ANZAC Day memorial service to take place in South Shields at John Simpson Kirkpatrick statue
Schoolchildren from across South Tyneside are joining dignitaries in a special ceremony to remember members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).
The day has a special significance in the borough due to the role played in South Shields hero John Simpson Kirkpatrick, 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 Australian and New Zealand soldiers wounded on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey.
He was killed by a sniper’s bullet in 1915 at the age of just 22. His acts of heroism inspired generations of people and he is still highly regarded in Australia where his amazing story is told to schoolchildren.
A service marking the centenary of his death was held in South Shields in 2015, with the Australian high commissioner and the deputy commissioner of New Zealand among those attending - a mark of the regard in which Kirkpatrick is held in the Antipodes.
The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Ken Stephenson, and Mayoress Cathy Stephenson will lay a wreath at the John Simpson Kirkpatrick memorial statue on Ocean Road on ANZAC Day Thursday, April 25. and will lead a one minute silence at 11am in memory of those who fought at Galipoli in the First World War.
Children from Lord Blyton, and Stanhope primary schools will also be at the service which will be led by Canon Miller.
The Mayor said: “John Kirkpatrick is quite rightly a hero in Australia but he is also a son of South Shields so it is only right that we 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 members of the Armed Forces have made, and continue to make, in conflicts around the globe.”
He said everyone is welcome to attend the service and pay their respects.