AWANG anak RAWANG. His full citation in The London Gazette reads:
Iban Tracker, Johore, Federation of Malaya.
During operations against the bandits in Malaya a section of a platoon of the Worcestersbire Regiment was ambushed by about 50 of the enemy. The leading scout was killed instantly and the Section Commander fatally wounded. Awang anak Rawang was hit through the thigh bone and at the same time a soldier, moving behind him, was hit below the knee, the bullet completely shattering the bone. Awang anak Rawang, although wounded and lying exposed under heavy rifle and automatic fire, collected his own weapons and that of the soldier and dragged him into the cover of the jungle. In view of the impending bandit attack Awang, completely disregarding his own wound, took up a position to defend the injured man. There he remained, firing on every attempt made by the bandits to approach, and successfully drove off several attacks. Ultimately Awang was again wounded, the bullet shattering his right arm and rendering further use of his rifle or parang impossible. Despite loss of blood from his undressed wounds, be dragged himself over to the wounded soldier and took a grenade from the man’s pouch. He resumed his position on guard, pulled out the pin of the grenade with his teeth and with the missile in his left band defied the bandits to approach. So resolute was his demeanour that the bandits, who had maintained their attacks for some forty minutes, and who were now threatened by the other sections, withdrew.The coolness, fortitude and offensive spirit displayed by Awang anak Rawang 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.
Worcestershire Regimental History records the following action:
On 26th May 1951, 12 Platoon, “D” Company (2/Lieut. W. O. Morris, R.A.O.C. att. 1 Worc. R.) were encamped in some rubber on Ulu Paloh Estate, three miles West of Niyor. At about 1530 hours one of the platoon sentries was fired on by a party of eight terrorists. The sentry returned the fire and the terrorists withdrew in a North-Westerly direction. The Platoon Commander then took two sections in pursuit of the terrorists, but after making a wide circling movement through the jungle could find no trace of the enemy and returned to base.
The following morning (27th May) the Platoon Commander, with two sections, set out once more in search of the enemy. They moved due West into the jungle and followed a narrow track, which had jungle on the left and felled jungle on the high ground to the right. The track was used by woodcutters who were engaged in cutting the jungle further back.
Having moved about a quarter of a mile into the jungle, the leading section came under very heavy automatic fire from the front and left flank. The patrol went to ground and returned the fire. In the first few minutes Private Dykes, the leading scout, was killed. The section commander (Corporal Stanton), two more privates (Hughes and Payne), and the Iban tracker (Awang anak Rawang), were wounded. The Platoon Commander shouted several times to Corporal Stanton to withdraw his section, but he received no reply. 2/Lieut. Morris then moved back and deployed the rear section to the left; they then engaged the terrorists as best they could. 2/Lieut. Morris moved forward again to investigate the state of the leading section. During this time he fired two complete magazines from his carbine. The Platoon Commander was killed shortly afterwards, but the Platoon fought on for about forty minutes, when the terrorists withdrew.
The sound of the firing had been heard back at the Company base, and the Company Commander, with two platoons, moved out and arrived at the scene of the action about an hour later.
During the action Private Hughes fell wounded in the middle of the track, and Awang anak Rawang, the Iban tracker, although wounded himself and lying in an exposed position, dragged Private Hughes under cover of a fallen tree. From behind the tree Awang defended Hughes and continued to engage the terrorists when they tried to approach. For his gallantry Awang anak Rawang was subsequently awarded the George Cross. He was the first, and at the time of writing the only, Iban tracker to receive such an honour.
The casualties in the action were 2/Lieut. W. O. Morris, Corporal B. Stanton and Private N. Dykes killed, and the wounded were Private G. Hughes, Private N. Payne and the Iban. The enemy lost three killed, including Lap Kwang, the company commander and a terrorist leader of repute. The terrorists numbered about fifty and were later identified as 3 Platoon and 7 Platoon, 4 Company, of the 9th Regiment. The two sections of 12 Platoon had a total strength of between fifteen and twenty. That's the spirit of the Rangers who evolved from the Iban Scout-BM.