NEWS

David Tough: Soldiers’ Story Worth Telling

“It was soon obvious that the pride of Fiji’s youth kin 1961, ‘cherry picked, by the British army recruiting team, were a remarkable group whose story was worth recording.”
20 Mar 2019 13:00
David Tough: Soldiers’ Story Worth Telling
212 Soldiers for the Queen author David Tough (seated, second from left), with former soldiers and family members during the launch on March 19, 2019. Photo: Swashna Chand

A book about the first Fijians to join the British Army in 1961, which took 24 years to write, has been launched in Suva by its Australian author David Tough.

Titled ‘212 Soldiers for the Queen’, Fijians in the British Army 1961- 1997, the book was launched at the Fiji Museum.

Speaking to the Fiji Sun, Mr Tough said the major challenge he faced was communication and the required travelling, this being the first book he authored.

He said that his inspiration for the book came from the events of 1987 and was heightened when he met relatives of the first Fijians to join the British Army.

“My interest was not in the politics of 1987, but the people who joined the British Army. More into where they came from and what they were doing after they left the British army,” he said.

“The 212 attracted my interest as I learned of their roles in ‘the event of 1987’.

“I met Laba’s (Fijian Special Air Service legend Talaiasi Labalaba, who died in the Battle of Mirbat in Oman in 1972) mother and a cousin, each of whom provided photographs of the deceased warrior and learned of six other ‘212’ who also served in 22 SAS.

Many of the ‘212’ thus seemed worthy subjects of the book.

“One, Tom Morell (who took part in the SAS raid on the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980), emerged from the internet after I renewed my research in 2012 and convinced me to make every effort to record as much as possible of each of the ‘212’.

“It was soon obvious that the pride of Fiji’s youth kin 1961, ‘cherry picked, by the British army recruiting team, were a remarkable group whose story was worth recording.”

A number of the first 212 to join the British Army were at the event and the book, retailing for $47, sold out at the launch.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: swashna.chand@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: