John Simpson (Murph and his Donk) KIRKPATRICK MiD

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KIRKPATRICK, John Simpson

Service Number: 202
Enlisted: 25 August 1914, Blackboy Hill Camp, Perth
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 3rd Field Ambulance
Born: Shields, Durham, England, 6 July 1892
Home Town: Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria
Schooling: Mortimer Road School, South Shields
Occupation: Cane cutter, ship hand, coal-miner
Died: Killed in action, Shrapnel Gully, Gallipoli, 19 May 1915, aged 22 years
Cemetery: Beach Cemetery - ANZAC Cove
Plot I. Row F. Grave 1.
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Camden Haven Memorial, WW1, North Adelaide M9 Defence Health Services "Simpson and his Donkey" memorial **, Simpson and His Donkey, Simpson and his Donkey Melbourne
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World War 1 Service

25 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Blackboy Hill Camp, Perth
2 Nov 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 202, 3rd Field Ambulance, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
2 Nov 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 202, 3rd Field Ambulance, HMAT Medic, Fremantle
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 202, 3rd Field Ambulance, ANZAC Gallipoli

Help us honour John Simpson Kirkpatrick's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography

Undoubtedly now one of the most famed and prominent figures of the ANZAC’s Gallipoli campaign was Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick otherwise known as ‘the man with his donkey.’ Born in England he joined the Merchant Marine which brought him to Australia. It was here in 1910 that he 'jumped ship' and became a roustabout across the country picking up any jobs that he could find. Enlisting when war broke out he was allocated to the 3rd Field Ambulance. After landing at Gallipoli as part of the covering force on the first day Simpson transferred his attention from stretchers to donkeys, using a number of them to ferry lightly wounded men from the battlefield back to safety. Yet, his service was short, with him been killed by machine gun fire on the 19th of May 1915 – the same day as the large Turkish counter-attack - however, his death does not seem to be connected to the assault.

Since then, his fame as an ANZAC has only increased. Consequently, he has had countless books and articles written about him whilst he is also the subject of several famous paintings and sculptures.The RSL-VWM does not intend to repeat these articles and biographies but rather direct the reader to them for further reading. Please see links below and in the sidebar.  

A brilliant statue by Robert Hannaford of Kirkpatrick and one of his donkeys 'Murphy' transporting a wounded soldier, forms the Defence Health Services Memorial in Adelaide - see Link (/explore/memorials/1791)

The Australian War Memorial biography and collection items - Click Here (www.awm.gov.au)

The Australian Dictionary of Biography by G. P. Walsh - Click Here (adb.anu.edu.au)

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