The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2/7271) Sergeant Cecil Charles Anderson, 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Malayan Emergency.

Place Asia: Malaya
Accession Number AWM2016.2.224
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 11 August 2016
Access Open
Conflict Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Gerard Pratt, the story for this day was on (2/7271) Sergeant Cecil Charles Anderson, 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Malayan Emergency.

Film order form
Speech transcript

2/7271 Sergeant Cecil Charles Anderson, 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
KIA 4 March 1956
Photograph: MELJ0712

Story delivered 11 August 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Sergeant Cecil Charles Anderson.

Cecil Anderson was born on 16 May 1924 in Queensland to Cecil Anderson and Lydia Myee Tripcony, a Ngugi woman. He was the fourth of six surviving children.

As a boy, Anderson, known to his family as “Barney” was removed by the authorities and sent to the Margaret Marr Memorial Home for Boys in Wynnum. By the time the Second World War began, he was working as a station hand in the Gympie region. He enlisted on 24 May 1941 and was called up for full-time service that December.

Transferred to the AIF on in mid-1942, Anderson was sent to the Guerrilla Warfare School at Wilsons Promontory, Victoria, in September. After completing the course he was posted to the 2nd/2nd Independent Company. He served in New Guinea, including in the Markham and Ramu Rivers campaign in 1943, and in New Britain.

Anderson was discharged from the AIF in June 1946 and worked in a variety of jobs. With the outbreak of the Korean War on 25 June 1950 the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, was already in Japan but well short of its required compliment of troops. As a result, the Australian government called for 1,000 volunteers to help fill the ranks of the RAR’s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions.

Anderson volunteered for K Force, which had a service term of three years with one year of active service in Korea. He and the other recruits joined 3RAR in Korea at the end of September 1950. In October, UN troops drove into North Korea in an attempt to reunite the divided nation.

In 3RAR’s first battle, known as the Apple Orchard, A Company, of which Anderson was a member, played a supporting role. Anderson was also directly involved in the battle of the Broken Bridge near Kujin, and in the fighting at Chongju. In this last battle 3RAR suffered nine men killed and 30 wounded. One of the wounded was Cecil Anderson.

He had been shot in the abdomen and hip and was evacuated to Japan. On re-joining his battalion in May 1951, he next took part in the battle of Maryang San, where his company commander, Major Jim Shelton, said that his sense of humour in the midst of heavy fighting had helped lighten the mood and kept morale high.

Anderson returned to Australia in 1952. He remained in the army and was sent on a promotion course in September 1952. His former battalion commander in Korea, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Hassett, gave him a reference, declaring that Anderson was “an excellent leader”.

Promoted to corporal, Anderson served as an instructor at the 19th National Service Training Battalion until December 1954, when he was posted to 2RAR and promoted to sergeant. He was sent with his unit to Malaya in October 1955 to take part in combating the communist insurgency there. By early 1956 the battalion began patrolling, but the insurgency was coming to an end.

On 4 March Sergeant Anderson led a 12-man patrol into the Malayan jungle. That afternoon he discovered an enemy hideout and began a cautious approach when two shots rang out, hitting Anderson in the chest knocking him down. The rest of the patrol began returning fire, while Anderson calmly gave orders and provided covering fire.

His men carried Anderson back on a makeshift stretcher, where a priest administered the last rites. He died at 4 pm as his comrades tried to get him back to base. For his leadership and devotion to duty, he was posthumously Mentioned in Despatches.

Sergeant Anderson was laid to rest the following day in the Kamunting Road Christian Cemetery. He was 31 years old.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, one of the 39 Australians who died while serving in the Malayan Emergency. His photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Sergeant Cecil Charles Anderson, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

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