Simpson and his Donkey

Horses were used a lot in the First World War to carry supplies and pull large guns. However in Gallipoli the rugged hills and valleys were not suited to horses so donkeys and mules were used instead. These animals carried water, food and ammunition. They did another important job too ...

Simpson and his donkey
To the memory of our hero comrade "Murphy" (Simpson) killed May 1915

Jack Simpson was an Australian soldier. His job was to carry wounded men on stretchers to safety.

However the day after arriving at Gallipoli, Jack passed a donkey and had a great idea. While it took two men to carry an injured man on a stretcher, with the help of a donkey Simpson could easily carry a man on his own.

Jack would put the injured man on the donkey's back and walk beside the donkey holding the injured man so that he wouldn't fall off. The paths Jack took were very dangerous with bullets flying all over the place. But Simpson knew no fear, carrying men to safety. He would often whistle or sing as he worked. Soldiers were amazed at how he worked so hard to rescue so many men in such dangerous conditions.

While stretcher teams could make six trips to rescue soldiers in a day, Jack and his donkey could make at least twice as many trips. His boss said that, "Simpson was worth a hundred men to me."

Even though the injured man and the donkey carrying him were sometimes shot, Jack often escaped death. Jack used several donkeys, his favourite was called Duffy. Jack had a way with animals and was especially good at knowing how to treat donkeys.

Sadly, one day while helping an injured soldier down the valley on one of his donkey's, Jack Simpson was shot in the back. It was a sad day for the ANZACs as many of them had seen how bravely Jack had worked. There is a special statue of Simpson and his donkey at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

To work out how many soldiers Simpson and his donkeys probably saved, you will need to march off to the Internet.

Take a journey to find out more about donkeys and how to care for them.

 

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