The Simpson Pack
Private Chapman was compelled to write to then Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie, AC, DSC, CSM (retired) to share his experience, and to ensure that other Australian soldiers did not have to go through the same indignity as they moved through the medical evacuation system.
Private Chapman’s letter prompted Army Headquarters to establish a welfare pack to meet the basic personal and hygiene needs of wounded soldiers in overseas military hospitals.
Named after the World War One hero John Simpson Kirkpatrick - whose name has been etched into history for his support to wounded soldiers on the battlefield - the packs contain essentials such as a tracksuit, beanie, socks, boxer shorts, deodorant, shaving cream, writing materials and a pre-paid telephone card.
While these provide soldiers with some basic comforts, it is often another item in the pack that brings a smile to their faces – a letter from an Australian primary school student.
Kaleen Primary School in the Australian Capital Territory has been heavily involved in the Simpson Pack initiative, with students writing hundreds of letters for the packs.
“Each student has had the freedom to express their appreciation and some students have chosen to write poems, others have drawn pictures and many have included inspirational quotes to lift the spirits of Defence personnel,” Kaleen Primary School Principal, Grace Dunlop said.
The Simpson Packs have been gratefully received by wounded soldiers, who say they made a real difference to their time in hospital.