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Pte John Simpson Kirkpatrick

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Blackblue

This seems to be gathering momentum again. Now that Australia have thier own VC it will be interesting to see what happens. Thoughts?

http://www.thesundaymail.news.com.au/commo...255E902,00.html

Rgds

Tim

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eviltaxman

My 2004 Medal Yearbook states --

"The Victoria Cross For Australia is identical to the British award and is awarded, with the approval of the Queen, by an instrument signed by the Governer-General on the recommendation of the Minister of Defence. Some 96 Australians have won the VC since 1856, the most recent being Warrant Officer Keith Payne for barvery in Vietnam (May 1969). No award of the Australian VC has yet been made."

If Simpson is awarded the Australian VC, then he will be the first.

Les.

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Derek Robertson
If Simpson is awarded the Australian VC, then he will be the first.

He would be a worthy first recepient.

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eviltaxman

Indeed!

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Paul Reed

By awarding him a VC now aren't we guilty of re-writing history? Just a thought, rather than an opinion.

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Kate Wills

My own thoughts chime with Paul's, without taking anything away from Kirkpatrick, who was a brave man amongst many. However, are we not opening the floodgates to all manner of amendments to history. Why should we, 90 years on, think our decisions are more valid than those made at the time.

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Hugh Pattenden

I read here that Simpson was not actually put in for the VC at the time, rather he was put in for an MiD, which he received.

As I recall it was decided that no one action could be found which would merit a VC, and he couldn't be awarded anything below that except an MiD posthumously.

I may be wrong, but if not it certainly would be re-writing history.

Either way though, he was still an exceptionally brave man.

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Jonathan Saunders
By awarding him a VC now aren't we guilty of re-writing history? Just a thought, rather than an opinion.

Wasnt history rewritten with Melville and Coghill in 1908?

Unfortunately JSK is not the only man deserving of the highest honour whilst others have undoubtedly been given the award for much less.

If Australia want to correct a past wrong then I think that is their perogative.

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Derek Robertson

Playing the Devil's Advocate here, Simpson went out of his way to help others in need.

Contrast his actions with, for instance, the force at Rourke's Drift, who had no option but to fight it out with the Zulu, and by their actions won 11 VC's. Self survival was the name of the game, they had no choice.

Simpson had a choice but he choose to help his fellow man.

He was a hero. Whether the men of Rourke's Drift are heroes in Simpson's mould is open to question but I believe his actions worthier than many.

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Blackblue

There seems to be some notion that when originally proposed some time ago the award was knocked back by the British MOD after being sought by the Australian Government. Now without having to refer the award to them, and with the 90th Anniversary approaching, it will be interesting to see if it is enough to have John Howard change his mind on the matter. I don't think it can be underestimated what an icon Simpson is and I think this may just eventually override the 'rewriting history' school. I certainly agree that there were many acts which also warranted a VC....although Simpson's profile makes him a different proposition.

Rgds

Tim

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Hugh Pattenden

Surely if one starts re-opening cases this could never end? There are a large number of men who deserved the VC but did not get it.

Surely that his legend lives on and that people still talk of his valour and self-secrifice is the most important thing.

Wasn't the difference with Melville and Coghill that a note was published in the London Gazette telling of how they would have got VCs had they survived? Wasn't required a change to the award criteria for them to get it, and they did when it was changed? I don't think they were the first posthumous VCs either.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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Guest steveb21

Mates,

I did notice this in the Brisbane paper yesterday and for many reasons I find it hard to justify the VC for Simpson.

Now he was abrave man and did some great service carrying the many wounded down to the beach but his story has become involved with the many men who did the same thing. Simpson was not the only stretcher bearer on Gallipoli who carried the wounded back to the beach there were many who did the same job and for longer then Simpson as he was killed early.

Their line of travell from the front line (if you can call it such) to the beach dispite open to sniper fire was behind the lines and he didn't go into no mans land to rescue the wounded as many AMC or AAMC soldiers did to gain higher awards.

This dosn't detratt from the job he did only he was not the only man doing it and under fire, did a man on a donkey suffer any more then one being carried by two blokes on a stretcher.

