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

#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
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?

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?
 
#6
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
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.
 
#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
#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.
 
#15
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
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.
 

cent05zr70

On ROPS
On ROPs
#16
It's in my mind somewhere that 400 joined in 1960, and were scattered around the army. One of "ours" was Sitevini "Stevie" Bonaquesa RIP.
Whilst at Tidders he used to travel on the rear mudguard of my 500T Norton 40 odd miles to play rugby for my local club. They bloody loved him, and still talk of him forty years on.
 
#17
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
I knew one in DWR in the late '602, surname Wacabaca (spelling?) - incredible rugby player.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#18
We too had one he retired in 83 I think, Tabumavaka, big on Rugby and hurting people on the field. Last job was Sgts Mess Sgt!
Tabby didint seem too quick but no fecker took the piss outside of the sgts mess!
 
#20
The 1st Bn The Fiji Regiment served with the British army in Malaya from 1952 - 1956 as a successful active service unit. It was a popular unit and always did well on the sports field.
 

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