

Posted: 11 Feb 2014

Vuiyasawa attended Wesley College, Melbourne for his secondary schooling from 1911 to 1915. I can provide documentary evidence regarding this if your require. I am currently researching the service of Wesley students in WW1 and came across this article in my searches. Regards