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Simpson’s Impact

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

The following story is historical fiction.


Private Simpson and his donkey at Anzac Cove.

During the First World War, Anzacs, consisting of Australian and New Zealand troops, had been sent to Turkey. Upon their arrival, they realised, with horror, that it was the wrong place. However, the men fought fiercely. One young man, known as John Simpson Kirkpatrick, served his country with exceptional bravery. After the confusing arrival at Gallipoli, John was stoked when he obtained a wandering donkey, who he lovingly named Duffy. Sadly, Simpson didn’t make it to the end of the campaign, but with the help of his faithful friend, he rescued many wounded.

“What’s happening?” Max yelled. Around the soldiers, bullets whizzed into the foaming, bubbling sea, which threatened to bowl them over. Desperately, the three friends fought to stay together. Grasping a thick rope, Max, Caleb and John - also called Simpson by his mates - slowly and laboriously struggled to shore. When they arrived, confusion reigned. Men shouted and scurried about. Explosions lit the dawn. Suddenly, Max yelled and stumbled over as a bullet hit him in the chest. In the hustle and panic the friends were separated. Poor Max was dead, and the battle had hardly begun.

When he awoke, Caleb was surprised to find that he was actually alive! Around him, men lay on the ground, occasionally groaning in their fitful sleep. Slowly, memories of how he had ended up in the hospital crept into Caleb’s mind. Who was it that had rescued him when he lay almost paralysed in a ditch? His head was clouded. Sitting up, Caleb tried to clear his jumbled, flitting thoughts, which swirled about in a most annoying way. Although he could not yet remember who had saved him, he at least knew he owed the man his life.

Caleb was feeling much better. While he was walking about in the morning’s sun, he heard a commotion nearby. Burdened by an injured man, a donkey swaggered into the hospital grounds. Suddenly, Caleb’s mind clicked. Of course! The man who had rescued him was his good mate Simpson and this must be his donkey. After this -- discovery Caleb felt even better.

Sitting comfortably in his kitchen chair, Caleb gazed reflectively out the window. Duffy munched contentedly on the grass, which waved lazily around in the warm breeze. Soberly, Caleb thought about all that had passed. Beyond Gallipoli’s shores, brave Simpson lay sleeping. Although he had only survived the war for twenty-four days, John had rescued up to three-hundred men, including Caleb. John Simpson Kirkpatrick was heroic. Caleb was determined to make sure that both Simpson and his donkey would never be forgotten.


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