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New honour for donkey hero; Australian citys tribute to rescuer of fallen soldiers.

Byline: By TINA JUNDAY

HE MADE the ultimate sacrifice for his fellow soldiers.

And now, more than 90 years after his death, a Tyneside war hero is to be remembered more than 8,000 miles from where he was born.

The story of Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick and his donkey, who ferried 300 wounded soldiers to safety during the battle of Gallipoli in the First World War before he was shot dead, has become legendary in his home town of South Shields.

A statue of the soldier and his trusty stead takes pride of place in the town's Ocean Road.

And now doctors and nurses in Adelaide, Australia, are planning to pay tribute to their hero by raising funds for a new statue of their hero, who was 22 years old when he was killed among the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in Turkey.

Members of the Simpson Foundation Committee are raising funds to build a bronze sculpture, designed by award-winning artist

Robert Hannaford. The statue will be supported by Adelaide City Council, which is still deciding on an exact location for the memorial.

Pte Kirkpatrick worked with donkeys in South Shields before he set sail for Australia. Secretary for the Caer Urfa Heritage Association, in South Shields, Doreen Monteiro, 74, said: "He was such a brave young man to do what he did. He deserves this after all his bravery and he shouldn't be forgotten.

"This honour and recognition is long overdue."

Dr Viki Andersons, chair of the Simpson Committee, said the statue will also contain an audiovisual display to commemorate his courageous efforts.

She said: "We want to put up a statue of Simpson and his donkey to commemorate him and all contributions he made to South Australians."

CAPTION(S):

CELEBRATED: From left, John Simpson Kirkpatrick during WWI; an existing statue to him in Australia; and the South Shields statue; SOLDIERS: Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick's regiment
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 11, 2008
Words:319
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