Tributes Paid to Kent Based Soldier

3 January 2011, 11:24 | Updated: 11 January 2011, 06:40

The family of a British soldier originally from Fiji who died in an explosion in southern Afghanistan paid tribute to him today saying he was ``a hugely loved man'

Private Joseva Saqanagonedau Vatubua, 24, of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, was killed on Saturday near the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province.

On 1 January 2011 he was part of a deliberate company operation to target known enemy firing positions to the North of the village of Saidabad Kalay. At 1715hrs an explosion occurred which is assessed to be the result of an improvised explosive devise placed in the wall of a compound, which tragically killed Private Vatubua.

In a statement released through the Ministry of Defence, his relatives said: ``As a family we can't put into words how proud we are of Joseva.

``He loved his job and he loved being in the family of The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

``Joseva was a keen rugby player and he was proud to play for the Army Sevens team.

``Joseva was also a member of the Battalion's Fijian Choir and he has sung in Canterbury Cathedral.

``Joseva is a hugely loved man who we will always miss but never forget.''


Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Harrison MBE, Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment Battlegroup, said:

"Pte Vatubua was a son of Suva, a Fijian legend, a proud, adopted Jock and a warrior of fearsome repute.

"His scale was colossal; he dominated the front row, dwarfed his machine gun and delivered fiery, martial passion in abundance. But for most of the time he was understated, calm and simply kind. Pte Joe Vatubua; the epitome of generosity, a loved and revered husband, father and friend.