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Anzac legend Simpson to be denied posthumous bravery medal

 
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BerichtGeplaatst: 26 Mei 2008 20:35    Onderwerp: Anzac legend Simpson to be denied posthumous bravery medal Reageer met quote

OHN Simpson Kirkpatrick, the man with the donkey and one of the most enduring of all Anzac legends, will be denied the ultimate recognition of courage and sacrifice — the Victoria Cross.

Ninety-three years ago today, Private Simpson was killed ferrying wounded soldiers to safety from the front line at Gallipoli.

Although his commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Sutton, recommended him for the country's highest military award, the Rudd Government's new Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal will disqualify Simpson from being posthumously awarded the medal. That is because his bravery is not supported by the required documentation: the sworn statements of at least three witnesses to his actions.

The Defence Department has revealed that a VC for Simpson would be ruled out by the independent tribunal, which will be formed next month.

The tribunal, co-ordinated by Mike Kelly, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Defence, is a Labor election promise to "take the politics out of medals decisions".

A spokesman for Dr Kelly said the tribunal would comprise awards authorities, war historians, former Australian Defence Force members and lay people.

But a Defence Department spokesman said: "It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to make an award of a Victoria Cross to Simpson for his action at Gallipoli during World War I."

He said recommendations "must be supported by signed statements of at least three eyewitnesses of the act for which the award is recommended. These statements should be on oath."

Witness accounts of Simpson's deeds exist but they are mostly unspecific diary accounts of his journeys from battlefield to dressing station.

Simpson was fatally wounded in the chest by Turkish gunfire on the morning of May 19, 1915, and was buried at 6.30 that evening at Hell Spit, on the southern end of Anzac Cove.

The day after Simpson's death, Colonel John Monash, then the commander of the Australian Imperial Force's 4th Infantry Brigade at Gallipoli, sent a submission to Australian and New Zealand Divisional Headquarters.

Monash (later General Sir John) wrote: "I desire to bring under special notice, for favour of transmission to the proper authority, the case of Private Simpson … (who) has been working in this valley since 26th April, in collecting wounded, and carrying them to dressing stations."

Sutton, the commanding officer of the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance, who had tied his own Red Cross armband around Simpson's donkey, wrote in his diary on June 1, 1915: "I think we will get a VC for poor Simpson."

Simpson's feats have immortalised him in the minds of Australians.

Candace Sutton is a freelance writer and Lieutenant-Colonel Sutton's granddaughter.
http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/anzac-legend-simpson-to-be-denied-posthumous-bravery-medal/2008/05/18/1211049073091.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 27 Mei 2008 20:40    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Ja, lastig verhaal natuurlijk. Criteria omlaag schroeven kan niet natuurlijk. Aan de andere kant zijn er natuurlijk veel meer van dit soort gevallen geweest. Tunnelers wiens acties in het diepste geheim plaatsvonden en alleen al daardoor bijna geen VC _konden_ verdienen. Er mocht simpelweg absoluut niet over gesproken worden.

Waarom is het trouwens NU opeens een issue eigenlijk? Confused
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BerichtGeplaatst: 27 Mei 2008 20:50    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Ik denk hierom ?
http://www.forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/viewtopic.php?t=12213
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BerichtGeplaatst: 27 Mei 2008 21:29    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote









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BerichtGeplaatst: 27 Mei 2008 21:34    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Och ja, een VC; ik denk dat het veel belangrijker is dat zijn herinnering hoog gehouden wordt...want zo een VC is inderdaad een officiele erkenning, maar hoeveel VC-winnaars zijn nu reeds vergeten?? Ik denk dat zo een erkenning en erkentelijkheid door het publiek een veel groter eerbetoon is dan zo een stuk brons...en in elk geval, hij zelf heeft er eigenlijk niet echt meer iets aan...
pascal
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BerichtGeplaatst: 28 Mei 2008 22:27    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote



Zijn graf op Beach Cemetery (Anzac, Gallipoli)
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BerichtGeplaatst: 28 Mei 2008 22:36    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Ha die Mario, leuk je naam weer eens te lezen!!!

Werd er ter plekke in Gallipoli nog bijzondere aandacht aan deze laatste rustplaats besteed?

Hier het oorspronkelijke graf:

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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Jul 2008 8:04    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Behind the Story of Simpson and his Donkey

I concur with Dr. Brendan Nelson, the Federal Education Minister's call to invoke the story of Simpson and his donkey to inculcate Australian values among Australian students in Muslim schools.

