|Last Post film
Australian War Memorial
|Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
|31 July 2020
Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960
Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
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The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2/7271) Sergeant Cecil Charles Anderson, 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Malayan Emergency.
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 Jennifer Surtees, the story for this day was on (2/7271) Sergeant Cecil Charles Anderson, 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Malayan Emergency.Film order form
2/7271 Sergeant Cecil Charles Anderson, 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
KIA: 4 March 1956
Today we remember and pay tribute to Sergeant Cecil Charles Anderson.
Cecil Charles Anderson was born on 16 May 1924 in Queensland to Cecil Anderson and Lydia Myee nee 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 where life was often tough.
By the Second World War began, Anderson was working as a station hand in the Gympie region. He enlisted in Gympie on 24 May 1941. He was called up for full-time service that December and transferred to the AIF on 18 July 1942.
He was sent to the Guerrilla Warfare School at Wilsons Promontory, Victoria in September. After completing the gruelling course, he was posted on Christmas Day to the 2/2nd Independent Company.
The 2/2nd Independent Company was posted to New Guinea where it took part in the Markham/Ramu River campaign in 1943. The unit was withdrawn to Australia in October 1944, before being sent to New Britain in 1945 for the remainder of hostilities.
Anderson was discharged from the AIF in June 1946 and worked in a variety of jobs in the following years.
The outbreak of the Korean War on 25 June 1950 caught the Australian Army unprepared for another war so soon after the Second World War had ended. The 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, already in Japan, was 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 3RAR along with 1RAR and 2RAR who were also very short of man-power.
Anderson volunteered for K Force, which had a service term of three years with one year of active service in Korea. He, along with many other recruits, soon found themselves on a plane to Japan, where they joined 3RAR.
The battalion arrived 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. Days later, the Anderson was directly involved in the battle of the Broken Bridge near Kujin. The battalion fought a third battle that week at Chongju. In the afternoon, A Company attacked and captured a ridge held by North Korean troops. 3RAR suffered 9 killed and 30 wounded during the battle and one of those wounded was Anderson.
He had been shot in the abdomen and hip and was evacuated to Japan. It was May 1951 when Anderson returned to the battalion. He next took part in the battle of Maryang San, where his company commander, Major Jim Shelton said that Anderson’s sense of humour, even in the midst of heavy fighting, lightened the mood and kept morale high.
Anderson returned to Australia in 1952 and remained in the army. He was sent on a promotion course in September 1952 which he successfully passed. His former battalion commander in Korea, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Hassett wrote “this soldier should make a very good NCO. His knowledge is good and he is an excellent leader.”
He was promoted to corporal and sent as an instructor to 19 National Service Training Battalion. He remained in this post until December 1954, when he was posted to 2RAR and promoted to sergeant.
The battalion was sent to Malaya in October 1955 to take part in combating the communist insurgency there. It was not until January 1956 that the battalion began patrolling, by which time the insurgency was coming to an end.
On 4 March 1956, Anderson led a 12-man patrol into the Malayan jungle.
During the afternoon, Anderson discovered an enemy hideout and began a cautious approach.
Two shots rang out hitting Anderson in the chest knocking him down. The rest of the patrol moved up and began returning fire. Anderson calmly gave orders for the Bren gunner to engage the enemy while the rest of the patrol tried to outflank them. He then provided covering fire.
Members of the patrol carried Anderson back 1,000 yards on a makeshift stretcher, where a priest administered the last rites. He died at 4 pm as his comrades were trying to get him back to base. For his leadership and devotion to duty, he was posthumously awarded a Mentioned in Despatches.
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.
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.
Historian, Military History Section
Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2/7271) Sergeant Cecil Charles Anderson, 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Malayan Emergency. (video)