Hands of the warrior.
HR4K's tribute to our Fijian brethren, a proud warrior nation and loyal friends.
This T was inspired by the story of Talaiasi Labalaba BEM 22 SAS and his actions at the Battle of Mirbat on 19 July 1972.
Labalaba, just aged 30, was shot dead whilst firing a 25 pound gun at the attacking guerrilla forces.
He displayed notable bravery by continuing to fire the 25 pounder single handed in spite of being seriously wounded when a bullet hit him on the jaw, after his Omani loader was seriously wounded early in the battle. Captain Mike Kealy and fellow troopers Tommy Tobin and Sekonaia Takavesi ran a gauntlet of enemy fire but arrived too late to save Labalaba. Both the troopers were also hit, Takavesi was wounded in the back and Tobin was killed when a round crept through the sand-bagged walls and hit him in the face. Labalaba's actions helped to keep the insurgents pinned down until Strike master jets of the SOAF arrived to drive back the attackers while SAS reinforcements from Salalah could be organised.
Fellow SAS trooper Roger Cole in his book of the battle, SAS: Operation Storm, paid tribute to Labalaba saying if the guerrilla force had taken the 25-pounder then the SAS would have surely lost the battle.