Who Have Looked At
Death In The Eye
Stories Of Valour
In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on
Afganistan's plains and
the women come out to cut up what remains,
Just roll to your rifle
and blow out your brains,
And go to your God like a soldier”
“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”
“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”
“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.
“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,
for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”
“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.
“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.
“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.
The Soldier stood and faced God
Which must always come to pass
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as bright as his brass
"Step forward you Soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't
Because those of us who carry guns
Can't always be a saint."
I've had to work on Sundays
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep.
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep,
The Soldier squared his shoulders and said
And I never passed a cry for help
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here,
Lord, It needn't be so grand,
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."
There was silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod
As the Soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
"Step forward now, you Soldier,
You've borne your burden well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."
| A Malaysian from Sarawak with the Highest Decoration for Gallantry and Valor by James Ritchie
| Monday, October 21, 2019
MALAYSIA’S sole George Cross recipient, Awang anak Raweng, never wanted the publicity that came with an act of valour in Johor 63 years ago, when he saved the life of a British private.
|Awang anak Raweh 2nd from Left with the Queen|
|With his two sons|
The incident occurred at about 9 a.m. on May 27, 1951 when the Iban tracker’s 20-man platoon was ambushed by a group of 50 Communist Terrorists (CTs) while they were seeking out the enemy in Kluang.
The 86-year-old “Tua Kampung” (headman) of Nanga Skrang recalled that in the first burst of gunfire three of his colleagues, including a second lieutenant, were killed.
|With Prince Charles|
“Three British soldiers were dead while two others were badly hurt,” he recalled. “When I realised that we were outnumbered, I ran across to the soldiers who were lying in the open. The CTs who were perched on top of a hill opened fire but the bullets did not hit me.”
Awang then dragged one of the injured privates, Griff Hughes, into the underbrush and stood his ground. While defending his position, Awang was shot in the thigh and arm.
He added: “How could I abandon Private Hughes? I was only 19 and he was hardly older. I told myself, and also somehow communicated to Hughes, that if we were to die, we would die fighting.”
Finally, after holding his position for almost six hours, the reinforcements arrived and the CTs had fled.
Within a year, Awang would become the only Sarawakian or Malayan to be awarded Britain’s highest civilian award, the George Cross, and with the formation of he Federation of Malaysia on September 1963, he would be invited to attend the biennial Victoria Cross and George Cross Veterans Day gathering at Buckingham Palace.
He is one of only nine George Cross and 20 Victor Cross survivors.
Meeting Queen Elizabeth in 2014 In a 2014 interview with Awang, he reflected: “After Malaysia was formed, the British government invited me to Buckingham palace every two years, where I would meet Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and, more recently, Prince Charles.
“But the saddest thing is that while I was a guest of out former colonial masters, I was never invited to any Heroes Day event until very recently…I was very conveniently forgotten!”
A tracker in the British army, Awang had been enlisted in December 1950 and a month after his training he was attached to the
10th Platoon, D Company of the 1st Battalion, Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment when the incident occurred.
Awang, who was given a private dinner and some pocket money by Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing at a restaurant on Friday night on October 24, 1014.
Awang said that the biggest insult came when he was invited for the Merdeka Parade in Kuala Lumpur in 2011. Awang, who is illiterate, added: “I thought finally, it was worth the wait and that at last they would recognise my sacrifice to the Nation. The organisers paid for my airline ticket and those of my two grandsons
“But sadly we were treated like peasants…when I asked if we could have our daily allowance, one of the members of the organising committee gave me RM20 – our allowance for the day. We returned to Sarawak feeling very insulted.”
Awang said the fault could lie with the Merdeka Day organising committee and not the top officials, who were unaware of contributions.
“Actually, I have never wanted all the publicity but if that is the way we treat our own kind, then it is going to be a very sad day.”
Elite Iban Trackers Awang had belonged to the elite Iban trackers who served during the Malayan Emergency from 1948-1960.
