South Tyneside to mark ANZAC Day 2022 and honour Gallipoli hero John Simpson Kirkpatrick

Schoolchildren and dignitaries will gather to pay tribute to a war hero from South Tyneside at a special ceremony to remember members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).

By Tom Patterson
Thursday, 21st April 2022, 11:22 am
The memorial to John Simpson Kirkpatrick on Ocean Road.
The memorial to John Simpson Kirkpatrick on Ocean Road.

The ANZAC Day service on Monday April 25 has a special significance in the borough due to the role played in South Shields hero John Simpson Kirkpatrick – “The Man with the Donkey – who served with the 1st Australian Division during the Gallipoli Campaign in World War I.

The young serviceman, who served as a stretcher bearer, used a donkey to rescue hundreds of allied soldiers wounded in the battle on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey.

To mark the occasion, a service will take place at 10.45am at the John Simpson Kirkpatrick memorial statue in Ocean Road, South Shields.

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John Simpson Kirkpatrick with a wounded soldier.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Cllr Pay Hay, will lead a minute’s silence at 11am. There will also be a rendition of The Last Post before wreaths are laid at the foot of the memorial.

The service will be led by Father Mark MahWhinney and will be attended by local dignitaries, military organisations and children from Lord Blyton and Stanhope primary schools.

Kirkpatrick risked his own life to rescue more than 300 wounded Australian and New Zealand soldiers during the campaign of 1915.

He was killed aged just 22 by a sniper’s bullet on May 19, 1915.

His legendary 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: “John Simpson Kirkpatrick is quite rightly a national hero in Australia for his bravery at Gallipoli. The Gallipoli campaign was one of the Allies’ great military disasters in the First World War, but it also stands out for the immense bravery of the ANZAC troops including Kirkpatrick.

“Kirkpatrick was also a son of South Shields and we are extremely proud to honour him and all the other service personnel who lost their lives during the First World War.

“I am sure it will be a poignant event as people gather to recognise the contribution and sacrifices which members of the Armed Forces have made, and continue to make, in conflicts around the globe.”

Everyone is welcome to attend the service and pay their respects.