Sunday, September 27, 2015

Murphy the Donkey, a True WWI Story

Murphy's story is true but relatively unknown after almost a hundred years.  Murphy, a small gray donkey was chosen to be a trusty ‘ambulance’ during the bloody Gallipoli campaign in 1915. He carried wounded soldiers over the hilly,craggy terrain to the field hospital as the bombs and snipers’ bullets rained down. The donkey was recruited by Australian stretcher-bearer ‘Jack’ Simpson, who cared for his brave helper day and night. Murphy never gave up or complained; he worked to the point of exhaustion, saving hundreds of lives.
At the end of the battle, when the time came for the donkeys to be returned to Greece, the Australian ‘diggers’ were desperate to protect Murphy - he was one of them, he was a digger and a war hero. They fixed a brown luggage label to his harness, bearing his name and status, and hoped it would secure his safe passage home.


There is a book available on Amazon, but only an eBook..

The story of Murphy and the Australian Jack Kirkpatrick (who had the original idea of using donkeys for transport during the Gallipoli Campaign) is legend in Australia and the UK.  Kirkpatrick served under the name John Simpson and are part of the "Anzac legend."   Kirkpatrick had worked with donkeys as a youth during summer holidays in Australia.  On May 19, 1915, during the third attack on Anzac Cove, Kirkpatrick was shot and killed by enemy fire.  

In May 1997, the Australian RSPCA posthumously awarded its Purple Cross to the donkey Murphy for performing outstanding acts of bravery towards humans.

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