It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Gunner Samuela Vanua, Royal Artillery, in Iraq on Monday 4 September 2006.
On 4 September 2006 Gunner Samuela Vanua, 27, from 58 (Eyre’s) Battery, 12 Regiment Royal Artillery died as a result of injuries sustained from a roadside bomb at approximately 1300hrs local time near the town of Ad Dayr, north of Basra City.
He was on a routine patrol in support of a Danish reconstruction team when the incident occurred. The explosion hit his landrover patrol as it was returning to their base following a routine task training the Iraqi Police. Very sadly the incident killed two soldiers from the Battery including Gunner Vanua.
Gunner Samuela Vanua
Gunner Samuela Vanua, known as ‘Sammy’, was born on 26 May 1979 in Fiji. He joined the Army on 16 April 2002 and was posted to 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, based in Osnabrück, Germany, on 18 November 2002 following his basic training.
He was attached to 58 (Eyre’s) Battery, part of 12 Regiment Royal Artillery, from 3/29 Battery, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery. 58 Battery currently forms part of the Danish-led Basra Rural North Battle Group and is four months into a six-and-a-half month tour of Iraq under the overall command of the UK’s 20th Armoured Brigade.
He was the archetypal Gunner: tough, hard-working and resourceful. He was hugely popular in 3/29 Battery, throughout 4th Regiment and with his many friends across the Army.
Gunner Vanua was a soldiers’ soldier who enjoyed the diverse challenges of military life. He had proved himself to be a skilful, reliable field gunner on the AS90 artillery gun during a number of demanding exercises in Germany and Canada. He was always willing to pass on his hard-earned experience to the newer soldiers, demonstrating the clearest potential for early promotion.
This same commitment and professionalism was even more apparent on operations, where he spent the majority of his relatively short career. He deployed in the dismounted infantry role with 4th Regiment in Northern Ireland in 2003 and Iraq in 2004-05, where as a rifleman in Basra he was courageous, utterly dependable and ready to tackle any challenge.
It is testament to Gunner Vanua’s robust character and selfless dedication that he volunteered to deploy to Iraq with elements of 12th Regiment Royal Artillery in April 2006, so soon after returning to his own unit.
A strong team player on the sports pitch as well as at work he played a number of sports to a high standard. His main passion was rugby union where he represented the British Army (Germany) and played a key part in the Regiment’s successes over a number of seasons. His deft touch and aggression at scrum-half will be sorely missed when the Regiment joins the Premier League next season.
Gunner Samuela Vanua was a superb soldier who was immensely proud to be part of the British Army and the Royal Artillery. He will be sadly missed by all-ranks of his parent unit, 4th Regiment, and by everyone else who was fortunate enough to know this kind and genuine young man.
Gunner Vanua’s parents live in Suva, Fiji. He was single.