Light Horse Art Ron & Jennifer Marshall Marshall Fine Art Editions



Bearing The Wounded

Copyright © 2010 Ron Marshall 

This painting is of John Simpson Kirkpatrick with his donkey Duffy, carrying a wounded ANZAC soldier to the dressing station on the beach at Gallipoli between April 24 and May 19, 1915.

He was a young Englishman, living and working in Australia, and sending regular letters and money home to his mother and sister when World War I began. He enlisted with the Australian Army Medical Corps, hoping that in this way he would eventually be able to return to his family in England.

Simpson landed with the ANZACs on the shore at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915. The defending Turkish Army rained rifle and machine-gun fire down on the ANZACs as they landed on the shore. The huge number of casualties suffered by the ANZACs resulted in a scarcity of stretchers, and stretcher bearers. By mid-morning on the 26th April, the stretcher bearers had to improvise. Two man squads instead of regular four man stretcher squads used oilskin sheets to carry the seriously wounded, slipping and sliding down the difficult terrain. Others like Simpson carried wounded men over their shoulders and down to the beach.

While attending a wounded soldier, Simpson noticed a little donkey grazing nearby, and came up with a better idea. Using some field dressings he made a headstall and lead-rope and caught the donkey, naming him Duffy. He lifted the wounded soldier onto the donkey's back, then with the soldier's arm around his shoulder for support he and Duffy carried the soldier down Monash Valley and Shrapnel Gully to the Dressing Station on the beach. Soon other stretcher bearers were using donkeys as well.

Simpson used a number of donkeys, feeding and sleeping with them at the mule camp of the 21st Kohat Mountain Battery. The Indian Sikh gunners admired Jack, calling him "Bahadur", which means "bravest of the brave." He worked very long hours, all day and long into the nights. It is estimated that he and his donkey saved about 300 soldiers. Walking upright to support the wounded soldiers he could not hide and was an easy target for the Turkish snipers. He was repeatedly warned of the danger to himself, but "My troubles" was his cheery reply. Always a larrikin he was whistling, singing and clowning to his passengers, keeping up a steady stream of cheerful chatter to raise their spirits as he and his donkey carried them to safety.

Admired by all the soldiers fighting in the trenches for his bravery and commitment, it was his Commanding Officer of 3rd Field Ambulance, Lt-Col. Alfred Sutton who tied his own Red Cross armband around Simpson's donkey's head announcing that he was an official member of the unit.

Simpson was killed - shot through the back, while carrying an injured soldier on his donkey, on the 19th of May, aged 22 years. He was buried at a place aptly called Hell Spit.

Tom Curran "Not Only A Hero an illustrated life of Simpson, the Man with the Donkey”

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MATES 1915 - 2015

"The Anzac On The Wall"


 This high quality CD has 15 tracks of poignant beautiful songs. A marvellous gift.

(and yes that is Ron's painting "Desert Persuit" on the cover!) Details

$22.50 inc postage



I picked up the print today from our nosy small town postal worker. "What did you get from Australia?" she asked. When I remarked that it was a print of the Australian Light Horse in WWI all that generated was a very puzzled look.
In any event the print is absolutely gorgeous . . . better "in person" than on the website! Thanks so much for sending it out so fast. Now I've got to make some wall space available . . .
michael-j-martin Mike

Michael J Martin & Virginia, Wisconsin

Dear Mr. Marshall,

Your print on canvas "The Charge" was given to me at my retirement dinner by my officers of the Special Operations Component, Coral Springs Police Department in Coral Springs, Florida. Trully stunning rendition which captures the excitement of the moment while conveying a warmth of comeradeship to the end. It will hang in my study above my collection of King and Country Lighthorsemen collectibles.

I served 35 years with Coral Springs Police Department with the last four years as Captain of the S.O.C. which is 26 officers strong with various units (Tactical & Gang, K-9, Bikes and Substations).

Your painting made my day, thank you, F McK.