Groups of Iban trackers were recruited as “scouts” and attached to the British units to help in the defence against the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM).
By 1950 there were a total of 484 Iban Trackers serving in the Federal Civil Liaison Corps in Malaya. In 1953 they were organised into a regimental formation as the Sarawak Rangers, among whom was the late Malaysian hero Kanang anak Langkau.
In 1961 Awang donated a parcel of land to the community school SK Nanga Skrang. Later in the mid 2000s, when his old house collapsed, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who was the Minister of Defence, when the Malaysian armed forces rebuilt his home.
Marion Hebblethwaite in her book “One Step Further” states: “During operations against the bandits in Malaya a section of a platoon of the Worcestershire Regiment was ambushed by about 50 of the enemy. The leading scout was killed instantly and the Section Commander fatally wounded.
“Awang anak Raweng was hit through the thigh bone and at the same time, a soldier, moving behind him, was hit below the knee, the bullet completely shattering the bone.
Awang anak Raweng although wounded and lying exposed under heavy fire and automatic fire, collected his own weapons and that of the soldier and dragged him into the cover of the jungle.
“In view of the impending bandit attack, Awang, completely disregarding his own wound, took up a position to defend the injured man. There he remained, firing on every attempt made by the bandits to approach, and successfully drove off several attacks.
1: Medal Background
The George Cross (GC): The George Cross was instituted by Royal Warrant on the 24 September 1940.
King George VI had been greatly moved by the fortitude and courage displayed by many civilians and by those engaged in bomb and mine disposal duties during the Blitz, and wanted these outstanding acts of bravery to be suitably recognised.
Several awards already existed for which civilians were eligible and which could also be given to servicemen and women for acts of great heroism performed in circumstances other than battle. These awards included the Empire Gallantry Medal, the Albert Medals for Saving Life on Land and at Sea and the Edward Medals for Mines and Industry, but none matched the distinction of the Victoria Cross. The King, with his advisors, decided to create a new decoration which would be equivalent in status with the VC.
The Empire Gallantry Medal was abolished and surviving holders, together with those who had been awarded it posthumously since the outbreak of war, had their medals exchanged for the George Cross. Awards of the Albert and Edwards Medals continued, but by the early 1970's it was acknowledged that there was little public appreciation of their importance. No further awards were made, and in 1971 it was announced that surviving holders of these medals would have their awards translated to the George Cross.
A total of 397 men and women plus 1 country (Malta) and 1 organisation (Royal Ulster Constabulary) have been award the George Cross.
There was no provision for the payment of any annuity contained in the original Warrant. However, from 4 February 1965 living holders of the GC were granted a tax-free annuity of 100. The figure remained at 100 until 15 August 1995 when it was raised to 1300.
The George Cross (GC) is the second highest award of the United Kingdom honours system. It is awarded for gallantry "not in the face of the enemy" to members of the British armed forces and to British civilians.
The George Cross medal is attached by ring to bar ornamented with laurel leaves, through which the ribbon passes.
The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest award of the United Kingdom honours system. It is awarded for gallantry "in the face of the enemy" to members of the British armed forces. It may be awarded posthumously. ... Since then, the medal has been awarded 1,358 times to 1,355 individual recipients.
1.2 His full citation in The London Gazette reads:
AWANG anak RAWANG. Iban Tracker, Johore, Federation of Malaya.
During operations against the bandits in Malaya a section of a platoon of the Worcestersbire Regiment was ambushed by about 50 of the enemy. The leading scout was killed instantly and the Section Commander fatally wounded. Awang anak Rawang was hit through the thigh bone and at the same time a soldier, moving behind him, was hit below the knee, the bullet completely shattering the bone.
Awang anak Rawang. although wounded and lying exposed under heavy rifle and automatic fire, collected his own weapons and that of the soldier and dragged him into the cover of the jungle. In view of the impending bandit attack Awaug. completely disregarding his own wound, took up a position to defend the injured man. There he remained, firing on every attempt made by the bandits to approach, and successfully drove off several attacks.
