NEWS

Samarasam Pillay Reminisces About Life In British Army

‘One of the interesting and memorable event was when we were posted in Germany and all of us Fijians decided to give our best to prove ourselves and our capabilities.
21 Mar 2019 15:10
Samarasam Pillay Reminisces About Life In British Army
Samarasam Pillay during the 212 Soldiers for the Queen Fijian in the British Army 1961- 1997 book launch at the Fiji Museum on March 19, 2019. Photo: Ashna Kumar

A veteran British Army sol­dier on Tuesday described his years of service as a memorable adventure of his life.

Samarasam Pillay, 79, was one of the 212 Fijians who were the first batch to be recruited by the British Army.

A book about them titled 212 Soldiers for the Queen Fijian in the British Army 1961-1997 was launched on Tuesday.

Mr Pillay, originally from Penang in Rakiraki, is a father-of-two and grandfather-of-two.

He served in the British Army as a Lance Corporal for Royal Corps of Signals Regiment from 1961 un­til 1968.

Mr Pillay said in his years of ser­vice, he had learned a lot of new and great things in life as he over­came the challenges of culture and environment.

“When we reached England in De­cember 1961, it was winter season with snow. It was difficult for us to cope in such an environment.

“The food and the way of life was different, but I did not miss the food from home because there was a curry bar which served various curries enjoyed by everyone,” Mr Pillay said.

He said he was motivated by Fi­jians serving in Malaya in 1950s, along with his uncle who was also an inspiration for Mr Pillay, to join the British Army.

Mr Pillay said he had enjoyed every day of the seven years he had served in the British Army.

“I loved the activities we did there, especially sports as I love sports. The boys and I used to play soccer together.

“One of the interesting and mem­orable event was when we were posted in Germany and all of us Fijians decided to give our best to prove ourselves and our capabili­ties.

“The army likes testing your abilities. It gives you opportunities to live those abilities you learn in your personal life as well as devel­op your skills,” Mr Pillay said.

Mr Pillay, after returning from the service in the British Army, taught at Penang Sangam High School in Rakiraki and coached the Rakiraki soccer team.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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