Private Joseva 'Lewi' Lewaicei (pronounced 'Lewethi'), was born on 29 April 1981 in Lautoka, Fiji. Lewi grew up in Fiji but decided early on, like many of his friends, to join the British Army.
He joined The 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, known as 'The Poachers', in May 2002 at the age of 21. Since then he served as a rifleman in Afghanistan between June and October 2003 as part of the enduring ISAF commitment and for two years in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland on a roulement tour. He also served in Jordan and Iraq, particularly enjoying the amount of time he spent in helicopters on both occasions.
Members of his platoon will remember him fondly as a reliable and professional soldier as well as being someone who could make them laugh. He was the first Fijian to join the Battalion, and was planning to take some of his friends to the South Pacific to show them his home, Paradise Island. He was proud of his job in the Army and his efficient style was an example to others.
He was good company; his colleagues describing him as the soul of the platoon. He was also protective of them all and somebody others would turn to for help. One dyslexic soldier described how Lewi would assist him with his written English by checking the spelling in letters to his girlfriend.
He was the father of a 7-year old daughter in Fiji. Universally popular he will be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues.
His Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Des O’Driscoll, said:
"Private Lewaicei was a valued and well-regarded member of C Company and was known as a fun loving and exuberant character. He was a keen sportsman and had represented the Battalion in both Rugby and Boxing. He was an exceptional rugby full back regularly impressing those who saw him play, and was once offered a professional contract.
"Immensely strong, his colleagues will remember with some glee the day he was finally beaten in an arm wrestle by their platoon sergeant, although he always maintained he let him win.
"Our sympathy goes out to his family at this terrible time; we are deeply saddened at his tragic loss; he will be sorely missed by his friends and the wider regimental family."