Wednesday, April 18, 2012

ANZAC Day — Simpson and his Donkey

ANZAC day is coming up and you might want to read a story that's about the ANZACs — Simpson and his Donkey. It's a true story about Jack Simpson, a young man who joined the Australian army, hoping for a trip back to England to see his mother.

Instead he found himself landing in Turkey, at Gallipoli, under intense fire.

Jack Simpson wasn't exactly the perfect soldier — he didn't like taking orders, and he loved a good joke. Here he is posing with a skeleton for a photo. He often got into trouble.

He was a big, tall, strong fellow, so the army put him in the Ambulance Corps (corps means group of men.) His job was to work with a partner to carry wounded soldiers to the hospital tents.

But the fighting was on very steep ground and they were being shot at all the time, so it was hard to rescue the wounded soldiers. This is a real photo from 1915.

Simpson saw some donkeys running free and it gave him an idea. He caught a donkey and started carrying wounded soldiers to safety. Using the donkey he could rescue three times the men than he could  with a stretcher.
But this was against official orders.
He was very brave, and rescued many wounded soldiers in very dangerous situations.
The ordinary soldiers thought he was a hero.
His commanding officer agreed. He recommended Simpson for a medal.

But the top army brass didn't agree. 
They wouldn't give a medal to a man who was disobeying orders,  by using a donkey instead of carrying a stretcher.

Simpson became a legend.
He's on a gold coin, on stamps, and there are statues of him.
But Simpson never got his medal.

1 comment:

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