By Sarah Hafizah Chandra & Natasha Jee
KUCHING: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the government of the United Kingdom, represented by Group Captain Simon Hindmarsh, paid their last respects to Datuk Awang Raweng.
“Once we heard of Awang’s passing, it became the utmost priority for me to get away from the Peninsular to pay our respects and offer our condolences,” said the Defence Advisor of the British High Commission, who is based in Kuala Lumpur.
“Not just personally, but on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who has met Awang on several occasions,” he said when met by reporters at the Kuching Civic Centre here on Monday (Sept 21).
Capt Hindmarsh added that Awang was known as a courageous soldier who made significant contributions in 1951 that earned him the George Cross medal.
“The George Cross medal is the second highest honour that can be awarded to a military serving member in Her Majesty’s armed forces but it can also be awarded to civilians.
“It sits just below the Victoria Cross in terms of hierarchy of medals. The George Cross medal is awarded for incredible courage as we saw in the late Awang.”
Awang was a recipient of annual annuity from both the Malaysia and British governments.
“At this stage, we are unsure whether the annual annuity will continue beyond his death.
“But it is an inquiry we will make. If it is possible to continue and support his family, it will be done so,” he said when asked whether the British government would continue to provide assistance to Awang’s family.
Capt Hindmarsh also said it was a privilege to be able to attend the prayer service and funeral as a representative of Her Majesty and the British government.