Tribute planned in memory of local hero John Simpson Kirkpatrick

South Tyneside will pay tribute to members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps with a special Anzac Day service tomorrow.

Tuesday, 24th April 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th April 2018, 7:56 am
Tributes at the John Simpson Kirkpatrick memorial in South Shields

ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance commemorated in Australia and New Zealand to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs) who fought in the battle of Gallipoli during the First World War.

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

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Olive Punchion, will be joined by the Mayoress, Mary French, to lead a one-minute silence at 11am and rendition of The Last Post before laying a wreath at the foot of the memorial on behalf of the people of the borough.

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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 until he was killed, aged 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: “Anzac Day gives us an opportunity to remember John Simpson Kirkpatrick for his incredible bravery at Gallipoli.

“Kirkpatrick is rightly a national hero in Australia, but he was also a son of South Shields.

“We are extremely proud to honour and remember him alongside all the service personnel who lost their lives at Gallipoli.”

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