Bravest donkey

On 19 May 1997 Murphy, an Australian Army donkey, was posthumously awarded the RSPCA Australia Purple Cross, an award for animal bravery, at the Australian War Memorial on behalf of all donkeys that had served in the 1915–16 Gallipoli campaign.

During the abortive offensive in the Dardanelles in 1915–16 Murphy carried the wounded from the front on a perilous journey down the exposed rocky gullies to reach field hospitals. Murphy was trained by 22-year old stretcher bearer John Simpson Kirkpatrick to carry his wounded victim into the main tent of the hospital and to reverse on the command: ‘back pedal’.

A statue of Murphy at the Australian War Memorial is one of the country’s most enduring images of the First World War.