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The Anzac Legend. Simpson and his donkey Battle of the Nek Embracing the Enemy The evacuation. John Simpson Kirkpatrick (enlisted as Simpson).

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the anzac legend

The Anzac Legend

Simpson and his donkey

Battle of the Nek

Embracing the Enemy

The evacuation

john simpson kirkpatrick enlisted as simpson
John Simpson Kirkpatrick (enlisted as Simpson)

- Simpson was an Australian army stretcher-bearer who risked his life at Anzac Cove. He used donkeys to carry water to soldiers at the front and collect wounded soldiers

- The picture shows one of the donkeys that Simpson used to transport more than 300 wounded men from the front line

- It shows the donkey wearing a red cross, the symbol used since 1864 to identify medical personnel

- Simpson was killed by machine gun fire in 1915, aged 22


So given Simpson’s acts of courage, do you think that he was ever awarded with the Victoria Cross?

> Yes

> No

The Victoria Cross is awarded to soldiers “who in the presence of the enemy, perform acts of the most conspicuous gallantry”, exhibiting “valor” or “self-sacrifice” or “display extreme devotion to duty."

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- Simpson was twice recommended for the Victoria Cross and once for the Distinguished Conduct Medal, but these and later applications on his behalf were turned down by the British War Office.

- One of Simpson's donkeys, 'Murphy', was posthumously awarded the RSPCA's Purple Cross Award by Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer at the Australian War Memorial in 1997!

the battle of the nek
  • The Battle Of The Nek took place on the 7th of August 1915.
  • The Nek was a narrow stretch of ridge in the Anzac battlefield on the Gallipoli peninsula.
  • The original battle plan included a New Zealand division attacking from a newly captured Chunuk Bair in order to enact a “pincer movement”, but the New Zealanders failed to arrive until the morning of the 8th of August. So there was no longer a reason for the charge to happen.
  • On the morning of the 7th, the artillery shelling was stopped as planned at 4.30am, while the infantry attack was not launched until 4.37am. This was due to the artillery officer and the assault officer not synchronising their watches!
  • After several mistakes that gave the Turks time to prepare for an attack, the Australians fixed bayonets, leapt out of their trenches and charged the Turkish lines. In just 30 seconds, the first wave of men had all been killed or wounded. Two more waves were to follow the first.
  • At the Nek, they found the bodies of more than 300 Australians in an area smaller than a tennis court.
  • Gallipoli Clip:
embracing the enemy
Embracing The Enemy

Only a few weeks after the 25th April 1915 landing at Anzac Cove, the troops of both sides organised an unofficial truce in order to pick up their wounded, bury the dead and share a cup of tea.

the evacuation
The Evacuation
  • After eight long months of bitter fighting, the British High Command decided that the war at Gallipoli was too costly when they were also fighting other battles in Europe.
  • The ANZACs alone had lost 10,000 men, and so the order came for a withdrawal.
  • This news upset the ANZACs, as they never thought that they would leave Gallipoli until they had won.
  • Over two weeks, 35,000 Australians were evacuated from Gallipoli.
  • They played cricket and walked around smoking and talking in the open. They rigged rifles – ‘ghost guns’ they called them – so that they would fire after the owners had left. The evacuation was completed on the 9th of January 1916.
  • In July 1915, when the casualty figures coming back from Gallipoli were at their worst, more than 36,000 men enlisted.