John Simpson Kirkpatrick, an illegal immigrant, jumped ship when the ship he was working as a stoker on, docked in Fremantle. He changed his name to John Simpson to evade deportation. He worked his way around Australia taking on what work he could find. Simpson was sympathetic to the aims of the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.), a radical workers organisation that eschewed parliamentary politics and promoted direct action. The I.W.W. was at the forefront of the successful W.W.I. anti conscription struggle. For their troubles, the group was banned under the War Precautions Act. The I.W.W.'s assets were seized and its members were jailed and deported by the Billy Hughes government.

John Simpson was a strong union man and a socialist. In his letters to his parents in England, he called for a socialist revolution in Britain. He volunteered to join the Australian Armed forces thinking he would be able to score a free trip back to England, never imagining he would end up on the shores of Gallipoli. He became a stretcher bearer, believing this was the best way to avoid combat duties. When he arrived at Gallipoli he adopted a donkey which he called Abdul and for 40 days ferried soldiers who had been injured by flying shrapnel back to the beach for evacuation. He avoided going into the thick of battle to take out the wounded and concentrated on carrying out soldiers on his donkey who were not seriously injured.

John Simpson Kirkpatrick had no intentions of dying for God, King and Country in the senseless and pointless slaughter that was going on around him. Kirkpatrick was an internationalist and preferred the company of the Indian artillery at Gallipoli, sleeping with them at night rather than the Australian troops.

His life and death at Gallipoli was immortalised by a publicity machine that was keen to create an acceptable hero among a war weary public back home. Little regard was taken about the real John Simpson Kirkpatrick and a myth was spun to suit the propaganda needs of a government that was coming under increased pressure back home because of horrifying number of casualties that were occurring.

Dr. Brendan Nelson in true spirit of Australian politics has involved the myths surrounding the Simpson and the donkey story to push a political agenda that has little to do with Australian values and everything to do with the Howard government's myopic re-election strategy. Ironically Dr. Nelson has, by promoting this story, inadvertently evoked values that are anathema to the Howard government but which continue to strike a chord with a significant number of Australians.

Postscript:

Even the Australian War Memorial acknowledges that Kirkpatrick was "a trade union activist". Peter Cochrane in his 1992 book 'Simpson And The Donkey: The Making Of A Legend' goes much further and says "Again and again Simpson’s allegiance to class, his vehemence and anger, have been erased, in favour of the simple tale centred on his alleged loyalty to mother, nation, empire and, in the last instance, to his manhood."

One of Kirkpatrick's letters home to his mother in 1912 gives an idea of his political values when he said "I often wonder when the working men of England will wake up and see things as other people see them. What they want in England is a good revolution and that will clear some of these Millionaires and lords and Dukes out of it and then with a Labour Government they will almost be able to make their own conditions."

According to a report in the Age in 2003 "1920s, pacifist schoolteachers adopted Simpson (Kirkpatrick) and his donkey to turn Anzac Day commemorations away from militarism and towards a celebration of the mateship that passed for socialism in the bush." Also in the same report, Captain Hugo Throssell, VC, told the Peace Day gathering at Northam (WA) in July 1919 that the war had made him a socialist.

Much of the idealized myth of Simpson was generated by Reverend Sir Irving Benson, superintendent of Melbourne’s Wesley Mission, in his 1965 book 'The Man with the Donkey'. Simpson’s politics were effectively excluded to fit the anti-Communist ideological crusade of the time with the rapidly expanding Australian military commitment in Vietnam.

The 'real story' of unionist, anti war Gallipoli martyr Kirkpatrick aka Simpson and his Donkey
Alf: ...I’ll tell you a story about Kirkpatrick. You might know him as Simpson. He was from a village called [Shields End?]. They were seafaring people. So was my grandfather. They were seafaring people when they came out here too. Ships carpenters and various other jobs. They knew Kirkpatrick and he was always visiting their place. They believed in the same things. There was a lot of support at that time for something called the IWW, international [or did he say “industrial”] workers of the world. They were part of that. Seafarers used to carry the message to ports across the world.
Me: Strong mateship eh? What was your grandfather’s name?

Alf: Whalton. W-H-A-L-Tnou hoor...N.

Me: That’s an unusual spelling. [I’m thinking ‘John Boy’ in the Waltons tv series.]

