HC Deb 16 July 1952 vol 503 cc2135-7
48. Mr. Braine

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the circumstances in which a Fijian cadet, Julian Tonganivalu, was recently sent back to Fiji before completing his course at Sandhurst.

Mr. Lyttelton

I am glad of this opportunity to state the facts and, with my hon. Friend's permission, I will circulate a detailed account in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I should, however, like to emphasise that accounts which have appeared in the Press of this Fijian cadet having been "doped" and wrongfully detained in an Aldershot hospital are entirely without foundation. Far from showing animosity or resentment at his treatment here, he has gone out of his way, both before and since his return to Fiji, to express his gratitude to all concerned.

Following is the statement: Julian Tonganivalu, now aged 20, the third son of a Fijian chief, arrived in this country in June, 1951, to enter Sandhurst. He was first attached to the Light Infantry Brigade Training Centre at Bordon and after two months at the Mons Officer Cadet School joined Sandhurst as an officer cadet in September, 1951. He broadcast to Fiji on the B.B.C. Overseas Service in November, 1951, and among other things said that he was enjoying his time at Sandhurst immensely. In December, shortly after the arrangements for sending a Fiji Battalion to Malaya became known, he showed great keenness to serve there, but was persuaded that his duty lay in remaining at Sandhurst and getting his commission. On returning from a month's leave in March, 1952, he appeared unbalanced, and on the 10th March was admitted to Sandhurst hospital suffering from nervous exhaustion. On the following day, the Southern Command specialist in psychiatry saw him and arranged his admission to the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley. Treatment at Netley continued until June, when he appeared quite normal. The medical advice was that he should return to Fiji as soon as possible to complete his recovery, and arrangements were accordingly made for him to fly back in the company of an administrative officer also making the journey. Contrary to statements made in the Press, at no time was compulsion employed as regards his movements. So far as can be discovered he made no application for leave at either the Bordon Training Centre or the Mons Officer Cadet School, nor did he apply to return to Fiji during his period at Sandhurst, although he is known to have told his company commander that his father had died suddenly on the day he landed in this country. While at Netley he was perfectly aware of the medical treatment he was receiving, and is known to have joked about it. In the opinion of the Sandhurst authorities Tonganivalu was, before his breakdown, an outstanding cadet, keen both on his work and on sport (he boxed for the Royal Military Academy) and a devout Christian. He considered it a great honour to be at Sandhurst and took every opportunity to widen his interests and generally fit himself to be a Regular officer.

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