South Tyneside paid its respects yesterday (Monday 25 April) with a special service to commemorate the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps on ANZAC Day.
Members of the public joined the Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Richard Porthouse, at the John Simpson Kirkpatrick memorial statue in Ocean Road in South Shields Town Centre to mark the national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought in the battle of Gallipoli during the First World War.
The Mayor of South Tyneside, led a one minute silence and a rendition of The Last Post before laying a wreath at the foot of the Gallipoli plaque at Littlehaven Promenade.
The ceremony was led by the Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear, Mrs Susan Winfield OBE, which included a service conducted by Reverend Paul Kennedy, of St Michael and All Angels Church, was attended by local dignitaries, military organisations and children from Lord Blyton and Laygate primary schools.
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 19 May 1915.
Last year was the 100th anniversary of John Simpson Kirkpatrick’s death which was marked by the Borough welcoming the Australian High Commissioner, The Hon Alexander Downer AC, to a special service at the Kirkpatrick memorial before unveiling a plaque at Littlehaven Promenade.
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: “It was an honour to join Australia and New Zealand to commemorate the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought and died in the battle of Gallipoli during the First World War.
“I was proud to see the Borough come together to pay tribute to John Simpson Kirkpatrick alongside his comrades to mark ANZAC Day.”