Orders, Decorations & Medals - Aust. Groups


Lot 5187    Session 19 (4:30pm Friday)    Orders, Decorations & Medals - Aust. Groups

Estimate $20,000

DSO GROUP OF SIX: Distinguished Service Order (GVR); 1914-15 Star; British War Medal 1914-19; Victory Medal 1914-19 with MID; War Medal 1939-45; Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officer's Decoration (GRI) (with substitute top brooch bar missing pin). First medal unnamed, Captain H.V.P.Conrick. A.M.C. A.I.F. on second medal, Lieut-Col. H.V.P.Conrick. A.I.F. on third medal, Lt-Colonel H.V.P.Conrick. A.I.F. on fourth medal, H.V.P.Conrick. M.N. Surgeon on fifth medal, Lt.Col. H.V.P.Conrick. D.S.O., LL.L. on last medal. Last medal engraved, all other named medals impressed. Display mounted, together with hat and collar badges of AAMC (KC), very fine.

Ex Dix Noonan Webb Sale 5 November 1991 (lot 267).

DSO: LG 18/7/1917, p7214; CAG 8/11/1917, p2938.

Recommendation: Major H.V.P.Conrick 7th Australian Field Ambulance. On the evening of May 6th 1917 near Noreuil a wagon loaded with explosives was being taken forward. This wagon was hit and a huge explosion took place, drawing heavy enemy shell fire on to the spot. A man rushed to Major Conrick for assistance and reported that a hundred men had been killed or wounded by the explosion. Major Conrick immediately collected bearers and led them to the scene of the accident. He personally attended to the wounded and directed the bearers in the open under heavy shell fire until all the wounded had been safely removed.

The signed statement of Capt. G.A.Hunt 1st Aust. Field Amb. is attached.

During the severe fighting near Bullecourt Major Conrick was in charge of the Advanced Collecting Post near Noreuil from the 4th to 9th of May 1917. He continually moved from Post to Post under intense fire encouraging the men and arranging the relief for the bearers when exhausted. It was due to his efforts that the evacuation of wounded was rapidly and successfully carried on during the above days.

This officer was in the first Australian Expeditionary Force and has served with the A.I.F. throughout the Gallipoli and French campaigns. He has, at all times, been characterised by his good work under all circumstances.

(1st) LG 28/1/1916, p1209; CAG 6/4/1916, p862 - I have the honour to submit herewith the name of Captain H.V.P.Conrick, 3rd Field Ambulance, whose services I wish to bring to your lordship's notice in connexion with the operations described in my despatch of 11th December, 1915.

(2nd) LG 13/7/1916, p6955; CAG 30/11/1916, p3234 - With reference to the despatch published on the 10th April, the following are mentioned for distinguished and gallant services rendered during the period of General Sir Charles Munro's Command of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force :- Major Horatio Victor Patrick Conrick.

(3rd) LG 28/12/1917, p13568; CAG 18/4/1918, p845 - The following is a continuation of Sir Douglas Haig's Despatch of the 7th November, submitting names deserving special mention, published in a supplement to the "London Gazette" of Friday, 28th December, 1917 :- Major (temporary Lieutenant-Colonel) H.V.P.Conrick, D.S.O.

CAFOD: CAG No.58 16/7/1931 to Lt-Col H.V.P.Conrick DSO, Unattached List, 2nd MD.

This decoration was presented to Lt-Colonel Conrick DSO by His Excellency the Governor General at his office in the Commonwealth Bank Chambers, Martin Place, Sydney on Monday 14 March 1932.

Horatio Victor Patrick Conrick (1882-1960), born 27May1882 at Fitzroy, Melbourne and educated at the Christian Brothers' School, St Kilda; started working as a bank clerk before studying medicine at the University of Melbourne (M.B., B.S., 1910); appointed Resident Medical Officer at Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Brisbane; 02Feb1914 commissioned Captain in AAMC, Citizen Forces; 20Aug1914 appointed to A.I.F. and posted to the 3rd Field Ambulance, AAMC; Emb.25Sep1914; served throughout the Gallipoli Campaign and was mentioned in dispatches in December 1915; appointed to 2nd AGH in Egypt Jan1916; promoted to Major 06Feb1916; transferred to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital and left for the Western Front in April; served as medical officer-in-charge, Anzac Base Details, and then attached to the Aust Vol Hosp in July; for the rest of 1916 held appointments with 2nd AGH and 5th and 7th Field Ambulances; serving with the latter unit when his award of the Distinguished Service Order was gazetted in July 1917; later that year he served with the 1st and 15th Field Ambulances, the 10th Casualty Clearing Station and the 24 Bn; appointed Temporary Lieut-Colonel and Senior Medical Officer at the 2nd Command Convalescent Depot in November and was again mentioned in dispatches; 03Apr to 24May1918 commanded 8th Field Ambulance; rank confirmed on 01May1918; RTA Jun1918 and appt terminated 14Aug1918; no record of WWII Merchant Navy service as surgeon found.

