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John Simpson Kirkpatrick (1892–1915)

A writer in the "Daily Malta Chronicle" in a recent issue says:—"I cannot proceed any further without commenting upon the noble work done by the Royal Army Medical Corps. It is utterly impossible to express in words the work done by this gallant body of men. Unremitting in their deeds of heroism, self-sacrificing to what appeared almost like madness, ever ready and anxious to rush forward to the aid of a fallen comrade, there they would kneel, under a withering fire, and tend some poor suffering soul, and carry him to a place of safety. Such acts as these were common amongst them, and many a D.S.M. was won by them that will never be known of. Many of them were shot down in the execution of their noble work. One case in particular is deserving of mention. A young fellow named Simpson (Simmy) a member of the West Australian R.A.M.C., commandeered a small donkey, which he christened "Barney," and all hours of the day or night, whenever there was any fighting going on, Simmy (with his little whip in his hand) and "Barney" were to be found right in the thick of it. Simmy would lift the wounded man on to "Barney's" back, and, if he couldn't sit here, he'd tie him on, and, with a "Gee, Barney," away they would go to the nearest dressing station. This went on day after day and night after night, and where you would see others running for their lives across dangerous spots, Simmy and "Barney" would walk calmly on, as if they were going along some city thoroughfare in times at peace, instead of travelling through a tornado of shot and shell. For 23 days the wonderful hero and his donkey performed many acts of self sacrifice and gallantry, until, on the 18th or 19th of May, poor Simmy came to his end by a sniper's bullet through the heart. Thus ended the career of one of the noblest men, and in my opinion, the most fearless and the greatest hero that set foot on Gallipoli Peninsula. Everybody knew Simmy and "Barney," and when the news of his death became known expressions of profoundest regret were heard from one end of the lines to the other. And many were the vows of vengeance sworn.

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Citation details

'Kirkpatrick, John Simpson (1892–1915)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Simpson, John

6 July, 1892
Shields, Durham, England


19 May, 1915 (aged 22)
Gallipoli, Turkey

Cause of Death

killed in action

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Military Service