Church News and Events

Mormon Service Award Remembers Gallipoli Soldier

  • 6 March 2012

Bronze statuette of the Church’s Standing for Something Award

Representative of thousands of brave Australians who gave their life at Gallipoli in World War I, John Simpson Kirkpatrick was chosen by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an emblem of those who valiantly serve their nation or community.

For some years the Church has been awarding the John Simpson Kirkpatrick Standing for Something tribute to individuals who give selfless humanitarian and social service. The recognition includes a small bronze statuette of Simpson bearing a wounded soldier on the back of a donkey.

Recipients of the award have been physicians, political and military leaders, teachers, and those who help the disadvantaged, indigenous and disabled. All have laboured with courage and have given of their time and means to make life better for others.

A tributary statue to Simpson (the name he used in the military) stands outside the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT. This statue was designed in England, Simpson's homeland. The statuette given by the Mormons is more impressionistic and was designed by Cathy Weiszmann of the National Art School in Sydney.

At age twenty-two, John joined the Australian Imperial Force in 1914 and was assigned to the medical corps. He was sent to Turkey where he used a donkey to bring the wounded from the front line to an aid station. After three weeks of so doing, he was fatally machine-gunned in Shrapnel Gully.

Because Latter-day Saints strive for courage to live the teachings of Jesus Christ, they have long remembered Simpson's valour in standing for what he believed in, and the giving of his life for it. Although he is often reported to have been a larrikin in the true Australian style, Simpson rose to the level of hero when confronted with the horror of war.

His bravery became legendary in this country's military lore and synonymous with the ANZAC spirit. Yet, the young Digger was never officially recognised for his sacrifice.

That may be changing, however. An amateur historian in West Australia, carefully perusing personal diaries of Simpson's superiors, has uncovered evidence that the Victorian Cross was petitioned for Simpson soon after his death.

If that is the case, John Simpson Kirkpatrick could be awarded the coveted emblem of valour posthumously.

Read The West Australian story of the newly discovered information and the man who found it here.

View a gallery with additional images here.