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Ex-soldier Joins ‘Gods Army’

A retired Fijian British Army officer now serves as a church steward at the Wesley’s Chapel Methodist Church in London, England. The chapel was built by John Wesley, the founder
07 Apr 2015 12:41
Ex-soldier Joins ‘Gods Army’
Naibuka Qarau (standing third from left), celebrating his 70th birthday in December 2012. He is surrounded by friends and family members in London, United Kingdom. Photo: Matavuvale Network

A retired Fijian British Army officer now serves as a church steward at the Wesley’s Chapel Methodist Church in London, England.

The chapel was built by John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement.

The site is now both a place of worship and a visitor attraction.

Naibuka Qarau, 72, spent 18 years in the army and has spent 55 years of his life living in Europe, particularly in England, Germany and Ireland.

He is a retired colonel who recently visited Fiji to attend his mother’s funeral.

“I finally retired from the army in 1998 and later got involved with the Methodist Church and I was asked to join the Wesley’s Chapel and was later appointed as church steward and still hold that position to date,” Mr. Qarau said.

“I was also lucky that my wife, Makereta Kula was allowed to be buried in the church compound when she passed away. For me it was an honour, especially because she was buried just some metres away from John Wesley’s grave,” Mr Qarau said.

The Nauluvatu Villager from Nakelo in Tailevu was among 200 men and 12 women who were recruited by the British Army in 1961.

He said they were greeted by the cold English winter when they arrived in England on November 13, that year.

After 13 weeks of training Mr Qarau joined the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment.

He briefly joined the Parachute Regiment before he was transferred to join the Royal Tank Regiment.

He has extensive peacekeeping experience serving in Cyprus, Congo, and Northern Ireland and served in Sinai and Lebanon when he was with the Republic of the Fiji Military Force’s Territorial Force.

Mr Qarau has three daughters – Francis, Vaseva and Luisa.

Feedback: ana.sovaraki@fijisun.com.fj

 




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