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Complete Story of Simpson's Donkeys.  

Carrying Wounded in Shrapnel Gully.

(By Ex-Captain.)

Many times has the story of Simp- son and his Anzac donkeys been told, but this is the first occasion on which a comrade has supplied to the press a detailed account of the doings of Simpson (or Murphy as he was called on the Peninsula) from the time he joined the A.I.F., until he was shot through the heart by a Turkish sniper between The Bloody Angle and Shrap- nel Corner, at the head of Shrapnel Gully. Driver Moroney, who was a member of the same stretcher-bearer section, and who had always been a close comrade of Simpson, is now in Cairns, and is staying at the Post Office Hotel, passing through to New Guinea, where he is taking up a posi- tion under the Hampden-Cloncurry mining syndicate. Dvr. Moroney cor- rects several inaccuracies that appear- ed in the history of Simpson in the London "Times" and the "British Australasian." Here is the story as he gave it in conversation with a rep- resentative of the "Post" on Wednes- day morning:—

Simpson was a native of South Shields, England, and, when war   broke out he was in Fremantle. His

true name was John Simpson Kirk- patrick, and he had been a fireman on deep-sea boats. For reasons of his own he joined the A.I.F. under the name of John Simpson. He was allot- ted to C. section of the 3rd Field Am- bulance, a unit of the Australian Army Medical Corps, comprising men from Queensland, South Australia, West Australia and Tasmania. Moroney, who hails from Mount Morgan, was put on the strength of A. section, and the two men met for the first time on December 8, 1914, at Mena Camp, near the Pyramids, in Egypt.

Simpson as a Stretcher-Bearer.

As a stretcher-bearer, Simpson, whose number in the section was 202, chafed bitterly at the hard discipline of the desert training. He refused to drill, and refused to salute. Sergeant Gunn, of Brisbane, under whose im-   mediate charge he was, could make nothing of him, with the result that Simpson was allowed to take a stret- cher into the desert, accompanied by a mate, and carry on with his own training. He seems to have fallen foul at an early stage of his career with a warrant officer that had pre- viously been a staff instructor in Aus- tralia. No comment is here offered in regard to the sternness of the warrant officer, who is now a captain, or the waywardness of Simpson. It is just a matter of setting down a fact that

Moroney says was notorious in the unit, and which caused Simpson to rely more and more on himself, and to assert he would never obey a com- mand from the Field Ambulance. He perfected himself in the art of render- ing first aid, and Moroney was his companion frequently on these strange visits to the desert.

Simpson sailed from Alexandria on   February 27 on the Malta, and landed on March 4 at Lemnos. The 9th Bat- talion, under Lieutenant-Colonel Lee, arrived simultaneously. There was also the First Field Company of En- gineers (New South Wales), the 4th Army Service Corps, under Major Light, a Queenslander, the 7th Bat- tery, under Lieut.-Colonel (now Major-General) Charlie Rosenthal, and Major (now Colonel) Hughes, A.FA. Moroney's chief recollection of the Lemnos days were of the bitter cold, and of visits paid to the mill for sugar and cognac, of trips to Castro and Mudros with Simpson, and of en- deavors to understand the language of the French Moroccans ,who were on the island. They also made a trip to

the Queen Elizabeth for stores and rations. They embarked on April 20, and left with a convoy comprising several infantry transports for Anzac on Saturday, April 24.

Murphy Carries Wounded in Shrapnel  


Just before dawn on that memor- able Sunday in April, Simpson landed in the first tow. Moroney landed in the second. Simpson found a donkey on the Anzac Beach, that had be- longed to the Turks. It is not true, says Moroney, that he took a donkey with him from Egypt, as was reported in the Sydney "Sun's" account. This   was not only impracticable, but was impossible in view of the stringent transport regulations. It is not known whether Simpson named the donkey  

Murphy, but both the donkey and   Simpson got that name from the   troops. Murphy commenced carrying wounded from Shrapnel Gully to the hospital on the beach controlled by

Major Richards, of Mount Morgan. This gallant doctor practically worked himself to death on the beach in these

dark days, and when at last he was  

stricken down with illness he did not  

survive to reach hospital in Alexan-  

dria. He was buried at sea in the Eastern Meditteranean.

Simpson tied a Red Cross brassard round Murphy's head, and used him  

carrying men that had been wounded in the legs. He also affixed a small   stretcher pillow on the donkey's with-  

ers, and thus fashioned something of a resting place for the patient's head when he was too weak to hold it up. He was known everywhere. He had no regular camping place, and never went near his unit except for an oc- casional yarn and a game of cards when there was a spell in the fighting.

