South Tyneside turns out to honour war heroes - including a famous son of the borough

The Mayoress and Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Richard Porthouse and Patricia Porthouse, with the Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear, Mrs Susan Winfield OBE, at the John Simpson Kirkpatrick memorial statue, Ocean Road, South Shields Town Centre

The Mayoress and Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Richard Porthouse and Patricia Porthouse, with the Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear, Mrs Susan Winfield OBE, at the John Simpson Kirkpatrick memorial statue, Ocean Road, South Shields Town Centre

South Tyneside residents turned out in force to honour First World War heroes for their bravery in battle - including a legendary son of the borough.

Members of the public joined the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Richard Porthouse, military organisations and children from Lord Blyton and Laygate Primary Schools at a special ceremony today to commemorate the courageous ranks of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps on ANZAC Day.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Richard Porthouse, lays a wreath during today's service honouring war-time heroes.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Richard Porthouse, lays a wreath during today's service honouring war-time heroes.

Crowds fell silent at the John Simpson Kirkpatrick memorial statue, in Ocean Road, South Shields, to mark the national day of remembrance held in recognition of those who fought in the Battle of Gallipoli during the First World War.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, led a one minute silence and a rendition of The Last Post before laying a wreath at the foot of the Gallipoli plaque at Littlehaven Promenade.

The ceremony was led by the Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear, Mrs Susan Winfield OBE, and included a service conducted by Reverend Paul Kennedy, of St Michael and All Angels Church.

South Shields-born John Simpson Kirkpatrick known as 'The Man with the Donkey', risked his own life to rescue more than 300 wounded Australian and New Zealand soldiers from the frontline during the Gallipoli campaign of 1915.

He carried the soldiers to safety using his trusted donkey - a heroic act which has become legend in his home town and Down Under.

Last year was the 100th anniversary of John Simpson Kirkpatrick’s death which was marked by the Borough welcoming the Australian High Commissioner, The Hon Alexander Downer AC, to a special service at the Kirkpatrick memorial before unveiling a plaque at Littlehaven Promenade.

His incredible bravery has inspired generations of people and he is still highly regarded in Australia, where his amazing story is told to school children.

The Mayor said: “It was an honour to join Australia and New Zealand to commemorate the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought and died in the battle of Gallipoli during the First World War.

“I was proud to see the Borough come together to pay tribute to John Simpson Kirkpatrick alongside his comrades to mark ANZAC Day.”