As I mentioned briefly in the my last post, my family and I went on holidays to the beach for six nights last week! We enjoyed so much of God’s beautiful creation. 😀 We even saw a dead shark that was washed up on the beach (glad I didn’t meet it in the water). But most of the animals we saw were alive and not quite so dangerous! 😉 There were heaps of pelicans and also lots of fish that were jumping out of the water–pretty spectacular.
Two other highlights were seeing a seal swimming in the ocean and also discovering a wombat when we went for a night walk on the beach. It’s the first time I’ve seen a wombat in the wild, so it was pretty special! My brother and I were discussing on the six hour drive from our place to our holiday destination that we’d never seen a wombat in the wild. And then God blessed us with seeing one a few days later! This is not the actual one we saw, but it had a really cute face and was like a barrel on legs. 😛 I was very surprised how fast it could run!
In the main street of the beach town near where we stayed, there were quite a number of big wooden carvings. So we went over to have a bit of sticky beak.
I was quite interested to find out that three of them were depicting scenes from WWI
These two are of Simpson and His Donkey— a bit of an Australian hero. 😀 He was one of the ANZACS who took part in the battle of Gallipoli. Apparently 2,000 of the men who landed on the beach on April 25th were casualties by night fall! It must have been a pretty horrific scene. Even getting from the ship to a landing place about 300 yards away was dangerous. In the boat that Private John Simpson was in there were also twenty-five other members of the 3rd Field Ambulance unit. Out of those twenty-five men, three were killed and fourteen wounded just during the landing effort! War results in such a terrible waste and disregard of life. 🙁
Anyway there was a obviously a steady stream of wounded people needing to be carried back to the hospital ships, but there was a shortage of stretchers which meant that the stretcher bearers had to carry the people themselves (rather than work in teams of six like they’d been trained). On his second day of work at Gallipoli, Simpson spotted an abandoned donkey and after making a halter of bandages decided to put the donkey to good use–hence the legend of “The Man and His Donkey” was born.
He formed himself into a one man unit and began working eighteen to twenty hour days, taking water from the beach to men in the trenches and then bringing back the wounded soldiers through Monash Valley to the beach where they could be attended.
Despite the threat of snipers, he kept going into no mans land to bring back grateful soldiers. Sometimes he made the 2.2km (1 1/2 mile) trip from the beach to the trenches twelve to fifteen times a day. It must have been pretty exhausting.
After 24 days on Gallipoli, Simpson was killed by Turkish machine gun bullets which hit him in the back and exited through his stomach. His donkey continued to the beach with a critically wounded soldier on his back before leading other concerned stretcher-bearers back to where Simpson’s body lay.
The story of Simpson and his donkey is a humbling kind of story. It’s terrible to think of the suffering of others. And I’m left with the question: would I have done the same?
This tale also makes me think of how much greater a sacrifice was made on our behalf by our Messiah–the Holy One of Israel.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 5:13
Credit for the info I used to write the above goes to Harry Willey and you can read more about Simpson here.
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