A GREENOCK father and son were guests of honour at a ceremony in England to highlight the bravery of a wartime donkey.

Sam and Alistair Morrell joined civic dignitaries and schoolchildren at the event in Peterborough to honour Jimmy, a battle-scarred donkey who helped to save lives in the First World War.

A remembrance service was held at Jimmy’s burial place in Peterborough’s Central Park, where there is a memorial which is maintained regularly.

Jimmy was born in 1916 in a trench on the battlefield of the Somme.

He was adopted by the Cameronians — many of whom were from the Inverclyde area — and wounded three times by shellfire as he carried ammunition and wounded soldiers.

Jimmy accompanied the Cameronians to Peterborough after the war. He was cared for by a local woman and took part in fundraising activities for many charities, including the RSPCA, and died of natural causes in 1943.

Sam, 73, and Alistair, 47, are members of the Cameronians Scottish Rifles Regimental Association and have visited WW1 battlefields.

War historian Sam first highlighted brave Jimmy’s achievements after seeing the 2011 Steven Spielberg WW1 movie War Horse, and mounted a display to the donkey in the Cameronians’ museum in Hamilton.

Sam said: “The service was very moving. I told the gathering that we were delighted to be there to honour Jimmy.

“The children from a local primary school are very interested in Jimmy, and were pleased when I said they can always go to the park to pay their respects to him.

“Schoolchildren lay flowers at Jimmy’s memorial on Remembrance Sunday to pay tribute to his incredible bravery.” He added: “Jimmy received the Dickin Medal, an animal award for bravery, and he was made an honourary sergeant with three stripes on his bridle.” Sam was involved in the Shot at Dawn campaign, which fought successfully for pardons to be given to more than 300 British soldiers executed by the British Army during WW1 for alleged cowardice and desertion.

He helped campaign for a Shot at Dawn memorial to be erected at The National Memorial Arboretum, which was founded in 1997 and covers more than 150 acres in Staffordshire.