Slouch Hat used at funeral of Lieutenant Colonel C G W Anderson, VC

Place Oceania: Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Canberra
Accession Number REL/18492
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Headdress
Physical description Fur felt, Leather, Wool, Wool felt
Location Main Bld: Hall of Valour: Main Hall: Malaya 1942
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia
Date made c 1988
Conflict Period 1980-1989

Australian army standard issue khaki fur felt slouch hat with leather chinstrap. Hat has been dressed in Second World War style with a plain wool khaki band to which is sewn wool felt colour patch for 2/19 Battalion and fitted with an oxidised 'Rising Sun' badge.

History / Summary

Charles Anderson was born at Cape Town, South Africa, on 12 February 1897. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the King's African Rifles on 13 October 1916 and fought with that regiment's 3rd Battalion in East Africa against the German-led Askari. Anderson was awarded the Military Cross for his service in this campaign. Anderson's experience in jungle warfare – rare for a First World War soldier – and his post-war experience as a big-game hunter prepared him well for commanding troops in the jungles of Malaya in the Second World War. He married Edith Tout in February 1931 and three years later, in 1934, the couple moved to Australia where Anderson had purchased a grazing property near Crowther in New South Wales. In March 1939 he joined the Citizen Military Forces, and was appointed captain in the 56th Battalion. He was promoted to major in late October that year and in July 1940 was seconded to the AIF. Appointed second-in-command of the 2/19th Battalion, part of the 8th Division, he embarked for Malaya in February 1941. Anderson was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 1 August 1941 and took command of his battalion. Five months later Japan entered the war, invading Malaya and committing herself to war with Britain on the same day as her forces attacked the United States at Pearl Harbour. British Empire forces began a long series of withdrawals down the length of the Malayan peninsula. Within a month Japanese forces were in southern Malaya and Anderson's unit was among those conducting defensive operations in the Muar area. He conducted a fighting withdrawal to Parit Sulong during which he and his men were cut off and suffered heavy casualties. Anderson led them through four days of heavy fighting in a bid to reach Allied lines. For his leadership, his protection of his own wounded men, and for repeatedly risking his own life Anderson was awarded the Victoria Cross. The fighting over, Anderson endured more than three years in Japanese captivity before returning to Australia. His appointment in the AIF was terminated on 21 December 1945 and Anderson returned to his property. He stood in the 1949 general election and won a seat in the House of Representatives as the Country Party member for Hume. He lost the seat in 1951, but regained it in 1955, remaining in office until 1961. He moved to Canberra, having served as a member of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory. He died there on 11 November 1988. He remains the highest ranked Australian soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross. This contemporary slouch hat was dressed in Second World War style and placed on his coffin at his funeral service.