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Historic ANZAC flag returned to WA

AAP logoAAP 11/11/2016 Rebecca Gredley

The first flag flown by the Red Cross on the beach at Gallipoli has been returned to West Australia after a community-led funding campaign.

The 3rd Field Ambulance C Section Red Cross flag is now part of the WA state collection and has strong local ties, Culture and Arts Minister John Day says.

"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," he said.

The unit was led by Captain Douglas McWhae from the Perth suburb of Maylands and included Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick, known as 'the man with the donkey'.

"The tragic events that occurred at the Gallipoli landing are well known and it's wonderful to have such a significant item which is symbolic of the sacrifice made by so many people at Gallipoli," Mr Day told reporters.

The flag was sent to Captain McWhae in 1918 by the unit flag bearer as a keepsake of the Gallipoli landing.

He brought the flag back to WA but it disappeared after his death, before surfacing decades later in Canada where it was bought by a military collector.

A campaign to raise funds to bring the flag back to WA began after Royal WA Historical Society curator Wendy Lugg saw a story about the flag online.

At the handover event on Friday, the son of a Gallipoli bugler donated service medals belonging to his father, William Roscoe, to the WA Museum. His bugle is already part of the state collection.

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