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New South Shields war memorial in honour of Gallipoli heroes to help mark Remembrance Day for the first time

The Australian High Commissioner, the Hon Alexander Downer AC, visits South Tyneside as part of special celebrations marking 100 years to the day Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick died in 1915.
The Australian High Commissioner, the Hon Alexander Downer AC, visits South Tyneside as part of special celebrations marking 100 years to the day Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick died in 1915.

A war memorial commemorating the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign has become a permanent fixture on South Tyneside’s seafront.

The plaque was first unveiled during a ceremony in May on the 100th anniversary of the death of Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick, which was attended by the Australian High Commissioner the Hon Alexander Downer AC.

John Simpson Kirkpatrick at Shrapnel Gully.

John Simpson Kirkpatrick at Shrapnel Gully.

The memorial now sits in a prominent position on Littlehaven Promenade in South Shields, which looks out beach where Kirkpatrick worked on the donkey rides during the summer holidays as a boy.

This year’s Remembrance Day will offer people the first chance to commemorate all World War One veterans, including those who fought at Gallipoli at the spot.

More than 100 men from South Tyneside were killed during the campaign.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Richard Porthouse, said, “It is wonderful that this war memorial is now a fixed feature on South Shields seafront.

John Kirkpatrick is a local hero and we are proud to have this memorial at such a beautiful location in South Tyneside.

Councillor Ed Malcolm, chairman of South Tyneside Armed Forces Forum

“This is a very special year for remembrance in South Tyneside as Kirkpatrick lost his life 100 years ago and this plaque offers people the opportunity to remember the courage and determination of John Simpson Kirkpatirck and all his comrades on Gallipoli’s frontline as well as the sacrifice of all those who died fighting in World War One and all conflicts past and present.”

Kirkpatrick risked his own life to rescue wounded Australian and New Zealand soldiers from the frontline with the help of a donkey.

He was killed by a sniper’s bullet, aged 22, on May 19, 1915, but his legendary bravery continues to inspire people to this day.

Councillor Ed Malcolm, chairman of South Tyneside Armed Forces Forum, said: “John Kirkpatrick is a local hero and we are proud to have this memorial at such a beautiful location in South Tyneside.

“The plaque at Littlehaven is just one of many memorials across the Borough that offers people an opportunity to reflect and commemorate our Armed Forces this November.”