The Bilo Gun Battery
Fiji is proud of the military prowess it exhibited when World War 2 broke out in September 1939, especially as it had no previous modern military tradition. An important part of the Fiji Defence Force during this time was the Bilo Battery Gun Site. The Bilo Battery was constructed in January of 1941 to defend Suva Harbour.
Shortly after being built, Bilo Battery withstood a devastating cyclone during February of 1941 which damaged most of the infrastructure in Suva. The damage to the newly completed Bilo Battery was promptly fixed and military training and planning was able to proceed normally.
The Bilo Battery was a key part of the defence of Fiji, being one of only four gun positions protecting Suva. The others were located near the Parliament House, Veiuto, at the Forum Secretariat/Nasonini area, and at Flagstaff Reservoir Hill. Other gun batteries in Fiji were on the western side of Viti Levu, at Momi and Vuda. The Bilo Battery was home to two 6’’ guns and two 4.7’’ guns. While there are no guns remaining at the site, the underground ammunition storage is still there.
During the war years the New Zealand Army replaced the Fiji Defense Force and they were in turn replaced by the United States Army, before the U.S. Army pulled out of Fiji in 1944, to head to the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea as the battle continued in the Pacific further north.
Today, the Bilo Battery stands as a physical reminder of World War 2.