Tributes as one of first Fijians to join British Army and who retired to Doncaster dies

Tributes have been paid to a ‘beloved family man’ who was one of the first Fijians to join the British Army more than 60 years ago.

By Darren Burke
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 4:39 pm

Maikeli Vuli left Fiji to come to Britain and made his home in Doncaster following the end of his Army service.

Joining the British Army in 1961, Maikeli joined the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and achieved rank of Corporal Storeman Class One, specialising as an ammunition technician.

He served from 1961 to 1970, initially posted in the UK, with overseas service in British Guyana, Bahrain and Brecht, BAOR.

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Tributes have been paid to Maikeli Vuli

Sharing the news of his death, Communities Fiji Britain said: “Maikeli was born on Cicia, a tiny island in the Lau group of Fiji in 1938 and grew up in the village of Lomati.

"He travelled to the mainland with his brother to pursue a secondary education – the first from his island to do so at that time.

Part of Oceania in the South Pacific Ocean, Fiji consists of an archipelago of more than 330 islands—of which about 110 are permanently inhabited—and more than 500 islets.

"When the opportunity arose in November 1961, he enlisted in the British Army as he wished to serve Britain, the Queen and his country.

Maikeli was among the first 212 Fijians to be recruited into the British Army and after leaving, settled in Yorkshire and sponsored several young Fijians from his extended family to join the British Army between 2000 and 2018.

“After a brief spell in hospital, Maikeli passed away in his home in Yorkshire,” a spokesman said.

"He died peacefully in his sleep with his family around him on 17 January 2022. He is deeply missed by all his family in Britain, Australia, USA and Fiji.”

“The family would love to hear from anyone who knew Maikeli from his time in the army so do get in touch with them through CFB on [email protected]

The funeral service will be held on Monday 28 February 2022 from 11.30am at Stainforth Methodist Chapel, 151 Church Road, Stainforth, Doncaster, DN7 5AD.

All are welcome.

The spokesman added: “May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”