Charles Groves Wright Anderson

Charles Groves Wright Anderson
Charles Anderson
VC, MC
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Hume
In office
10 December 1949 – 28 April 1951
Preceded by Arthur Fuller
Succeeded by Arthur Fuller
In office
10 December 1955 – 9 December 1961
Preceded by Arthur Fuller
Succeeded by Arthur Fuller
Personal details
Born 12 February 1897(1897-02-12)
Cape Town, South Africa
Died 11 November 1988(1988-11-11) (aged 91)
Red Hill, ACT
Nationality South African Australian
Political party Australian Country Party
Occupation Farmer, Soldier, Politician
Military service
Allegiance British Empire
Service/branch Kenya Defence Force
Australian Army
Years of service 1914–1919
1939–1945
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Commands 2/19th Battalion
Battles/wars First World War

Second World War

Awards Victoria Cross
Military Cross
LtCol Anderson in Thailand,
14 September 1945

Charles Groves Wright Anderson VC, MC (12 February 1897 – 11 November 1988) was a South African-born, Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, a member of the Australian House of Representatives, and a farmer.

Contents

Early life

Born of Scottish parents[1] in Cape Town, South Africa, Anderson was educated in Nairobi, Kenya and Brendon College, England. On 13 October 1916, Anderson was commissioned as a lieutenant in the King's African Rifles. He fought with that regiment's 3rd Battalion in the East African campaign against German colonial forces, such as Askari soldiers. Anderson was awarded the Military Cross for his service in this campaign.[2]

Following the war, Anderson lived the life of a gentleman farmer in Kenya, marrying Edith Tout, an Australian[1] in February 1931. Three years later the couple moved to Australia where they purchased a grazing property near Young, New South Wales. He joined the Citizens Military Forces in March 1939 and following the outbreak of the Second World War, Anderson joined the Second Australian Imperial Force.[2][3]

Second World War

Anderson was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and assigned to the 2/19th Battalion, part of the Australian 8th Division, deployed to Malaya in 1941.

During the period of 18–22 January 1942 in the Battle of Muar near the Muar River in British Malaya, the forty four year-old Anderson was in command of a small force which destroyed ten enemy tanks. When they were later cut off, Anderson led his force through fifteen miles (24 km) of enemy-occupied territory, being attacked by air and ground forces all the way. They were again surrounded and suffered heavy casualties; although the detachment attempted to fight its way through another eight miles (13 km) of enemy-occupied territory, this proved impossible, and Anderson had to destroy his equipment and attempted to work his way around the enemy. However he insisted on protecting the wounded from his unit and refused to leave them. For these actions, Anderson was awarded the highest and most prestigious decoration for gallantry in the face of the enemy that could be awarded to British Commonwealth forces.[4]

His V.C citation, as listed in the London gazette, 13 February 1942, states: for setting a magnificent example of brave leadership, determination and outstanding courage. He not ony showed fighting qualities of very high order but throughout exposed himself to danger without any regard for his own personal safety[1]

Anderson was captured and became a prisoner of war for three years (1942–1945). He was the chief staff officer under Brigadier Arthur Varley of the 22nd Brigade in A Force - the first contingent of voluntary POWs at Changi POW camp to avail themselves of a Japanese "offer" to move to a new location where they were told there would be abundant food and a healthy climate. In reality the group of 3,000 were shipped to Burma and were used as slave labour to build the 415 km railway link between Nong Pladuk in Thailand and Thanbyuzayat in Burma.[1]

His appointment in the army was terminated on 21 December 1945 and he returned to his property in New South Wales.[2]

Later life

Charles Anderson entered politics in 1949, winning the Division of Hume as a representative of the Country Party with an 18.8% swing. He lost his House of Representatives seat in the 1951 federal election, unsuccessfully stood for Hume at the 1954 election before regaining the seat in 1955, and remaining in parliament until his defeat at the 1961 election.[2] While in parliament Anderson served as a member of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory.

Anderson owned farming properties around Young, New South Wales, and following his retirement from politics in 1961, moved permanently to Red Hill in Canberra, where he died in 1988.[2]

There is a memorial stone and plaque for Anderson at Norwood Crematorium, Australian Capital Territory.[5] His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, Australia.[6]

Honours & Awards

Victoria Cross (UK) ribbon.png

Military Cross ribbon.png 1914-15 Star ribbon.jpg BWM ribbon.jpg Victory medal (UK) ribbon.png

1939-45 Star.gif Pacific Star.gif War Medal 1939–1945 (UK) ribbon.png Australian Service Medal 1939-45 ribbon.jpg

Victoria Cross (UK) ribbon.png Victoria Cross (VC)[2] (1942)
Military Cross ribbon.png Military Cross (MC)[2] (1916)
1914-15 Star ribbon.jpg 1914-15 Star[citation needed]
BWM ribbon.jpg British War Medal[citation needed]
Victory medal (UK) ribbon.png Victory Medal[citation needed]
39-45 Star BAR.svg 1939-1945 Star[citation needed]
Pacific Star.gif Pacific Star[citation needed]
War Medal 1939–1945 (UK) ribbon.png War Medal 1939–1945[citation needed]
Australian Service Medal 1939-45 ribbon.jpg Australia Service Medal 1939-45[citation needed]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d Thompson, Peter (2008) Pacific Fury, William Heinemann, Sydney p227
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Lieutenant Colonel Charles Groves Wright Anderson, VC, MC". Who’s who in Australian Military History. Australian War Memorial. http://www.awm.gov.au/people/8219.asp. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  3. ^ 'Anderson, Charles Groves Wright (1897 - 1985)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 17, Melbourne University Press, pp 16-18.
  4. ^ "Lieutenant Colonel Charles Groves Wright Anderson, VC, MC". Australian Military Units. Australian War Memorial. http://www.awm.gov.au/people/timeLine_8219.asp. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  5. ^ "VC burials in Australia". victoriacross.org. http://www.victoriacross.org.uk/ggaustra.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  6. ^ "Australian War Memorial". victoriacross.org. Archived from the original on 2007-07-16. http://web.archive.org/web/20070716095534/http://www.victoriacross.org.uk/ddausawm.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 

External links

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Arthur Fuller
Member for Hume
1949–1951
Succeeded by
Arthur Fuller
Preceded by
Arthur Fuller
Member for Hume
1955–1961
Succeeded by
Arthur Fuller

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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