Personal info

  • Name: Charles Groves Wright ANDERSON
  • D.O.B: 12th Feb, 1897
  • D.O.A: 18th Jan, 1942
  • D.O.D: 11th Nov, 1988
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Lieutenant Colonel, commanding 2nd/19th Battalion (New South Wales), 2nd Australian Imperial Force
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 3
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Near the Muar River, Malaya 18-22 January 1942

18-22 January 1942

More details about:
The Second World War 1942 

As the Japanese advanced down the west coast of Malaya, they occupied Malacca on 14 January 1942. To block their further advance the British took up a position on the Muar River, which was defended by the 45th Indian Brigade commanded by Brigadier H C Duncan. By 15 January the Japanese had crossed the Muar river and on the 16th captured Muar itself. On 18 January the Australian 2/19th Bn under Lieutenant Colonel C G W Anderson arrived at Bakri, east of Muar, to reinforce the 45th Brigade. However, the Japanese advance was relentless. Anderson temporarily took over from Duncan, when the 45th’s Headquarters were bombed on 19 January. During that day the position of 2/19th Bn at Bakri became untenable and Anderson decided to withdraw the following morning across the river at Parit Sulong. This, however, was already in Japanese hands. That day Duncan was killed leading a counter-attack against the enemy, who had now encircled the British troops. On 21 January the Japanese demanded that the British force surrender. On the 22nd Anderson ordered the destruction of arms and equipment and ordered his men, 400 Indians, all that was left of 45th Brigade, and 500 Australians to make their way through the jungle to Yong Peng. Johore was now defenceless but Anderson had delayed by a week the fall of Singapore.


 During the operations in Malaya from the 18th to 22nd January, 1942, Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, in command of a small Force, was sent to restore a vital position and to assist a Brigade. His Force destroyed ten enemy tanks. When later cut off, he defeated persistent attacks on his position from air and ground forces, and forced his way through the enemy lines to a depth of fifteen miles. He was again surrounded and subjected to very heavy and frequent attacks resulting in severe casualties to his Force. He personally led an attack with great gallantry on the enemy who were holding a bridge, and succeeded in destroying four guns. Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, throughout all this fighting, protected his wounded and refused to leave them. He obtained news by wireless of the enemy position and attempted to fight his way back through eight miles of enemy occupied country. This proved to be impossible and the enemy were holding too strong a position for any attempt to be made to relieve him. On the 19th January Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson was ordered to destroy his equipment and make his way back as best he could round the enemy position. Throughout the fighting, which lasted for four days, he set a magnificent example of brave leadership, determination and outstanding courage. He not only showed fighting qualities of a very high order but throughout exposed himself to danger without any regard to his own personal safety. 

Supplement to The London Gazette of 13 February 1942. 13 February 1942, Numb. 35456, p. 749

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