Alf: I have his death certificate at home. So anyway Kirkpatrick hated guns, didn’t want anything to do with them. He thought he would join up here and get a trip back to the UK and disappear as Simpson and start living as Kirkpatrick again. But the ship never got that far, it stopped in a place called Gallipoli.

Me: He was the famous Simpson with the donkey? He did that for about a month or two didn’t he?

Alf: Yeah. He wouldn’t fight you see. Refused to work for the Australian army. He got involved with the Indians. They loved him for helping their wounded. It went to an Australian General they reckon who said just let him be.

Me: He probably knew what would happen to him soon enough.

Alf: Maybe. Some say he was killed by the enemy, some even say it was an Australian bullet. No one knows really.

Me: Where would that latter story come from? The Indians?

Alf: Not sure.

Me: You know this is a pretty embarrassing version of history for Defence Minister Nelson. He holds Simpson up as a model of Australian values. He’s put it in an education pack to all Australian schools. Can I quote you on this? I do a bit of web publishing. ,p> Alf: Okay.

Me: What’s your name?
Alf: Alf Rankin.
Bron:
http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/node/50732
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BerichtGeplaatst: 25 Feb 2011 12:43    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Het speelt weer, we naderen 2014 denk ik...

AUSTRALIAN Gallipoli hero John Simpson - famous for saving wounded soldiers with a donkey - and other war veterans may finally be awarded our highest military honour.

An inquiry will examine if Simpson and other heroes such as World War II sailors Teddy Sheehan and Hec Waller should posthumously receive the Victoria Cross.

The Federal Government said yesterday the Independent Honours and Awards Tribunal would investigate the retrospective awarding of VCs.

The three most prominent of the candidates were all killed in action.

Ordinary Seaman Sheehan had strapped himself to his gun and went down with HMAS Armidale in December 1942, while Captain Waller steered his ship HMAS Perth into a pack of Japanese warships.

Simpson died at Gallipoli after he helped numerous wounded Diggers to safety on board his donkey.



Tasmanian Liberal Senator Guy Barnett, who is pushing for the retrospective awards, said he was motivated by respect and honour for the gallant men. "Especially Teddy Sheehan, who is an outstanding Tasmanian," Senator Barnett said.

The young sailor was awarded the minor Mentioned In Dispatches (MID) for his gallantry.

Senator Barnett said not one of Australia's 98 VCs (94 army, four RAAF) had gone to a sailor.

Sheehan's nephew Garry Ivory said: "We have been fighting for this since the late 1940s and this might be our best bet yet."

(c) http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/brave-war-heroes-may-be-awarded-posthumous-vc/story-e6freuzr-1226011619252
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BerichtGeplaatst: 25 Feb 2011 12:46    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

John Simpson Kirkpatrick: Simpson and his donkey

John Simpson Kirkpatrick was born in Britain but later moved to Australia. In August 1914 he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force, serving at Gallipoli the following year as Private John Simpson in the 3rd Field Ambulance, Australian Army Medical Corps. He served from the time of the landing at Gallipoli on 25 April until he was killed in action on 19 May.

Verder op:
http://www.awm.gov.au/encyclopedia/simpson.asp
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BerichtGeplaatst: 25 Feb 2011 12:48    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

THE independent honours and awards tribunal is to investigate whether the Victoria Cross could be awarded retrospectively to deserving servicemen from two world wars.

That could include Private John Simpson, killed on Gallipoli after transporting numerous wounded soldiers to safety on his donkey, and Ordinary Seaman Teddy Sheehan, lost on HMAS Armidale in December 1942.

Also mentioned as deserving of the VC are Captain Hec Waller, lost on HMAS Perth in March 1942, Lieutenant Commander Robert Rankin, lost on HMAS Yarra in March 1942 and Captain Henry Stoker, commander of the submarine AE-2 which penetrated the Dardanelles at the start of the Gallipoli campaign in 1915.

An inquiry by the independent Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal will be the most comprehensive assessment yet of an issue which has surfaced routinely for decades.

Most recently it was raised last year by Liberal senator Guy Barnett who asked why not one of Australia's 98 VC medals had gone to a sailor.



Parliamentary secretary for defence David Feeney said he had formally referred the VC issue for inquiry in the past week.

Defence force head Angus Houston said there had been much discussion and debate on this issue within the defence department.

