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212 Fijian soldiers for the Queen

March 22, 2019 3:53 pm

It’s a biography of 212 of Fiji’s finest that were the first recruits into the British Army.

Titled ‘212 Soldiers for the Queen, Fijians in the British Army, 1961 to 1997’, it’s been a labour of love for author David Tough whose taken a little over two decades to write the book.

“As I’ve said in my preface, I mean possibly only a lunatic would undertake a biography of 200 people because there’s just so much room for error and interpretation in any biography on what the main subject or any individual tells you. ”

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The snapshot and historical extract of this time in Fiji’s development both pre and post-independence highlights the bravery, comradery and humour of the Fijians enlisted, many of whom would serve her Majesty’s army with distinction.

During World War two, Fijians working with the American forces proved themselves as first-class operational soldiers.

This would determine their future enlistment in the early 1950s when Britain found herself strained by the insurgency in Malaya, calling on the then Royal Fiji Military Forces to assist.

Meanwhile, other than the historical anecdotes that litter the book, there are some colourful stories and characters that distinguish the Fijian solider.

One such story is of Nabuka Qarau who was working on an expedition in the Congo with the well-known British Colonel John Blashford Snell.

“Blashford Snell’s assistant was a woman named Baker and when he met her, he said, “Oh Baker, that’s interesting, my Grandfather ate a Missionary named Baker!”

Copies of the book are available to purchase on Amazon online.

There may also be copies available at the USP Bookstore at the Laucala Campus in Suva.

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