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Charles Groves Wright Anderson
Charles Groves Wright Anderson VC, MC (1897 - 1988) was a South African-born, Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British Commonwealth forces.
Charles Groves Wright Anderson was born on 12 February 1897 at Cape Town, South Africa. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the King’s African Rifles on 13 October 1916 and fought with that regiment’s 3rd Battalion in East Africa against the German-led Askari. Anderson was awarded the Military Cross for his service in this campaign.
He married Edith Tout in February 1931 and three years later, in 1934, the couple moved to Australia where Anderson had purchased a grazing property near Crowther in New South Wales. He joined the Australian Citizens Military Forces in March 1939. Following the outbreak of World War II later that year, Anderson joined the Second Australian Imperial Force.
During the period of 18-22 January 1942 during the Japanese invasion of Malaya near the Muar River , the 44 year-old Anderson was in command of a small force which destroyed 10 enemy tanks. When they were later cut off, Anderson led his force through 15 miles 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 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.
Charles Anderson entered politics in 1949 standing for the seat of Hume as a representitive of the Country Party. He lost the his House of Representatives seat in the 1951 general election, but regained it in 1955, remaining in office until 1961. He moved permanently to Red Hill in Canberra, having served as a member of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory. He died in Canberra on 11 November 1988.
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