"At Quinn's Post,", says the "British Australasian," it was almost certain death for the stretcher-bearers to ven- ture out in search of the wounded. Simpson and Murphy went out day   after day through a murderous fire and carried back many a man into safety." For five weeks the Man with the Donkey trudged up and down the gully with wounded. He ate his meals where he happened to be at the time. Everyone knew him, and rea- lised that here was a man who was sacrificing his life more gallantly than could any hero of the Dardanelles   His donkey was fed by the Indian mountain battery, who also stalled him on occasions. Other times Mur- phy just snatched sleep when his master did.

Simpson was charged as a deserter by his unit. He came up before the orderly room, and was sentenced to be court-martialled. He was liberated     to open arrest, and told to report for duty with his unit. Simpson said he   had no unit, and his parade ground was No Man's Land, and to No Man's Land he accordingly went. He had many very narrow escapes, for throughout his trips up and down the gully bullets and shrapnel fell con- stantly round him. He laughed at   them, and took no more notice than if they had been a summer shower.   Seven days after the landing Murphy was killed by a shrapnel bullet, while bearing a wounded man. Simpson pulled him off the track — there was no time to bury him — and left him. Later in the day he stole a donkey from the Indian mountain battery, and shortly after came across another that had been carrying ammunition when his driver was killed. He commandeered this one too, and now set to work carrying wounded with two Murphys'. A British officer, two days after, identified the battery's donkey in Simpson's novel cavalcade, and took     him away, saying he would report Simpson to the Colonel. Simpson's reply is unprintable. He then carried on with Murphy II. He always ren- dered first aid to his patients, and Moroney often saw him carrying a second patient on his back.

Simpson Killed by a Sniper.

There was an open clearing that   connected two saps at the head of Shrapnel Gully. It was regarded as one of the most dangerous spots on   Anzac. Hidden snipers brought about the death of many an unwary fellow     who did not duck and run rapidly across the open space. Latterly a sniper guard was placed at each end of the sap. Simpson had passed the place often before, but scorned the advice of the guards, saying that no Turk could possibly get him. On a  

day in the first week in June, Simpson and Murphy came along The guard       warned him that the Turkish snipers   were particularly active that morning. Simpson's only reply was to hit his donkey on the rump with his hat. The donkey went on and got across safely. The sniper was evidently expecting someone to follow the animal. When Simpson appeared the Turk took aim, and the gallant stretcher-bearer fell, shot through the heart. He lay on

the ground and never moved. On his   face was a smile, just such as had   brought comfort and consolation to   many a wounded comrade. The guard   called to him, but no answer came.   It was two o'clock, in broad daylight,   and it meant sudden death to attempt  

to move him. All the afternoon he lay there, smiling up at the blue sky. Bullets fell unheeded around him. Murphy continued on his way and arrived at the hospital with his       wounded freight. Inquiries were at once set on foot, and the news soon reached the troops that the Man with the Donkey had gone to a new battle- field, where, by Heaven's gates, he was helping the soldiers through.

"Some of us," says Captain Bean, in one of his letters, "were sitting yearning one evening," while the sun was setting over the sea, turning the craters of Imbros into a dull grey, set against a background of the most delicate rose. "I suppose you have heard that the Man with the Donkey is dead," said a passer-by. The news came as a terrible shock. For five weeks he came up and down the val-

ley, through the aimed bullets of sni- pers, and through the unaimed bullets coming over the ranges, as well as the shrapnel that was always with us. On this day he was engaged as usual,   clearing the wounded. He came to a   guard position and asked for lunch. It was not ready ,and he said, "Never mind; have a good dinner for me   when I come back.' But he never

came back."    

When night fell, they buried Simp- son in a corner of the hills, near where Lieutenant Owen Smyth, of a Queens-

land battalion, found a last resting   place. They fashioned a rude cross over his grave. The whole of the       A.I.F. mourned him as a brother. Many a soldier passed on his way in and out of the line and gazed at the simple little cross, with its meagre inscription, and felt that one of God's best men lay beneath it. With the Battalion of the Dead, at Shrapnel Gully, he lies, awaiting the last bugle call.            

His Mother's Letter.

Simpson's mother, Mrs. Kirkpat- rick, of South Shields, was soon ap-   prised of the death of her son. He     was the only surviving son, and was greatly devoted to his mother and       sister, who had depended on his earn- ings as a ship's fireman. Writing to a   friend in Melbourne, Mrs. Simpson     said: "Tell the Australians from me,  

his mother, that my heart is bursting   with sorrow, but also with pride to

know that my beloved son and light of my life died with the brave Aus-   tralians."                

Australia will not forget Simpson,   otherwise Murphy, of whom it has     been nobly written that the last of men he saved —

Saw from the veil of the breathless night,           A half-dressed shade that stole   Sorrowful, seated upon an ass On a colt, an ass's foal ;

Lingered and looked, and went, and a


In the dead eyes, dimly glassed,       Shone for a second and sank again As the man on the donkey passed.

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