I wonder do you know the story of the Ex US soldier who some thirty years after the Battle of the Little Big Horn was awarded the Medal of Honor, only to discover there was no evidence of him doing any heroic action, he was credited with only his political conections in his later years.

So because some politicalians are pushing Simpson right now we should think twice about this.

S.B

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Auimfo

Steve,

I think you may find that there was no 'behind the lines' in the first 24 days at Anzac. All men were pretty much in the firing line and all risked there lives no matter where they were.

My Grandfather was one of those AAMC men you refer to who risked his life to save the wounded. Although he was never given any awards for his work I believe that issuing Simpson with the VC not only recognises Simpson's bravery but that of all the stretcher bearers who risked their lives to save others.

Tim L.

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Guest lilydalelil

There might be poetic justice were Simpson to get the the first Australian VC. Rumour has it that he was denied the original award on the intervention of the first Australian winner of the VC, Doctor Howse.

There was the standard officer versus common man argument, but more cynically the risk that the inadequate planning for the handling of even the most basic of casualty numbers at, and subsequent to, the Landings would be exposed. That responsibility belonged to Howse & may tarnish his image.

In one way, granting the VC might might have a negative result.

The victimisation argument recurs constantly. This encourages a wider audience and appreciation for what Simpson, and the stretcher - bearers in general, actually did and under what circumstances.

Unfortunate comparisons would be less common. For example why did Chavasse get 2 VC's in similar, or perhaps dissimilar circumstances. Were the Rorkes Drift VCs to compensate for the appalling blunder that led to the attack, and how could one particular regiment earn 10 VCs before breakfast.

As stated by others, Simpson's courage was not the result of any adrenallin rush of the cornernerd warrior. It was cold, calculating and sustained. He wenmt beyond the fluctuating firing lines, whether that constituted nomans land or not.

Word of his death spread more quickly throughout the AIF than did the news of OIC on almost the same time & place.

Ironically, the RSPCA chose to honour Simpson's Donkey. It would appear that several different animals actually assisted Simpson.

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Raster Scanning
If Simpson is awarded the Australian VC, then he will be the first.

Les.

The first issue of the Australian VC and to an Englishman! ;)

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Jonathan Saunders
Wasn't the difference with Melville and Coghill that a note was published in the London Gazette telling of how they would have got VCs had they survived? Wasn't required a change to the award criteria for them to get it, and they did when it was changed? I don't think they were the first posthumous VCs either.

But isnt that what is happening here? As I understand and in very loose words "Australia" wanted the VC for JSK but it was rejected by KGV - now Australia can award its own VC why should it not make a posthumous award to a very deserving man and in recognition of all stretcher bearers? What better way for Australia to inaugurate their own VC.

Following in from whta you said I presume there is an argument that Australia would have made this award in 1915 if it had the ability, in the same way that Melville and Coghill would have received the VC in 1879 if the mandate then allowed for the award to be granted posthumously.

Whilst I am in favour of JSK being honoured I should add that I have no strong feeling on this issue, and although there were many deeds of bravery of equal measure I do wonder if any individuals deserved the VC more than JSK. As we know, many of the bravest feats went unrecognised.

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spike10764

I think, if Australia want to award John Simpson Kirkpatrick their first 'independant' VC then it would be fitting.

I accept that others did similar for no recognition, but the very fact that it was 90 years ago, should make the award almost a recognition of all who performed similar heroics.

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Hugh Pattenden

Signals,

The thing is that I have as yet seen no evidence for Simpson being put in for a VC by anyone. If there is evidence then I humbly retract what I have said, but from what I've seen he was considered for the DCM, but couldn't get that posthumously, receiving an MiD instead.

I can't see why the British government would stop an Australian soldier (a Briton at that) from receiving the VC.

I just think it would be unfair on the many other who did not receive VCs that he should be given this new award whilst their cases are not re-opened.

Regards,

Hugh.

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Jonathan Saunders

Hugh,

Quoting JSK's CO, Lt-Col Sutton in Holts, "It is difficult to get evidence of any one act to justify the VC. The fact is he did so many". Quoting his Padre, "If ever a man deserved the VC it was Simpson". I am resisting the temptation to suggest a bar may also be warranted ;)

Very often, at Zeebrugge for example, men were awarded a VC by ballot taken from those involved in the action. Whilst I agree with you that precedents should not be set - otherwise we could be asking for a fair few "political" VCs back - I do think in this instance that Australia are in a unique position to put right an obvious wrong and by doing so not only honouring a very brave man but having the opportunity to honour all Australians of his ilk - even if JSK was a good Geordie.

