The story of stretcher bearer Jack Simpson, who left South Shields to seek his fortune in Australia, never made it, and joined the Anzacs at Gallipoli during WW1. Jack was hoping to get a free trip home, but instead rescued over 300 men (including his childhood friend Billy, although they never realised at the time) in 24 days using a wild donkey he tamed on the hillsides (stretchers were in short supply as the battle didn't go well) before being shot by a Turkish sniper. The book is beautifully illustrated and accessible for children. I liked the way it included Australian and Indian soldiers, and included settings in the UK, Australia, Egypt and Turkey. The sad ending helped children in my class understand the horror and futility of war.
We reduced the story, which includes some American (Australian?) spellings and quite complex vocabulary to a 'talk for writing' oral retelling with signs, and modelled a mod-roc Gallipoli Peninsula to use for small world play to help us write our own version of the story.