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1st BATTALION, THE DUKE OF LANCASTER'S REGIMENT
COMBINED FORCE NAD-E ALI
Corporal Taniela Tolevu Rogoiruwai, known to all as 'Rocco', was born in Nausori, in Fiji, on 23 January 1978. He joined the Army in July 2000, initially serving with the 1st Battalion, The King's Own Royal Border Regiment before its amalgamation on 01 July 2006. Throughout his time in the Army he served with distinction, on numerous operations including Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was a highly experienced and dedicated Junior Non Commissioned Officer - one who excelled when in command.
He had a tough yet compassionate style and was destined to do well in an environment that he loved. Just before deploying to Afghanistan, he attended and achieved a strong pass on the Platoon Sergeant's Battle Course and he was on course to promote to Sergeant in the near future Corporal Rogoiruwai relished being in the Army. He possessed loyalty 'in spades' and he had an absolute dedication to the Regiment, to the Battalion, to his Company and to the men he served with. He was quietly confident - a man who did not speak unless he had something important to say. He had a ready smile, a wonderful sense of humour and a grin that reached from one side of his face to other. He was well known and respected across the Battalion as a soldier and as a friend. He was a wife, Olivia and his young son, Maciu. He loved them dearly. He was also an accomplished and talented sportsman, representing British Army Cyprus at his beloved rugby and the Battalion on numerous occasions at Bobsleigh.
Corporal Rogoiruwai deployed to Afghanistan as a Section Commander with 1 Platoon, Anzio Company, 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment in March 2010. The soldiers of Anzio Company have undoubtedly improved the lives of hundreds of local Afghans during their 3 months in Nad-e Ali by conducting frequent joint security and reassurance patrols with their Afghan National Army colleagues. Corporal Rogoiruwai was killed in action during a fire-fight with insurgent forces on 15 June 2010 whilst carrying out a patrol to improve security and increase the freedom of movement for local people in Northern Nad-e Ali, Helmand. Province.
Tragically killed doing the job that he loved, and excelled at, he will leave a huge hole which will be very difficult to fill. He will be sorely missed by all members of the Battalion as a comrade and as a much loved friend.
The family of Corporal Taniela Tolevu Rogoiruwai have made the following statement:
Dan was such a loving husband who dedicated his life to his work and especially his family. He will be sorely missed by his friends, workmates and especially by his wife and 3 year old son, Matthew. You will always be remembered in our hearts, Daddy. Rest in peace Dan Rogoiruwai.
Lieutenant Colonel Frazer Lawrence OBE, Commanding Officer 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said:
I am greatly saddened by the death of Corporal 'Rocco' Rogoiruwai. He was an outstanding soldier and a very talented Junior Non Commissioned Officer - tough and stoic, but with an infectious smile and a mischievous sense of humour. His performance in Afghanistan was outstanding. He led from the front, set the best of examples for others to follow and he put everyone before himself. He loved the Army, his Regiment and his fellow soldiers. But, most of all he loved his wife and his young son.
Rocco was one of life's leaders - a natural commander - who gave confidence to those around him. He was decent, honest and loyal - a real character. A man who saw black and white, who knew right from wrong and who possessed selfless commitment. He was a soldier who could always be trusted. He is a friend who will be sorely missed by me and all members of the Battalion. He was a 'Lion' of a man - a 'Lion of England' and he will not be forgotten. We mourn the loss of Corporal Rocco and we offer our deepest condolences to Olivia and to all of Rocco's family - our thoughts are with them.
Major Jon Fry, Officer Commanding Anzio Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said:
Corporal 'Rocco' Rogoiruwai was a Section Commander in Anzio Company, 1st Battalion the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment. He was one of the great characters of the Company, professionally and socially; in short the life and soul. He was tragically killed in action on 15 June 2010 doing what he did best, leading his men.
Corporal Rocco originally joined Chindit Company, the King's Own Royal Border Regiment, where he served in Cyprus, Northern Ireland and Iraq. After the formation of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment he became a member of Anzio Company in the 1st Battalion and served again in Iraq during Op TELIC 11. During Pre Deployment Training for Afghanistan as part of Op HERRICK 12 he went from strength to strength and demonstrated his ability as a commander. During our tour he commanded his men in a number of dangerous and challenging situations; he never faltered and always led from the front. He was a fiercely brave and proud man who stood by his mates whatever the circumstance. Having known him for a number of years, I will remember him for his courageous, proud, loyal and fun personality, not to mention his immense strength, faith and love of rugby.
He was always a great man to have around, be it in the field or on a night out. The Company will not be the same without him. Whilst out here in Afghanistan it is hard enough for us to come to terms with our loss however, our thoughts must be with his wife and son at this tragic time. We cannot even begin to understand what they are going through, we are thinking of them both. They should however, be extremely proud of this man who was a loving father, husband and a fine Anzio soldier. He is sorely missed.
Warrant Officer Class 2 Rodge 'Mooch' Moore, Company Sergeant Major, Anzio Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said:
I have been lucky enough to know Rocco since the first day he joined the battalion in 2000. I was his Section Commander and we instantly formed a close relationship. He had a fantastic sense of humour and supported
Sunderland merely because I supported Middlesbrough, just to wind me up. That was the sort of man he was. Corporal Rogoiruwai was an outstanding rugby player who was fiercely competitive. Off the field he was a man with a big, soft heart. When he first met my wife and daughter in Cyprus, who at the time was only six months old, he decided to take them out for a walk feeding them ice cream and kept calling my daughter 'Little Mooch'. To this day he always asked about how Little Mooch was doing and reminded me of the day he bought her ice cream; Aimee is now 8 years old.
As a soldier he was an extremely fit and enthusiastic Section Commander. He led from the front and his soldiers and subordinates always looked up to him. He was one of the characters of the Company who was both respected and loved. His loyalty was unquestionable and he was proud to be an Anzio soldier. Anzio Company has lost one of its finest.
My thoughts are foremost with his wife and son, family and friends and particularly the Fijian community within the Battalion who have always been and remain a tightly-knit group. He will be sorely missed by both myself, my family and Anzio Company. Corporal Rocco was a good man, a good friend and a good soldier. God Bless Rocco 'Laa'. Rest in peace. Never forgotten.
Corporal Peter Cakaunitabua, Section Commander, Anzio Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said:
Corporal 'Rocco' Rogoiruwai was a very hard working soldier who loved his job, his family and friends. He was a morale finder to the lads that he worked with and pushed people to the best of their ability, which enabled them to be successful in life. He was a very fit soldier and had a determination to do the job to the very best of his ability. He was a disciplined soldier that was proud of his Regiment. Loyal to his family and friends. His wisdom, knowledge and understanding made him a good leader in his work and a great dad and loyal husband. We will miss him.
Kingsman Filimone Matanibukalevu, Helles Company, 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment said:
I joined the Army with Rocco in 2000 and went through training together in Catterick. He was a true friend. Nothing was ever too much trouble. He was a great man who was an inspiration to those around him - a true
Fijian. I still cannot get over his love of Sunderland FC! He has the most beautiful son, who I know will be proud of his father when he grows up. My thoughts are with his wife and family.