OPINION: Man with the donkey an Anzac legend

I'VE been fascinated by one Anzac story for most of my life, John Simpson Kirkpatrick , the "man with the donkey".

As a boy I was given a pictorial Australian history book and there was this illustration of Simpson carrying a wounded soldier from the Gallipoli peninsula.

Even though he has the same surname as me, he is no relation.

But for all these years I have carried his story like it was one of my own.

For those that don't know about Simpson and his donkey, the English-born digger worked in the field ambulance corps and ferried wounded men up and down the steep hills and gullies of Gallipoli.

He survived for just under a month and was eventually killed by machine gun fire.

It's estimated he ferried up to 15 men down the steep hills to field hospitals on the beach and may have been responsible for rescuing up to 300 men.

His bravery under constant sniper fire and flying shrapnel was never questioned.

There's a lovely statue of John Simpson Kirkpatrick outside the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, just to the left of the main steps as you are facing the front of the building.

My daughter recently borrowed a book about him from the library.

Now the Anzacs are all gone and many Second World War veterans have died, it's important the spirit of these brave servicemen and women lives on in our young.



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