Friday, 11 November 2016
Accepting the 3rd Field Ambulance C Section Red Cross flag on behalf of the WA Museum today, Culture and the Arts Minister John Day said it had strong local ties.
"This flag is recorded as being the first flown by the Red Cross on the beach at Gallipoli and is of national and State significance," Mr Day said. "The 3rd Field Ambulance C Section was largely made up of West Australians who were among the first to land at Gallipoli, supporting the 3rd Infantry Brigade.
"The unit was led by Captain Douglas McWhae from Maylands and included Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick, more famously known as 'the man with the donkey'."
The flag carries the inscription 'Flag of C Section 3rd Fld Amb April 1915', as well as the signature of flag bearer Private Arnsed Kemp. He kept the flag throughout the war and sent it to Captain McWhae in 1918 as a keepsake of the Gallipoli landing.
Captain McWhae brought the flag back to WA but after his death it disappeared, surfacing many decades later in Canada where it was purchased by military collector Doug Buhler. By chance, Royal WA Historical Society Curator Wendy Lugg saw an online story about the flag.
The campaign to raise the funds for the flag's return was initiated by Ms Lugg and Museums Australia WA, with strong support from the society. The fundraiser soon gained the attention of community members with links to the 3rd Field Ambulance C Section.
Also at today's handover event, George Roscoe, son of Gallipoli C section bugler William Roscoe, donated his father's service medals to the Western Australian Museum.
"Along with this significant donation from the Roscoe family, and whose bugle is already part of the State Collection, community members from across the State have very generously contributed to the fund," the Minister said. "Primary students in the Wheatbelt centre of Cadoux raised $1,300 towards the campaign, in honour of 3rd Field Ambulance serviceman Donald Cadoux, after whom their town is named.
"The Red Cross flag, bugle and Roscoe medals will remain as part of the State's collection and are being considered for display in the new WA museum."
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