As Australia continues to commemorate the Centenary of Anzac, it is not just our diggers whom we remember. Australian heroes came in all different shapes, sizes… and species.
Creatures great and small who contributed their strength, energy and lives to the Australian Imperial Forces and the Australian Defence Force helped to define the spirit of our great nation.
Donkeys are well equipped with sturdy feet and shorter legs than horses, and are built to withstand the hot or rugged environments better than their equine cousins. They also have the strength and endurance that allows them to conquer the steepest hills and rockiest surfaces, even with a lot of weight on their backs.
In the First World War, donkeys were four-legged delivery trucks, transporting water and ammunition to soldiers. John Simpson Kirkpatrick, a stretcherbearer with the 3rd Field Ambulance, decided that one donkey (named Murphy) was destined for greater duties.
A simple blanket and bandages gave Murphy a saddle and a bridle, and he became an ambulance to carry battle worn and wounded soldiers. Murphy served on Gallipoli for three weeks until John’s untimely death on 19 May 1915, and then served alongside New Zealander Dick Henderson.
In 1997, the RSPCA Purple Cross was awarded to Murphy for service during the First World War.
Th 2015 $1 Unlikely Heroes Murphy The Donkey Unc Coin is a heartfelt tribute to the sacrifice and effort of Australia’s war heroes, great and small.
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