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ANZAC Award announced
The ANZAC Award is a new RNZRSA initiative to recognise, each year, the efforts and achievements of a New Zealander or New Zealanders who best emulate the ANZAC spirit as represented by the story of New Zealand Gallipoli hero Richard Henderson and the donkey. In launching the Award, Veterans’ Affairs Minister Judith Collins said it will recognise efforts and achievements that best emulate the ANZAC spirit of courage, comradeship, commitment and compassion.
It may be given to a person or persons for a single act up to a lifetime of effort or to an organisation for sustained service to New Zealanders or the international community.
Nominations may be made on behalf of any New Zealand citizen or organisation.
The ANZAC Award will take the form of a bronze maquette (miniature or scale model) of Richard Henderson and his donkey at Gallipoli. This will be presented each year and names added to the Award.
Recipients will also be presented with a bronze medallion. Individual recipients will also receive a miniature lapel badge for everyday wear.
The Award will be announced prior to ANZAC Day each year and the presentation made on ANZAC Day.
Richard Henderson and the Donkey
Private Richard (Dick) Alexander Henderson, 3/258, 2nd Field Ambulance, New Zealand Medical Corps, was born at Waihi on 26 August 1895. A popular trainee teacher at Mt Roskill (later renamed Three Kings) School, he enlisted as a stretcher bearer with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force on 10 August 1914, giving his birth date as 1893 to make him the nearly eligible age for enlistment of 21.
Within days of landing at Gallipoli he saw Australian stretcher bearer John “Jack” Simpson Kirkpatrick using donkeys to ferry the wounded and when, on 19 May 1915, Simpson was killed, Henderson continued the work, using one of Simpson’s donkeys, named Murphy.
“There was nothing really heroic about the work Kirkpatrick and I did with that donkey. It was easier carrying a wounded man on a donkey than it was on a stretcher or on one's shoulder,” so Henderson modestly told a newspaper reporter prior to ANZAC Day 1950.
After Gallipoli, Henderson served on the Western Front and at the Battle of the Somme he was awarded the Military Medal on 22 October 1916 for repeatedly bringing in wounded men under heavy shell fire.
On his return Henderson resumed teaching but he never fully recovered and was forced to give up teaching when he went blind in 1934. Sick for most of his later life, he died in Green Lane Hospital, aged 63, on 14 November 1958.
Richard Hendersons NZDF Personnel Records are available to view. Records preserved and provided by Archives New Zealand.
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