Tuesday 24 April 2007


Anzac Day is a national holiday in Australia and New Zealand which falls on April 25th and commemorates the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps(ANZAC) on the beaches of Gallipoli in 1915.The volunteer force formed part of an allied attack on Turkey, which aimed to take the Gallipoli Peninsula and occupy Constantinople(Istanbul). Despite the heroic efforts, the campaign was a failure. Largely due to inept military leadership by the British High Command,poor tactics and lack of equipment, it was doomed to fail before it had begun.

Of the countless acts of heroism and mate ship during the Gallipoli campaign there is one that is to remain in the forefront of Australian wartime history.It is about a young man and his donkey simply known as Simpson and his Donkey.

John Simpson Kirpatrick was a 22 year old English born man. He deserted from the Merchant Navy in 1910 and tramped around Australia getting work in a variety of jobs. He enlisted in the AIF (Australian Infantry Force) seeing it as a chance to return to England but found himself at ANZAC Cove on 25th April 1915. Simpson carried no arms, did not kill any of the enemy, but in the short space of three weeks, before his death, etched his name in the history books.

Using a donkey named Duffy he carried wounded soldiers from the firing lines down the the medical tents for treatment, he gained a reputation for being undaunted by enemy fire.Simpson was killed by a snipers bullet in Shrapnel Gully on May 19th, 1915 and was buried on the beach at Hell Spit.

We use this day to also commemorate all Australian who died in other Wars. The day commences with a dawn service(to coincide with the Gallipoli landing) at the local war memorial,followed later by a march of ex-service personnel.

My grandfather served in the Great War and his two sons, my uncles served in the Pacific during the second world war.

'They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them'



White Rose Boy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
White Rose Boy said...

The deleted was me (clerical error)

It always amazes me how many lives have been lost throughout history by bad leadership.

Saying that we must never be allowed to forget all the brave heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Wanna_B_slim said...

A very special day to thousands of families.

Spider63 said...

Great story. Sometimes the bravest men in wartime are not armed. Medics are usually in the thick of battles, and they become casualties too.