ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Simpson and His Donkey

Updated on January 14, 2020

Birth of a Nation

The World War One battle of Gallipoli was a defining moment in Australia's fledgling history. Australian war correspondent C.E.W. Bean described the landing of Australian soldiers at Anzac Cove on April 25th 1915 as the 'Birth of a Nation'.Many heroes and legends were born at Gallipoli during the campaign but none more heartfelt to Australians as John Simpson Kirkpatrick, better know as Simpson and his Donkey. He may not have been awarded a Victoria Cross or any other bravery award but his actions in four weeks at Gallipoli earned himself the status of an Australian legend and icon, that is still revered to this day. This is the story of how Simpson became an unlikely hero of the Australian people.


Early Life

 Simpson was born in England in 1892,  his bravery was first recognised at a young age of thirteen when he saved two drowning children in the River Tyne.  He was one of eight children and was often seen playing with all kinds of animals.  In 1910 he joined the merchant navy as a stoker and sailed for Newcastle, Australia.  A very loyal family man he sent a large proportion of his wage back home to his mother.  He was not however loyal to his employer, as he deserted the ship as soon as it docked.  For the next few year he roamed Australia taking on a number of jobs such a farming, cane cutting and coal mining.  He soon found his way to Fremantle and this is where he enlisted in the army just three weeks after the break out of World War One.

Military Life

Simpson did not have dreams of glory when he enlisted in the army. His motivating factor for signing up was a free ticket back to England, but after the ship stopped in Egypt, Simpsons plans were going very wrong. As Simpson was a physically strong man he was sent into the Field Ambulance Corp as a stretcher bearer. Simpson was one of the first waves of men to land at Anzac Cove and out of 1500 men only 755 remained at the days end. Stretcher bearers were supposed to act in pairs but Simpson spied a donkey in the scrub and started ferrying injured men down from the frontlines of battle to safety using the donkey. Simpson would sometimes start a five o'clock in the morning and work for up to eighteen hours carting the wounded back down to the beach. Day in day out for four weeks he braved rifle and machine gun fire to carry the wounded soldiers out of harms way. He seemed to have some kind of bullet proof shield around him and it is said he saved the lives of over three hundred allied soldiers. On the 19th of May he was struck in the heart by a Turkish bullet and died instantly.

Simspn the Legacy

 Although he did not win any bravery awards, Simpson was twice recommended for the Victoria Cross but a clerical error denied him of this honor.  The Australian people though have elevated his status to somewhat iconic proporti0ons over time and he sits proudly with many other wartime heroes.  He have been immortalised on Australian stamps and coins over the years and there is a famous bronze statue of him and his donkey at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. 

His gravestone in Gallipoli reads 'HE GAVE HIS LIFE THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE'.

John Simpson Kirkpatrick is truly an Australian hero.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)