KUCHING: Iban war hero Datuk Awang Raweng, 104, a former member of the elite Iban trackers during the British colonial era who died at about 2.15 pm yesterday at his son’s residence in Taman Padri, Sri Aman will be accorded a state funeral.
The news was confirmed by his son, Panggau Awang who informed that his father’s remains would be at his house today before being taken to Dewan Suarah Kuching to lie in state for the people to pay their last respects.
“On Monday, the remains will be brought to St Thomas Church, Kuching before being laid to rest at the Heroes Memorial, Taman Budaya, Kuching,” he said.
He came to Malaya as an Iban Tracker around December 1950 before being absorbed into the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment.
For his dedicated service, he was awarded the George Cross, named after King George VI, for gallantry by the Queen of England in November 1951. It was in recognition of his fight against 50 communists in the Kluang forest, Johor alone while defending an injured British soldier, despite sustaining serious injuries himself.
Awang was reported to have flown to London 20 times to attend the reunion of the First Battalion of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiments and Awang’s presence at the event was not as a regular guest, instead he was considered a dignitary and was celebrated as a hero.
He was also given the opportunity to meet Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the royal family at Buckingham Palace, in addition to receiving a special allowance of £100 (RM494) every month from the British government.
He is also the recipient of the Panglima Setia Bintang Sarawak award, which carries the title ‘Datuk’ by Sarawak Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud in 2018.
He also received the Malaysian Service Medal in appreciation of the sacrifices he made for the sake of the country.