Ultimately Awang was again wounded, the bullet shattering his right arm and rendering further use of his rifle or parang impossible. Despite loss of blood from his undressed wounds, be dragged himself over to the wounded soldier and took a grenade from the man s pouch. He resumed his position on guard, pulled out the pin of the grenade with his teeth and with the missile in his left band defied the bandits to approach.
So resolute was his demeanour that the bandits, who had maintained their attacks for some forty minutes, and who were now threatened by the other sections, withdrew.
The coolness, fortitude and offensive spirit displayed by Awang anak Rawang were of the highest order. Despite being twice severely wounded he showed the utmost courage and resolution to continue the fight and protect the injured soldier.
1.3 Worcestershire Regimental History records the following action:
On 26th May 1951, 12 Platoon, D Company (2/Lieut. W. O. Morris, R.A.O.C. att. 1 Worc. R.) were encamped in some rubber on Ulu Paloh Estate, three miles West of Niyor. At about 1530 hours one of the platoon sentries was fired on by a party of eight terrorists. The sentry returned the fire and the terrorists withdrew in a North-Westerly direction. The Platoon Commander then took two sections in pursuit of the terrorists, but after making a wide circling movement through the jungle could find no trace of the enemy and returned to base.
The following morning (27th May) the Platoon Commander, with two sections, set out once more in search of the enemy. They moved due West into the jungle and followed a narrow track, which had jungle on the left and felled jungle on the high ground to the right. The track was used by woodcutters who were engaged in cutting the jungle further back,
Having moved about a quarter of a mile into the jungle, the leading section came under very heavy automatic fire from the front and left flank.
The patrol went to ground and returned the fire. In the first few minutes Private Dykes, the leading scout, was killed. The section commander (Corporal Stanton), two more privates (Hughes and Payne), and the Iban tracker (Awang anak Rawang), were wounded. The Platoon Commander shouted several times to Corporal Stanton to withdraw his section, but he received no reply. 2/Lieut. Morris then moved back and deployed the rear section to the left; they then engaged the terrorists as best they could. 2/Lieut. Morris moved forward again to investigate the state of the leading section. During this time he fired two complete magazines from his carbine.
The Platoon Commander was killed shortly afterwards, but the Platoon fought on for about forty minutes, when the terrorists withdrew.
The sound of the firing had been heard back at the Company base, and the Company Commander, with two platoons, moved out and arrived at the scene of the action about an hour later.
During the action Private Hughes fell wounded in the middle of the track, and Awang anak Rawang, the Iban tracker, although wounded himself and lying in an exposed position, dragged Private Hughes under cover of a fallen tree.
From behind the tree Awang defended Hughes and continued to engage the terrorists when they tried to approach. For his gallantry Awang anak Rawang was subsequently awarded the George Cross. He was the first, and at the time of writing the only, Iban tracker to receive such an honour.
The casualties in the action were 2/Lieut. W. O. Morris, Corporal B. Stanton and Private N. Dykes killed, and the wounded were Private G. Hughes, Private N. Payne and the Iban.
The enemy lost three killed, including Lap Kwang, the company commander and a terrorist leader of repute. The terrorists numbered about fifty and were later identified as 3 Platoon and 7 Platoon, 4 Company, of the 9th Regiment. The two sections of 12 Platoon had a total strength of between fifteen and twenty.
A George Medal for ASP Menggong: By James Ritchie
On November 13, 1952.19-year-old Michael Menggong and Pangit, a lance corporal with the 1st Battalion Cameronians Scottish Rifles, won the George Medal-Britain’s second highest civilian award for courage in a battle with CTs in the Air Panas estate in Labis, Johore.
Born at Nanga Delok in Lubok Antu on April 12, 1933 was recruited bythe British army in 1948 by faking his age; he told them he was 18 years of age when he was barely 15.
Even his parents did not know where he had disappeared to until he reached Port Dickson for a short two-week training stint before being sent to the jungle.
