KUCHING: The nation’s sole recipient of the George Cross gallantry medal, Datuk Awang Raweng has passed away at his residence in Sri Aman today.
The late Awang is believed to be 95-years-old at the time of his death.
His passing was confirmed by the Department of Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans Affairs, Sarawak director Major Pahot Joll.
According to him, his men are now trying to contact the family of the deceased as well as the officer in charge in Sri Aman to make the necessary arrangements.
“Currently, I can only confirm the news (of the death) and we are still trying to get more information,” he said when contacted.
He was awarded the George Cross — the second highest award in the United Kingdom’s honors system after the Victoria Cross — on Nov 20, 1951.
As a member of the Worcestershire Regiment, he fought off 50 communists while defending the position of an injured British soldier, Private G. Hughes, in Johor in May that year, despite sustaining serious injuries himself.
Prior to his death, the Nanga Skrang native was one of 20 surviving George Cross recipients in the Commonwealth, and the only one from Malaysia.
He had been entitled to meet Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace once every two years and receives a tax-free annuity of about £1,300 from the British government.
He was awarded the Panglima Setia Bintang Sarawak award, which carries the title ‘Dato’, by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud in conjunction with the Head of State’s 82nd birthday in 2018.