Chaplain makes regiment history

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  • Church parade: JDF chaplain Major Denston Smalling and RBR padre Lieutenant Musa Daba outside the Up Park Camp chapel in Kingston, Jamaica (Photograph supplied)

    Church parade: JDF chaplain Major Denston Smalling and RBR padre Lieutenant Musa Daba outside the Up Park Camp chapel in Kingston, Jamaica (Photograph supplied)


Military padre Lieutenant Musa Daba made Royal Bermuda Regiment history by becoming the first chaplain to complete recruit camp as a private soldier.

Now a Lieutenant after completing January’s recruit camp, the RBR chaplain is on his first overseas deployment in Jamaica and took time out to meet a counterpart at the Jamaican Defence Force at Up Park Camp in Kingston.

Lieutenant Daba, the parish priest at St Mark’s Anglican Church in Smith’s, said: “It’s very useful to learn from those who have gone before and it doesn’t matter which army they are from — there’s a lot to learn about what a chaplain does.”

JDF chaplain Major Denston Smalling, an army chaplain for 10 years, added: “It’s good to meet chaplains from other countries and other units.

“The role is to offer spiritual guidance and direction. In our service, the chaplain is also the service’s welfare officer, so that’s part of what we do as well.”

Major Smalling works with 3,000 soldiers and their dependents at Up Park Camp, the headquarters of the JDF, and also covers the roles of education officer and returning officer for Jamaican general elections.

Lieutenant Daba, 43, explained that he had considered a career in the military, but would not join the army in his homeland of South Africa under the brutal apartheid regime.

The married father of a 12-year-old daughter said: “I felt I had to do recruit camp. It was one way to be part of the group and feel what the troops have to go through.

“Having no military background, I wanted to know what goes on. It also builds trust because they know you’ve been in the trenches with them.”

He added: “I love it. I love the life. I know it’s part-time, but there is a sense of discipline and seeing young men and young women being moulded and being part of that moulding is great.

“It’s very important and it’s something I wish I had done earlier.”

And Lieutenant Daba said: “Being in the regiment is just another way to serve Bermuda and I’m more than happy to do it.”

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Published Apr 29, 2016 at 10:56 am (Updated Apr 29, 2016 at 10:56 am)

Chaplain makes regiment history

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