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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

In memory of the men from Fiji


christine liava'a
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They were a long way from sunny Fiji, in the fields of Flanders, but gave their lives in defence of their ancestral home

John Barry 9929 4th Bn KRRC

George E Bailey 10169 4th Bn KRRC,

Herbert Millard 10171 4th Bn KRRC,

Robert F B Taylor 10172 4th Bn KRRC,

George Wilson 10176 4th Bn KRRC,

Arthur Wilson 10191 4th Bn KRRC,

Thomas Cutbush 10196 4th Bn KRRC

Richard Zimber (Cairns) 10201 4th BN KRRC

WD Hill 10203 4th Bn KRRC,

WJ Edwards 10206 4th Bn KRRC,

all of whom died between May 8, 1915 and May 15,1915

10 out of 51, Fiji Platoon, 4th Bn KRRC

post-1-1084066090.jpg

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The call of the mother country as clearly very strong to bring these ex-patriots half way across the world.

There are now a large number of ethnic Fijians serving with the Army - does any one have any details of non-Eurporean Fijians serving with HM Forces during WW1

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Yes me!

All 103 of them

101 in the Fiji Labour Corps, in France; 2 in the NZEF, in Gallipoli & Palestine

There are many more now, and I see a whole bunch are applying to go to Iraq!

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Christine - thank you so much for your help. I will send you an email "off net" so that we can not "gum up" the rest of the site

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Delta, I have been trying and trying to send you a copy of a section of my manuscript, but even after removing photos and zipping it, it will not go through. However, here is a copy of my basic document of the Fiji Labour Corps, obtained from Fiji Archives. This is the only official documentation of them!

For details about what they did, go to the Fiji Islanders thread here or do a search under Fiji , 30 days ago, where you will pick up other references

post-1-1084354519.jpg

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does any one have any details of non-Eurporean Fijians serving with HM Forces during WW1

Not exactly what you asked for but for info.

post-1-1084432865.jpg

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Stuart ,

Where did you find this photo? Is it the FLC WW1 or a later group?

In WW1 "Fijian Contingent" was used for the European men, at least in Fiji, but overseas it could have been different.

Could you send me a better copy of it, please?

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Christine,

It is from the set of volumes The Great War by Wilson circa 1920s.The paragraph refers to The Great Empire Rally from Overseas. Sadly there is no reference in the text that I can see to the above photograph so I do not know if it is the Fijian Labour Corps or not but it is circa Great War.

I will try a better image and replace the above but I will wait for natural light.

Stuart

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Hello Christine,

Recently had a dutch magazine ww1 edition in my possesion were you see the cntigent from fidji just embarked in marseille. Will visit the people whome i gave it to and post the picture which shows the fidji native contigency on this thread.

greetz patrick

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Stuart, I think that photo is of the Armed Native Constabulary from Fiji to King Edward the 6th's coronation in 1902. Here are some other photos of them

post-1-1084423725.jpg

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and at Balmoral

post-1-1084424331.jpg

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Thank you Patrick. It should be very interesting. Ivor Lee will be interested too.

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Christine and all others

Many thanks for all the info on those from Fiji who volunttred to serve with the British Forces.

Let us continue to remember those who served, and those who are still serving in the Armed Forces

:D

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Christine,

Thanks for feedback. Shows you cannot believe everything you see/read in books.

That is is best I can achieve with the image.

Stuart

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Christine,

This is my first vist to the forum for a couple of weeks and I was immediately struck by the poigancy of your thread. It is so strange to think of those men from the other side of the World fighting and dying in to what was for them such a foriegn land.

It just so happens my Grandfather's cousin Samuel George Burge died at Frezenberg 8 May 1915 along with 38 other men from the 2nd Battalion of the East Surreys, and probably sadly many more from other regiments.

And now today it is the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment that keeps the East Surrey's Honours, with quite a few Fijians in thier ranks. And like those you have mentioned, the PWRR is in Iraq right now.

I wish them all a safe return.

Chris.

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Why?

What did it have to do with them? Being taken from Nadi or Suva and being dropped in a strange world that was cold, wet and full of death.

It is indeed a long way to come and die.....perhaps we should take all politicains to Tyne Cot, Etaples and Serre Rd No 2, and then ask them if war really is in the name of freedom.

I feel so strongly about this I will have no further part in this thread.

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why?

the glib answer is because they were patriotic, to the British Empire.

Remember many of the Fiji Europeans were actually English and Scottish, The UK was their homeland.

Those that were from Australia and NZ could also have been 1 generation removed. Until about the 1950s people in NZ called Britain "home".

Europeans only settled in Fiji from about 1870, in any large numbers.

For the native Fijians, to be accepted as worthy, in a "white man's War", as the British government called it, to assert their willingness to be part of the Empire.

or maybe just for adventure.

As for the ones nowadays, there was an interview on TV recently with various Fijians who are volunteering to go to Iraq as security men, and the answer was for money. Fiji is a poor country, not very well managed, and being a mercenary provides good money for the family and education etc, in spite of all its risks

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Those that were from Australia and NZ could also have been 1 generation removed. Until about the 1950s people in NZ called Britain "home".

Just to emphasise Christine's point. My grandmother was born in 1901 in Australia (just after Federation!), her parents having emigrated from the southwest of Ireland. She had never been to England, nor had any English relatives. Her relatives in Ireland lived in the Republic. Yet as late as the 1970's, she referred to England or the UK as "home" (usually a little whistfully in the context of one of her descendants travelling there).

A large majority of the A.I.F consisted of either immigrants from Britain or their children.

Christine, do you have any figures (or a guess) of what proportion of Fiji's population at the time was white?

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approximately 4000

post-1-1084854538.jpg

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Guest Koert Debyser

Maybe I am missing something, but based on the graph, I would put the total number of the white population at 6500. Assuming that both Europeans (4000) and people of European descent (2500) are considered as white and that the timeframe is the First World War.

Koert

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The trouble is that the time frame for the census does not fit the war exactly

but according to the Fiji Bureau of Statistics

in 1921, in Fiji there were

910 Chinese,

3,878 Europeans,

84, 475 Fijians

60, 634 Indians

2, 781 Part-Europeans

2,335 Rotumans,

1, 564 Pacific Islanders

and 789 others

People of European descent (part -Europeans) were not considered the same as Europeans in Fiji of that time, in fact not even now. They have a category of their own.

Fiji is the only country I have been to which asks its own returning citizens what race they belong to on the air arrival cards.

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