Fijians and Commonwealth soldiers in the British Army.....

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by blonde_guy, Dec 31, 2011.

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  1. You need only look at the Army rugby team to notice there are an awful lot of Fijians in it, and the army itself.

    What is the history behind Commonwealth, and especially Fijian, men joining the British Army?

    What motivates them, and how and when did it all start?

  2. My Grandad said he served with Fijians in the 60s and a serving Fijian reckons his dad was one of they first to join up in the 60s as well.
    I dare say a massive pay boost and not having to live in a poor country is a good motivation.

    If you are wondering why it only been in the last ten years or so we have seen a massive increase its because the army shit itself over the Commission for Racial Equality threat to dictate the army's race policy in 1998
  3. My first Det. Comd in Shoeburyness in 1970 was a certain Sid Soqo(RIP)
    Sid was a very hard Taskmaster running a C41 Det but within a year I was running
    my own Det. which was entirely due to Sid's instruction.
    He was a complete animal on the Rugby Field, he didn't care which side had
    possession of the Ball, if Sid wanted it, look out..big time!
    However, his tough persona wilted when you called for his help, he was always there
    for you.
    I met lots of Fijians in the early 70's and they were all, to a man, from the same
    mold as Cpl. Sid Soqo.
    I can't comment on when the first Fijians joined but we had lots in the 'Bleeps'
    Sid was a grizzled B1 Cpl. in 1970, so I would hazard a guess at early/mid 60's.

    I believe that Sid ended up as Mess Manager in Blandford and there is some
    Memorial on Site....maybe someone can shed some light on this?
  4. It started long long ago in a far away galaxy........
    • Like Like x 2
  5. There were loads of then in 16 Ind Para Bde in the 60's, when the Bde disbanded most of them joined the Hereford Hooligans, feckin good blokes
  6. Yeah, they would be the first across the river!!!!!
  7. I think you'll find that there was a drive to recruit Commonwealth soldiers in the early 2000's with a variety of carrots dangled as incentives but I believe a UK Passport is not one of them.

    I too remember the back end of the careers of the "60's intake of Fijians" and finer ambassadors for their country and culture you will never come across again.
  8. One of the original influences on Fijians joining the armed forces is the influence of a Fijian National hero- Ratu Joseva Sukuna

    Talk to any serving Fijians and they will know who he is. He was the first Fijian to attend university - which he did at Wadham College Oxford in 1913- but only gaduating after the war. Denied the opporutnity to serve alongside his fellow students in the British Army he served in the French Foreign Legion and was wounded in action. He was an officer in the Fijian labour Corps which worked on the docks at Calais.
  9. It is.
  10. My old man had Fijian mates (Tabalilee and Tabamore? they were known as) and were great blokes and they joined up mid sixties.

    We had a massive intake of Commonwelath soldiers in the late 90's when our recruiting was poor, funnily enough it is a lot harder for those from the Commonwealth to join up now.
  11. It's not automatic though - and even harder for the spouses to get
  12. But it is one almighty incentive and you cannot blame the guys (and girls) who join with the sole intention of applying for a passport.
  13. I had Fijian wives working for me in Germany who could not even enter UK, as their husbands did basic in UK, were posted to BFG units, and their wives joined them there. The visas they had were Schengen visas, so thaat doesn't entitle UK visits, nevermind residence. I was also on the BFG Foreign and Commonwealth Soldiers Working Group, and the restrictions put on these families makes it clear that very few would join up just to get access to UK immigration.
  14. There was one my brother talked about called sammy caratoga who was in 1pwo in the 70,s & 80,s. A real old school colour sgt
  15. As with a 'Jock' unit parenting the current generation, most of the Hereford generation were from the Ulster Rifles as I recall. These had seen active service in Malaya, Aden and Op Storm. Good blokes to a man - Horse, Valdez & Tak were particular outstanding characters.