Following his two-week stint Menggong received more training with the 42nd Royal Marine Commandoes, Special Air Service Regiment and a Vietcong tactical course. Relating the incident on that fateful November day to the writer, Menggong was one of the 20 soldiers (14 of whom were Iban while the rest were British) under Commanding officer Lieutenant Bald whop had walked into a large CT ambush.
“In the first burst of fire the Lieutenant was killed. I took charge of the situation. Realising that it was now a matter of life and death, I urged our under-strength team to pushed forward for retreat would have meant certain death.
”During the 30-minute gun-battle I charged at the enemy with my stengun and together with his men finally captured the camp.
The CTs fled with their wounded and some of their dead.” However, the situation was still delicate because the CTs outnumbered the British unit.
Immediately after that Menggong who was armed with his Stengun and four grenades, decided to go for help rather than stay and wait for a counter attack. He left his men to guard the body of the dead Lieutenant while he trekked 3.5km alone through enemy territory to get help from the Tenang Estate base camp.
After the hour-long journey, Lance Cpl Menggong reported the encounter with the enemy and then returned almost immediately with 200 soldiers and rescued the remaining soldiers. Over the next two weeks Menggong and his men joined in the follow-up operations and had eight other encounters with the CTs.
Lance Cpl Menggong received the George Medal from General Sir Gerald Templer at a ceremony at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur on June 16 1954.
His letter of commendation was signed by the Commander in chief of the Far East Land Forces General Sir Charles Keightley.
Later in 1957 Menggong left the army to return to Sarawak where he joined the Police Field Force and saw action during Brunei Rebellion, Confrontation years and fight against the Sarawak Communist Organisation (SCO).
He rose to the rank of ASP and was involved in the hunt for the Communist leader Bong Kee Chok in 1973. Bong surrfendered in October that year and signed a MOU which led to the Sri Aman peace accord. Menggong died of a heart attack several years after retirement.
Two of his children are working in the army and police-.
2.1: Medal Background
The George Medal (GM) is the second level civil decoration of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.
The GM was instituted on 24 September 1940 by King George VI. At this time, during the height of The Blitz, there was a strong desire to reward the many acts of civilian courage. The existing awards open to civilians were not judged suitable to meet the new situation, therefore it was decided that the George Cross and the George Medal would be instituted to recognise both civilian gallantry in the face of enemy action and brave deeds more generally.
Announcing the new award, the King said:
"In order that they should be worthily and promptly recognised, I have decided to create, at once, a new mark of honour for men and women in all walks of civilian life. I propose to give my name to this new distinction, which will consist of the George Cross, which will rank next to the Victoria Cross, and the George Medal for wider distribution."
The Warrant for the GM (along with that of the GC), dated 24 January 1941, was published in the London Gazette on 31 January 1941. It is granted in recognition of "acts of great bravery."
The GM was originally not issued posthumously, however the warrant was amended in 1977 to for such awards, several of which have been subsequently made.
The medal is primarily a civilian award; however The George Medal may be awarded to military personnel for gallant conduct which is not in the face of the enemy. As the Warrant states:
"The Medal is intended primarily for civilians and award in Our military services is to be confined to actions for which purely military Honours are not normally granted. Bars are awarded to the GM in recognition of the performance of further acts of bravery meriting the award. In undress uniform or on occasions when the medal ribbon alone is worn, a silver rosette is worn on the ribbon to indicate each bar. Recipients are entitled to the postnominal letters GM.
Details of all awards to British and Commonwealth recipients are published in the London Gazette.
The George Medal is a circular silver medal. The obverse depicts the crowned effigy of the reigning monarch and a legend.
The reverse show St. George on horseback slaying the dragon on the coast of England, with the legend THE GEORGE MEDAL around the top edge of the medal
The ribbon is red with five equally spaced thin blue stripes. The blue colour is taken from the George Cross ribbon
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 12:43 AM