The actions of one of South Tyneside’s war heroes are being commemorated by a special medal.
Councillor Peter Boyack, the president of the South Shields Royal British Legion, was sent the Gallipoli medallion from Australia, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, during which South Shields-born John Simpson Kirkpatrick saved more than 300 allied soldiers.
The specially-minted ANZAC Commemorative Medallion was sent by The Doyalson-Wyee RSL Sub-Branch, in New South Wales, Australia for the president of the South Shields Royal Legion to wear on Remembrance Day and ANZAC Day each year in remembrance of the Gallipoli landings and of the selfless courage displayed Mr Kirkpatrick.
He risked his own life to rescue wounded Australian and New Zealand soldiers from the frontline at Gallipoli using his trusted donkey. He was killed aged 22 by a sniper’s bullet on May 19,.
The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Richard Porthouse, said: “It is important that we remember the courage and determination John Simpson Kirkpatrick showed on Galliopli’s frontline, particularly this year as we mark the anniversary of his death along with our friends across the globe.
Earlier this year the Australian High Commissioner, the Hon Alexander Downer AC, visited South Tyneside as part of special celebrations marking 100 years to the day that Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick died.
Coun Peter Boyack said: “I am delighted to receive this medallion and to know that Kirkpatrick’s extraordinary story continues to be told to schoolchildren, here in South Tyneside and across the world.
“His loyalty to his comrades is held with the utmost respect across South Tyneside and I look forward to wearing the medallion with pride on this year’s Remembrance Day and on other appropriate occasions in honour of the courage Kirkpatrick showed and the sacrifice he made, to save so many.”