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Blackblue

There seems to be some evidence that he was recommended. For example here, although it doesn't say for what:

http://www.awm.gov.au/database/awm28/frame...r=2/46P1&page=6

Although a 'pom' he is representative of the men and women who forged a nation. My dad is a 'pom' and I am bloody proud of it. For many Australians I believe awarding him the VC would be viewed as just about akin to awarding one to the unknown soldier. He is representative of the traditions of the AIF and of the men and women that made Australia what it is today.

Rgds

Tim

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AGWR

I think that it would be rewriting history somewhat, but ultimately it is a matter for the Australian government, not for us 'whingeing Poms'. The trouble is where do you stop... Why not award Jacka the two Bars to his VC that many observers felt he so richly deserved for his bravery at Pozieres and Bullecourt?

An interesting question is whether Simpson would have been as famous, if he had been awarded a VC at the time. The fact that he was never awarded one has undoubtedly contributed to the preservation of his story for future generations. After all, how many Australian VC winners could most people name?

Whenever I think of Australia, I see him and Bradman (and sometimes Lillee with his aluminium bat!)... I can fully understand therefore why his country wants to honour him now. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter. VC or no VC, the story of this exceptionally brave man will never be forgotten.

Regards,

AGWR

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Guest steveb21

Mate,

I totaly agree with your last.

I could name a dozen soldiers who were refused the VC during the war in Egypt and Palestine between 1916 and 1919.

Many didn't get a thing while others recieved lesser awards like DSO's and DCM's. Should we now combe the records and look at these, also, as no award of the VC was given to any LH soldier during the war in the desert dispite some of the most heroic actions fought by mounted men in any war.

It should be also remembered that Simpson wasn't after any medals , he was doing his job with his mates trying to move the many wounded to the rear. That history has made this man repersentive of them all because of his actions over a small period of time shows the impact of this job.

But many soldiers who say Smpson did this or that are discribing not Simpson but any number of nameless men who carried the wounded, should Simppson get a VC for them all?

Why not, as stated I know of a number of cases where the soldiers did the work and the Officer got the VC (Saddler for one). So why not Simspon for them all.

S.B

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Guest lilydalelil
An interesting question is whether Simpson would have been as famous, if he had been awarded a VC at the time.  The fact that he was never awarded one has undoubtedly contributed to the preservation of his story for future generations.

I wish I'd said that.

Even had Simpson survived the war, and decided to return to Australia, having the VC may not have changed his life that much. In Jacka's case having the VC may have been more a hindrence than a help in achieving happiness.

Australian attitudes towards its heroes might be illustrated in the experience of Joynt VC. In 1968 the British invited all living VC holders to a shindig in London. The RAF would provide the Singapore - London - Singapore requirements. To cut a long story short he paid his own way to Singapore by Quantas and represented HIS country at the gathering.

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Edward_N_Kelly
Were the Rorkes Drift VCs to compensate for the appalling blunder that led to the attack, and how could one particular regiment earn 10 VCs before breakfast.

Could it also be a case that the VC was basically the only the only award available at the time ?

From my understanding, most medals of the time were struck "for the occassion" and the VS was the only one available at the time (DSO 1886, CGM was RN only, etc)

The DCM was a posiblity (instituted 1854) but a case of "propoganda inflation" after such a disasterous start to something that the British Government never wanted to get into - meant that the VC was the only serious contender.

Wasn't CS Bourne awarded the DCM ?

Cheers

Edward

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Andrew P

This come up every so often but am not really in favour of Simpson being awarded a VC.

No doubt he was a very brave individual, but so were many others who also recived no decoration through various wars.

Last time this came up in the news a couple of years ago it was in conjuction with the request to award a sailor a postumous VC. The sailor whose name I think was Sheehan was from the HMAS Armidale in WW2. He stuck to his guns firing at the Japanese planes as his ship was sinking.

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