South Tyneside Council is preparing to host a memorial service to one of South Shields best known and respected sons - John Simpson Kirkpatrick - the soldier with the donkey at Gallipoli.
This service of remembrance will be at the Parish Church of South Shields, St Hilda's at 12.00 noon on Sunday 18th May and it is expected that people from throughout the UK will wish to be there to pay their respects to this remarkable man.
Expected to attend are representatives of the Australian High Commission in London, members of Her Majesty's Forces and a number of gallantry medallists, including Captain Richard Annand VC, himself a native of the town and Freeman of South Shields. The Gallipoli Association, a body dedicated to studying and remembering the losses of this campaign, will also be involved in the organisation of this commemoration.
Association member and distinguished writer on the subject of Gallipoli, David Saunders, is quoted as saying: "This Service for Kirkpatrick is long overdue and South Tyneside Council and the people of South Shields are to be commended for taking the initiative in commemorating a Shield's man who is Australia's greatest war hero".