Staff Sergeant William Harris - Pahang State North Malaya Boxing Day 1956

Whilst  I was researching a murder that occurred in Parkwood Springs, Sheffield in the winter of 1956, I came across this tragic account in The Sheffield Star dated 4th January 1957. Like many emergencies and insurgencies in the past, the one that occurred in Malaya in 1956 has become a footnote in history and is remembered by fewer and fewer people.

Arnold Harris witnessed the death of his father William at the hands of Chinese insurgents on Boxing Day 1956 and he recounts the events of that day in this article. 

And whilst I was researching this article I came across this information that appeared in the Sheffield Star dated 13th May 2010

"SOLDIERS William Harris and Brian Dunkley, like so many other brave warriors, died miles from home. Now their families are the first in South Yorkshire to receive a prestigious new military award - the Elizabeth Cross. The medal, inaugurated last year, is unique in being granted not to soldiers themselves but specifically to family members left behind when their loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice. Arnold Dunkley from Dronfield, now aged 68, was just 15 when he watched his father die. Staff Sergeant William Harris had been posted with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in Malaya when Arnold, at boarding school in England, visited for the Christmas holidays. On Boxing Day 1956 Staff Sgt Harris took his son on a dawn mission to rescue a broken-down vehicle. They were returning to base when their convoy was caught in an ambush and sprayed with machine gun fire. Despite his efforts to save him, Arnold watched his dad die in the Land Rover, alongside seven Malaysian soldiers. Only three men survived. Receiving the Elizabeth Cross from Lord Lieutenant David Moody in Sheffield Town Hall Arnold, a retired engineer, said: "I am very pleased that at long last dad has been recognised for his bravery and sacrifice"

Yes and so am I!


Sheffield Star dated 4th January 1957 and 13th May 2010 

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This page was last updated on 05/12/18 14:34