"There are a lot of constraints and limitations on the award of Victoria Crosses and we needed to better understand just what was involved," he told a Senate estimates hearing.

Head of defence legal services Mark Cunliffe said the tribunal would consider submissions, hold a series of public meetings then come up with recommendations to government.

It would be a lengthy process, he said.

"It's also a process which has a decision ultimately resting with the Queen," he said.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/ipad/gallipoli-hero-simpson-in-line-for-vc/story-fn6ck4a4-1226010802842
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Apr 2011 23:39    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Simpson's Gallipoli gallantry considered for VC
Updated Sat Apr 16, 2011 3:24pm AEST


The inquiry is expected to take months. (AAP : Mark Graham)

Thirteen former Australian servicemen are to be considered for a posthumous Victoria Cross.

The legendary Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick, whose deeds in Gallipoli have come to epitomise the Anzac spirit, is among two army and 11 naval personnel who are being considered for the country's highest military honour.

The independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeal Tribunal is to examine whether the men's valour can be retrospectively recognised with the VC.

The VC has never gone to an Australian Navy sailor, largely because of problems finding witnesses when entire ships sank.

The parliamentary secretary for Defence, David Feeney, says the men's stories are heroic and they deserve recognition.

"A number of people have raised the issue of a Victoria Cross for former Defence Force personnel," he said in a statement.

"I am pleased that the tribunal will inquire into recognition for thirteen naval and military personnel. Their brave acts of gallantry and valour deserve greater recognition."

The tribunal will take submissions and conduct public hearings in the second half of the year.

The inquiry is expected to take months.

Tribunal chairman Professor Dennis Pearce said before making any recommendations on the eligibility of the 13 cases, they would consider the rules, procedures and issues of principle relating to award of the VC and other forms of appropriate recognition plus the evidentiary standards.

"We will consult experts in the field of honours and awards. We will also take into account the constitutional and diplomatic issues," he said.

"Only once this has all been done, will the tribunal be able to proceed to the consideration of the 13 cases."

There would appear to be significant challenges.

Until 1991, the VC was awarded to Australians through the Imperial honours system. In 1991, Australia adopted the VC for Australia, an identical medal but awarded through the Australian honours system.

However, the VC for Australia can still only be awarded "with the approval of the Sovereign, by instrument signed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister".

The tribunal will also take submissions from members of the public on others who might also be worthy of recognition for gallantry, although they will not be considered in detail at this time.

There would appear to be no shortage of possible contenders.

For example, Harry Smith, who commanded Australian troops at Long Tan during the Vietnam War, last month called for Warrant Officer Jack Kirby to receive the VC for gallantry during that battle.

(c) http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/04/16/3193455.htm
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BerichtGeplaatst: 21 Apr 2011 0:12    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Het bericht wordt niet overal met gejuich ontvangen:
Lopende discussie hier:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gallipoli-1915/180766336685

En:
Simpson and his donkey: the radical truth

By Hamish Chitts


Anzac Day has long been less about remembrance of the people slaughtered in wars for Australia’s capitalist class and their foreign friends and more about creating a culture of blind nationalism and militarism. Particularly since the beginning of the “war on terror” in 2001, the deification of the digger, militarism and nationalism have been ramped up by the Howard, Rudd and Gillard governments.

The Australian military employs public relations companies and brand managers, just like fast-food companies, and is given free access to schools to sell children its dodgy “product”, which is based on lies and distortions of history. It presents a two-dimensional caricature of what capitalist politicians and their corporate masters think all workers should be: submissive flag-wavers who always put the interests of the Australian ruling class above their own. An outstanding example of this is the story of John Simpson Kirkpatrick, which was turned into the nationalist icon “Simpson and his donkey”.

In 2005, the then education minister, Brendan Nelson, praised Kirkpatrick’s self-sacrifice and mateship, saying, “He represents everything at the heart of what it means to be Australian”. Nelson said his example should be taught in schools, particularly those with large numbers of Muslim immigrant children.

In his racist fervour, Nelson, like many others, ignored the real Kirkpatrick. John Kirkpatrick was from northern England, born to Scottish parents, and never identified as Australian. He deserted from the British merchant navy and was a radical trade unionist who wrote letters home about the need for revolution in England. He was in the Australian Imperial Forces that landed at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915, where he began taking injured soldiers on donkeys to the beach for evacuation. When Kirkpatrick was fatally wounded on May 19, 1915, the legend departed from the truth.

