Thursday, January 27, 2011

Simpson and his donkey

The latest award of a Victoria Cross in Australia has led to yet another story about the VC and alluding to the attempt to award one to Simpson of donkey fame.

It reminds me of a story I heard, and I think it must have been in 1990 celebrating 75 years since Gallipoli. At a slap up dinner at the War Memorial with the few remaining diggers, one pointed to the display of Simpson and said gruffly, "we shot him".

On questioning the digger revealed that Simpson's wanderings kept identifying the Anzac positions to the Turks. As he wouldn't stop, the troops "fragged" him. Guests at the dinner turned to miltary officials and asked "could this be true".

The answer was, they were afraid, that the evidence suggests t was indeed true. But that Simpson was such an iconic hero there was no value in setting the record straight.

That could explain the strong military opposition to the award. Certainly the Wikipedia item suggests Simpson was avoiding more dangerous tasks - hence hardly qualifying as "courageous".

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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