Anzac Day 2023 - The Tyneside Connection
Here in the U.K. Remembrance Day is the 11th of November, but in Australia and New Zealand it is the 25th of April - 'Anzac Day' - that resonates more deeply as the national day of remembrance of those countries, as it was on the 25th of April 1915 that Australia and New Zealand first saw action in World War One as independent nations.
Each Anzac Day services and acts of remembrance take place around the world, including here in the U.K., and including here at the Tyne Tees Tigers.
It just so happens that Tyneside has a couple of really interesting connections to Anzac Day:
Firstly, a young Australian soldier by the name of Stanley Chippendale lies buried in a cemetery in Jesmond. Like so many of his generation he enlisted back in Australia in October 1915, and had tragically lost his life at the tender age of 21by August of the following year.
The Tigers gather at his grave each year to pay our respects to him, and to pause to reflect on the historical and ongoing sacrifice made by men and women all around the world in the service of peace.
Secondly, as World War One raged on the Gallipoli peninsula a legend grew about a man who was a stretcher bearer.
John Simpson Kirkpatrick was born in South Shields in 1892, but he left there in 1909, and ended up in Australia, whereupon he joined the Australian Army and landed at Gallipoli on 25th April 1915.
In three short weeks Simpson gained the respect of his colleagues for the bravery he showed in commandeering a donkey and setting out each day - usually through perilous gunfire - to rescue wounded soldiers. Sadly, he was killed by machine gun fire on the 19th of May 2015 and is buried in the beach ceremony at what is now called Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey.
As stories of his bravery filtered back to Australia a 'legend' was born, and a bronze statue of 'Simpson and his donkey' features prominently at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne (which is well worth a visit if ever you're in that part of the world).
Lest we forget.