Militant worker
Kirkpatrick was from the village of South Shields, at the mouth of the River Tyne. Seafaring, ship building and coal mining were its main industries. In 1904, when Kirkpatrick was 12, his father was badly injured at sea; he lay bedridden at home until his death in 1909. During this time Kirkpatrick drove a milk cart to help support the family.

Two days after his father’s funeral, Kirkpatrick left to become a seafarer on the SS Heighington, bound for the Mediterranean and North Africa. Upon his return, Kirkpatrick got a job as a stoker on the SS Yeddo, bound for South America and Australia. Conditions aboard were so bad that when the Yeddo arrived at Newcastle, NSW, Kirkpatrick and 13 other crewmen jumped ship - a serious offence in the merchant navy. He spent the next four years as an itinerant worker and ship’s stoker.

He was not the loyal servant of god, king and country the official histories portray. The real Kirkpatrick was a militant, class-conscious worker forged in the horrendous conditions of Edwardian England and Australia and influenced by the growing international workers movement. In 1912 Kirkpatrick wrote to his mother about workers’ struggles in the “old country”:

“I see that the railway men who get 24 bob a week have got a rise of 3½ percent. I suppose that they must have caught the owners when they were drunk and [in] a generous state of mind to have got such a hell of a rise. I suppose the railwaymen will be going about like Lords now that they have got a shilling a week rise but I suppose the Lords and Dukes will take it off them next year again as the expenses will be too big for them to keep up ... I often wonder when the working men of England will wake up and see things as other people see them. What they want in England is a good revolution and that will clear some of these Millionaires and Lords and Dukes out of it and then with a Labour Government they will almost be able to make their own conditions.” (At the time, the British Labour Party was only 12 years old and still the focus of the hopes and activity of many socialists and militant unionists.)

IWW
Kirkpatrick has also been associated with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), formed in 1905 at a convention of 200 socialists, anarchists and radical trade unionists from all over the United States. They advocated one big industrial union rather than separate trade unions, rank and file organising (as opposed to empowering leaders who would bargain on behalf of workers) and direct action (including strikes and sabotage) against the capitalist class.

In 2007, Sydney Indymedia carried an interview with Alf Rankin, whose grandfather had known Kirkpatrick in Australia. “They were seafaring people”, Rankin said. “So was my grandfather. They were seafaring people when they came out here too. Ships carpenters and various other jobs. They knew Kirkpatrick and he was always visiting their place. They believed in the same things. There was a lot of support at that time for ... the IWW. They were part of that. Seafarers used to carry the message to ports across the world.”

The IWW were strong opponents of the First World War, and Kirkpatrick shared this view. In 1914 Kirkpatrick had had enough of Australia and was saving up to return to England. “Well Mother”, he wrote on March 1, 1914, “I had a row with the chief of the Tarcoola and I finished up I was out of work for three weeks before I joined this one”, the Yankalilla. “It is four years since I left home. I am beginning to get tired of this country. I think it would be just as well sailing out of home for the money is getting bigger at home ...”

With the outbreak of war, Kirkpatrick saw a chance to get free passage back to England. In August, when the Yankalilla pulled into Fremantle, he jumped ship and enlisted in the army as a stretcher bearer, knowing that troops were receiving final training in England before being deployed in Europe. Rankin explained: “Kirkpatrick hated guns, didn’t want anything to do with them. He thought he would join up here and get a trip back to the UK and disappear as Simpson and start living as Kirkpatrick again. But the ship never got that far, it stopped in a place called Gallipoli.”

Gallipoli
The British plan to invade Turkey to break the deadlock of European trench warfare diverted the Australian and New Zealand troops bound for England to the Gallipoli peninsula. Upon landing at Anzac Cove, Kirkpatrick left his unit, refusing to be part of a four-man stretcher team, and began ferrying slightly wounded soldiers (severely wounded had to be stretchered) from first aid stations to the beach for evacuation.

When a long-running campaign to award Kirkpatrick the Victoria Cross reignited in 2006, heritage consultant Graham Wilson wrote in a scathing commentary: “ ... Simpson (Kirkpatrick) absented himself from his unit, refused to report to said unit, and created for himself a job that was far easier and, despite all that has been said about the perils of his job, far safer than carrying wounded men down Monash and Shrapnel Gullies as part of a bearer team”. Another fact the nationalist legend-makers omit is that Kirkpatrick preferred the company of Indian soldiers to that of his fellow Anzacs, choosing to camp at night with the 6th Indian Mountain Battery.

