THE final will of the man behind the Gallipoli legend Simpson and his donkey has been discovered by WA’s State Records Office.
Like many of his comrades, Private John Simpson was handed a “note will” while in Egypt preparing for the Dardanelles assault. The document reveals he left everything he had (about the equivalent of $4500 today) to his mother.
Curiously, Simpson didn’t use his full name, John Simpson Kirkpatrick, and there’s some conjecture that as a deserter from the British merchant navy, he’d been trying to stay under the radar, perhaps in an effort to get home to England after the conflict.
Less than a month after signing his will, Simpson was killed by machine gun fire as the Turks tried to retake the Gallipoli peninsula from the ANZACs.
Simpson’s will is one of more than 3600 signed by WWI soldiers that were recently found in the records office’s files, and they’ve all just been made available online.
“Finding these wills is important not only for our state’s historic record, it will help descendants unlock some of the mysteries of their forebears who perished on the battlefields of World War One,” WA arts minister John Day says.
“Between 1914 and 1918, the number of wills processed by the WA Supreme Court tripled, and SRO archivists have long suspected that many of these files hold the wills of soldiers killed in the Great War.
“Thanks to their sleuthing, families now have access to a precious resource,” the minister said.
Workout for Wireless
MELVILLE’S new war memorial at Wireless Hill will get its first ANZAC workout this year, albeit a day early.
The council and the Applecross RSL will hold an ANZAC commemorative and dedication service at the new memorial on Sunday April 24, starting at 10.30am.
The new memorial replaces the old clocktower at the council’s admin building in Booragoon.
The design features nine double-sided steel vertical blades in a circular formation, and when viewed together form a single panoramic image of ANZACs marching (informally, of course). On the back of each panel are laser-cut life-size silhouettes representing various uniforms and military branches.
The council reckons there won’t be much parking at the hill, so take public transport where possible, and if you can’t bear a forced march, there’s overflow parking at Applecross SHS on Links Road and a shuttle bus running between there and the event from 9am.