On 12Sep1918, Conrick married Mary Frances Punch at St Mary's Catholic Church, North Sydney; they settled at North Sydney and he resumed medical practice concentrating on children's medicine; held appointments at Sydney's Renwick Hospital for Infants at Summer Hill from 1922 and was honorary consulting surgeon there from 1957 until his death; from the late 1940s he was Honorary Assistant Physician at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital for women and children at Crows Nest and for several years was New South Wales representative on the council of the British Medical Association; remained on reserves with AAMC until 1943 when he was placed on the retired list with the rank of Lt-Colonel; Horatio Conrick died on 18 July 1960 and was buried in the Catholic section of Gore Hill Cemetery.

One of the soldiers who served at Gallipoli with Capt (later Lt-Col) Conrick was the legendary, John Simpson Kirkpatrick, who served as John Simpson, aka 'Simpson and his donkey'.

On April 28th, 1915, Capt. Conrick, AAMC, landed on Gallipoli with the 3rd Field Ambulance. The soldier to become known as 'Simpson, the Donkey Man' was one of his stretcher bearers. Shortly before his death in 1960, Conrick wrote with first hand knowledge of this brave and remarkable Australian soldier and his personal recollections were brought into the public domain by his daughter, Mrs Mary Rayward of Dee Why.

'Simpson, the Donkey Man' - Here are some personal recollections about this soldier, which I can vouch for, as he was in the same unit with me. I enlisted in 'A' Section of the 3rd Field Ambulance in Brisbane in 1914 as Medical Officer. We arrived in Egypt in December 1914 and were joined there by our 'B' Section from South Australia and our 'C' Section from Western Australia and Tasmania. We were a composite unit from all States of Australia, other than N.S.W. and Victoria.

John Simpson Kirkpatrick had enlisted in the 3rd Field Ambulance in Western Australia. This soldier enlisted as Simpson and was known to his mates as 'Simmy.' At the landing at Anzac April 25th, 1915, he went ashore with his bearer squad of four; his three mates were either killed or wounded and Simpson was left alone. Being a young man of initiative and courage, he captured one of the stray donkeys that had been brought ashore for ammunition work. He placed his red cross brassard over the donkey's forehead below the ears and called the donkey 'Murphy.' Some afterwards referred to Simpson as 'Murphy the Donkey Man.'

With this donkey and working as a unit on his own, he carried and guided the wounded from the trenches down, despite the shrapnel, to the first aid post. In these early days it was highly dangerous to go along his usual track in daylight, as snipers from the Turkish trenches, which were higher than ours, kept up a constant barrage of rifle shots. It was while proceeding along this track on a visit to the front lines that our divisional commander, General Bridges, received the wound from which he died a few days later. After the General's death, the gully was made safer by the building of sandbagged walls at intervals along the track. From all of which it will be seen that Simpson carried out a very dangerous mission. He had several donkeys killed while on his job, and he escaped death till about 3 weeks after the landing, when he was shot by a sniper through the heart while taking a wounded soldier on his donkey to the beach.

Simpson was a very game man and in fact, he laughed at danger. At all times he was cheerful and a great favourite with his mates of the 3rd Field Ambulance. On one occasion I passed him in Monash Gully and called out to him, 'Look out for yourself Simmy.' His laughing reply came, 'That bullet hasn't been made for me yet, sir.'

When our C.O., Colonel Alfred Sutton, a good soldier and sensible man, came ashore at Anzac about one week after the landing, we reported to him the type of work Simpson was doing, detached from the Ambulance. He replied he was quite agreeable he should continue, as his was an exceptional case, the only stipulation being that he should report at intervals to H.Q. Simpson came to us at times for rations, but more often he was fed by the Indian Mountain Battery and Jacobs Mule Train, who were camped near Monash Gully. They greatly admired him and would have given him anything.

After his death, these Indians took charge of his donkey, fed it and looked after it. Their Medical Officer, Capt. Casey Evans (afterwards Sir Casey Evans) told me that he enquired of some of them if they would not lose caste by handling a donkey. They replied, 'What matter, sahib, it is the donkey of a Bahadur - a hero.' We buried Simpson in the cemetery on Brighton Beach, close to 'Hell-fire Corner,' a spot he had passed hundreds of times in his brave journeyings. Most of us had known him for four short months only, but long enough to assess his worth; surely 'a very gallant gentleman.'

With large file of research and photos.

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