Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Front Page -

SOUTH Perth RSL mem­ber Greg Ne­gus trea­sures his Un­cle Cedric Rosser’s World War I me­mora­bilia with good rea­son – he was with John Simp­son Kirk­patrick, or Simp­son as we know him, on the day he was killed.

Mr Ne­gus’ un­cle was among the first Aus­tralian troops to land on the shores of Gal­lipoli on April 25, 1915, re­ceiv­ing a Dis­tin­guished Con­duct Medal for con­spic­u­ous gal­lantry and de­vo­tion to duty.

A pri­vate with 3rd Field Am­bu­lance, Rosser served as a stretcher-bearer with Simp­son and his don­key.

“Simp­son was only with my un­cle for the first few days af­ter they landed at Gal­lipoli, but then Simp­son went off and did his own thing af­ter find­ing a don­key,” Mr Ne­gus said.

“My un­cle kept a di­ary and he was with Simp­son the day he was killed.

“The di­ary is long gone now but I have man­aged to find a let­ter he wrote based on his di­ary en­tries to the now de­funct news­pa­per the West­ern Mail in mid1929. He wanted to cor­rect any wild sto­ries about his mate’s death.”

The let­ter painted a har­row­ing pic­ture of the events that day: “The Turks had made a very fierce attack that morn­ing against our lines but were driven back with great loss. Simmo was bring­ing his man down as usual on the don­key while he walked along­side sup­port­ing his pa­tient. He was shot in the back and dropped dead. The pa­tient man­aged to keep his seat and the don­key con­tin­ued his pace down to the beach and stopped as usual at the dress­ing sta­tion with­out his mas­ter; one of the gamest men who wore the Aussie tu­nic.

“(The don­key) was taken charge of by the 21st Moun­tain Bat­tery of Sikhs... it was ru­moured that one of their of­fi­cers took him back to In­dia.”

“My un­cle died be­fore I was born; af­ter read­ing a sup­ple­ment to Lon­don Gazette I wish I could have met him,” Mr Ne­gus said.

Pri­vate Cedric Rosser, who was one of the first men to land at Gal­lipoli.

John Simp­son Kirk­patrick and his don­key.

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