A WORCESTERSHIRE Regiment hero, who was awarded the George Cross for his courage under fire during the Malaya Emergency of the early 1950s, has died at the age of 91.

However, Awang anat Raweng was not a county man. He was an Iban Scout from Sarawak attached to  D Company of the Regiment’s 1st Battalion when on May 27, 1951 his platoon was ambushed by around 50 Communist bandits while patrolling in the jungle in the southern state of Johor.

The leading scout was killed instantly and the Section Commander fatally wounded. Awang was hit through the thigh bone and at the same time a soldier, Private Hughes, moving behind him, was hit below the knee, the bullet shattering the bone.

Awang, although wounded and lying exposed under heavy rifle and automatic fire, collected his own weapons and those of Pte Hughes and dragged him into the cover of the jungle.

Awang completely disregarded his own wound and took up a position to defend the injured Hughes. There he remained for 40 minutes, firing on every attempt made by the bandits to approach.

Eventually Awang was again wounded, the bullet shattering his right arm, making further use of his rifle or parang impossible. Despite loss of blood from his undressed wounds, he dragged himself over to Hughes and took a grenade from the soldier’s pouch. Awang tpulled out the pin of the grenade with his teeth and holding the missile aloft in his left hand dared the bandits to come and try to kill them. At this they gave up and withdrew.

A senior officer later remarked: “The coolness, fortitude and offensive spirit displayed by Awang anak Raweng 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.”

Awang was awarded the George Cross, the civilian version of the V.C. He was received the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation, Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals and Pingat Jasa Malaysia. He was honoured by National Defence University of Malaysia with the Honorary master’s degree in Strategic Studies. In 2018, the Sarawak State Government officially bestowed on him the Panglima Setia Bintang Sarawak award, which carried the title ‘Dato’, as a recognition of his heroism.

Dr John Paddock, curator of the Mercian Regimental Museum (Worcestershire), said: “We are all deeply saddened by the passing  of Awang anak Raweng.  He was an extraordinarily brave individual, whose selfless courage and dedication to duty saved the life of Private Hughes. He will always be held in the highest esteem by the Worcestershire Regiment  and its successors.”