Thursday 26 April 2012

Lest We Forget

Yesterday was a day of remembrance. 97yrs ago the ANZACs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) landed at Gallipolli 1915. It was a matter of poor planning and bad maps. They had been told the wrong place to land. Thousands died that first day. It is the spirit of those that fought for our freedom.

ANZAC day is about remembering those who fought and those who are still fighting for our freedom. It's remembering the spirit of the fighters, their never ending ingenuity and love for our country.

One of my favourite stories about the battle at Gallipoli is about Simpson and his donkey.

John Simpson Kirkpatrick was born in Britain but later moved to Australia. In August 1914 he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force, serving at Gallipoli the following year as Private John Simpson in the 3rd Field Ambulance, Australian Army Medical Corps. He served from the time of the landing at Gallipoli on 25 April until he was killed in action on 19 May.

Simpson became famous for his work as a stretcher-bearer. Using one of the donkeys brought in for carrying water, he transported wounded men day and night from the fighting in Monash Valley to the beach on ANZAC Cove. He did so, according to Charles Bean, through "deadly sniping down the valley and the most furious shrapnel fire". He was killed by machine-gun fire while carrying two wounded men and was buried on the beach at Hell Spit.

The war diary of the 3rd Field Ambulance commended "the excellence of the work performed by Pte Simpson continuously since landing". Simpson was posthumously Mentioned in Despatches. His first donkey was known as Abdul, Murphy, or Duffy.

There are many other stories like this one of people who fought bravely for their country against the worst odds.




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