Please help identify this officer

GeorgeBates

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Friends,

I am searching for more biographical details for Major R. Anderson of the British Indian Army, who served in Malaya in 1941 - 1942 with III Indian Corps. In mid-January he was liaison officer between the Corps and Westforce HQ, the organization within Malaya Command responsible for defense of western Johore. As acting Brigade Major of 45th Indian Brigade, he participated in the fighting withdrawal from Bakri to Parit Sulong between 20 - 22 January 1942, but can find no mention of him escaping capture, becoming a casualty or having been taken prisoner.

Please share any information concerning this officer (starting with his given name) and career either in this space or off line. Many thanks.

Cheers!

- G
 

GeorgeBates

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Perhaps this could help:
https://sgp1.digitaloceanspaces.com/proletarian-library/singapore-malaysia/Gilbert Mant/Massacre At Parit Sulong (1660)/Massacre At Parit Sulong - Gilbert Mant.pdf
Go to index at the end of the book and you Will find several references to Major R. Anderson
Thanks. This is valuable as I had not previously seen Ben Hackney's and Reg Wharton's full accounts. Unfortunately, when it comes to our Major Anderson, looking at the index it appears the editor confused him with Lt. Col. Charles Anderson. Given the latter's preeminence this is at least somewhat forgiveable. The search continues...
 

Michael Dorosh

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Brigade-Major was a specific term referring to the senior staff officer at a brigade headquarters. He coordinated the work of the HQ and had a number of "G" Branch officers reporting to him, generally captains who were appointed GSO grade III. It wasn't unheard of for a brigade-major to take up a combat post, but I think that generally indicated a dire situation. The best known example I can think of was at Walcheren Causeway in the Netherlands where the brigade-major of the 5th Brigade volunteered to take over a company of the Calgary Highlanders that had lost all its officers. The reason this example is so well known is that the brigade-major was noted to have had no combat experience (not unusual for a BM I suppose) and that the individual involved became the Minister of National Defence after the war.

All of which is to suggest that references to staff officers are generally obscure in the historical record. Even the brilliant ones like Churchill Mann generally didn't get talked about much in histories (or even war diaries). Everyone knows who the wide receivers on the Super Bowl winning team were, but no one cares who the offensive line coach was.

Did Major Anderson take over one of the combat elements of his brigade? Curious what the interest is as it applies to ASL.
 

GeorgeBates

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Did Major Anderson take over one of the combat elements of his brigade? Curious what the interest is as it applies to ASL.
Major Anderson is said to have volunteered to go forward from the Westforce staff to replace the 45th's Brigade Major. He survived a direct bomb hit on the Brigade HQ. From the time the Australian/Indian column evacuated Bakri, staff and rear echelon troops were already participating in pitched firefights. The Australian official history credits this Major Anderson with leading the remaining companies of 4/9 Jat Battalion in securing Parit Sulong on 21 January 1942. Unfortunately, the Australian account does not provide more than the initial of his given name, and my other sources for the Muar battles do not mention this officer at all.
 
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