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Church fellowship to mourn fallen friend at repatriation ceremony
9:50am Thursday 10th May 2012 in News
FIJIANS from Bicester will sing traditional hymns to bid farewell to their compatriot at today’s repatriation of two servicemen.
Private Ratu Silibaravi, 32, and his colleague Corporal Andrew Roberts, 32, were killed in a mortar attack on their Afghanistan military base on Friday.
The soldiers were both from Bicester-based 23 Pioneer Regiment, The Royal Logistic Corps.
Members of Pte Silibaravi’s 40-strong church group, the Fijian Methodist Fellowship, will sing traditional Fijian funeral hymns as the cortege passes the memorial garden on the edge of Carterton.
Church group leader Joji Cabemaikadavu said: “It is a big loss. He was a much-loved member of the community.
“Ratu was a really happy man and he always laughed a lot and was always entertaining people. It is a big shock for everyone.”
Mr Cabemaikadavu said he expected at least 100 of Pve Silibaravi’s family, friends and colleagues to attend the repatriation ceremony.
The plane carrying the bodies will land at RAF Brize Norton at about 1.30pm and the cortege will pass the memorial garden at about 3.30pm.
The cortege is expected to arrive at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where post-mortem examinations are carried out, at about 4.30pm.