Kirkpatrick was not a slouch in his self-allotted task, and in the madness and slaughter he became a well-known figure. Around the time Kirkpatrick was killed, the reality of the war was filtering back to Australia, and enlistment in the army dropped dramatically. Propagandists latched onto the story of the man with the donkey, knowing absolutely nothing of Kirkpatrick, and invented the story of the devil-may-care, self-sacrificing, loyal subject of the Empire in an attempt to increase enlistment.

The invented “Simpson” was further fleshed out by Reverend Sir Irving Benson in his 1965 book The Man with the Donkey. Kirkpatrick’s politics were excluded (despite Benson’s possession of Kirkpatrick’s letters) to fit Benson’s anti-Communist crusade and efforts to drum up support for the Australian military commitment in Vietnam. It is Benson’s rewriting of Kirkpatrick’s life that the Gillard government will include, along with many other lies and distortions, in its national history curriculum, which will be imposed on all Australian schoolchildren from next year.

(c) http://directaction.org.au/issue31/simpson_and_his_donkey_the_radical_truth
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BerichtGeplaatst: 20 Apr 2012 23:26    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

John Simpson Kirkpatrick legend an Anzac creation, historian says
by: Max Blenkin From: The Daily Telegraph April 20, 2012 12:00AM

Quote:
HE is part of Anzac legend - recognised with his donkey as a key figure in the Gallipoli story.

But, while John Simpson Kirkpatrick was brave, he does not deserve a Victoria Cross.

That's the view of Canberra author and historian Graham Wilson, who has researched the Simpson story and concluded just about every word written and spoken about him is false.

His book Dust, Donkeys And Delusions - The Myth Of Simpson And His Donkey is to be published in June.

It coincides with an inquiry considering whether Simpson and 12 other soldiers should be awarded the VC.

Wilson, a former army intelligence officer, defence official and now a Department of Veterans Affairs historian, said many of the claims made about Simpson were nonsense.

http://m.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/john-simpson-kirkpatrick-legend-an-anzac-creation-historian-says/story-e6freuzr-1226333761940
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BerichtGeplaatst: 21 Okt 2012 16:29    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

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CALLS for a posthumous Victoria Cross to be bestowed on a South Shields-born Australian war hero have been supported by a new motion from South Tyneside Council.


John Simpson Kirkpatrick and his donkey ferried 300 wounded soldiers to safety during the battle of Gallipoli in the First World War.

Kirkpatrick, ‘the man with the donkey’, was serving with the Australian Anzac forces at the time.

Today a statue of him takes pride of place in the town’s Ocean Road.

And this week, members of the full council passed a new motion calling on council leader Iain Malcolm to write to Australian prime minister Julia Gillard requesting her government to award Kirkpatrick the posthumous honour.

Proposing the motion, Coun Ed Malcolm, said the decision was taken after a recent visit to South Shields by representatives of the Australian Retuned Services League (RSL) Quinns Rocks branch, which has been calling for his heroism to be rewarded.

‘No Fear’

Coun Malcolm said Kirkpatrick was a “man who knew no fear”.

He added: “On April 25, 1915, he obtained a donkey and began carrying wounded British Empire soldiers from the frontline to the beach for evacuation.

“When enemy fire was at its worst orders were posted that ambulance men must not go out, but Kirkpatrick ignored these orders and continued rescuing his wounded comrades through heavy shrapnel and sniper fire.

“He continued this perilous work for three and a half weeks – saving an estimated 300 men – until he himself was killed by a sniper on May 19, 1915.

“His mother was still living in South Shields at the time of his death.

“He is regarded as a true national hero in Australia and is one of South Tyneside’s famous sons.”

Seconding the motion, Coun Fay Cunningham, said: “I have two grandsons living in Australia and they often learn about John Simpson Kirkpatrick’s bravery.

“He was a bit of a lad, a joker who bent the rules and who risked his life time and time again.”

Pte Kirkpatrick was born in Bertram Street, South Shields, in 1892 and emigrated to Australia at the age of 17.

Today, he is considered by the Aussies as one of their greatest war heroes.


http://www.shieldsgazette.com/news/new-bid-to-get-victoria-cross-for-war-hero-1-5046322
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