April 25, 2015

ANZAC Day at The Red Lion Pub

Today, Saturday, April 25th 2015, is the 100th Anniversary of Australian and New Zealand soldiers landing at Gallipoli to help British Forces try to take Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) from the Ottoman Turks who fought on the German side of what eventually became known as World War I...often referred to as The Great War. The Aussies and Kiwis fought heroically as you'd probably guess and what soon became known as the ANZAC Legend was born. Every April 25th the hardships and sacrifices made by the Aussie/NZ men and women in uniform from the Great War and the other armed conflicts that followed are honored and remembered. The Den wants to honor them too.

Flags of New Zealand (red stars) and Australia (white stars)

The Den's favorite watering hole and where we got our name is The Red Lion Pub (RLP) in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. Click on the link in the sidebar for a more detailed backstory.  It was founded by a member of the Royal Air Force (WWII) prominently featured in the classic Steve McQueen movie The Great Escape. His son, Colin Cordwell, is the proprietor. The RLP has numerous military artifacts and books on history among the several thousand packing the spruce bookshelves. The front room is known as The Great War Room to honor Colin's grandfather who was wounded (bayoneted) at Gallipoli as a member of the British Army.

Recruiting poster to join Australian Imperial Force.

Royal Australian Air Force recruiting poster.

The Den is donating a book to be on permanent display in the Red Lion's Great War Room and we have started an Honor Roll to remember some of those great ANZAC soldiers who served with such high distinction amid horrors we couldn't begin to comprehend.  We read this past week about the exploits and sad fates of several of Faux Fuchsia's ancestors whose war records she only recently discovered. We were moved by the sacrifices they made and how she still felt such a strong connection and heartache over their hardships. Faux Fuchsia's Great Uncles will be the first to have names inscribed and pictures enclosed in the book below.

Book published by the Australian War Memorial
The Aussies fought in Egypt
Private Herbert Mabin from Townsville, Queensland
41st Battalion AIF
Died from wounds suffered on Western Front in Belgium on December 10, 1917


Leading Airman Cedric Neville Jones
RAAF 1941-1943
Died during a training mission in Queensland in 1943

Leonard George Michael McGuire from Toowoomba, Queensland
42nd Battalion AIF
Fought on Western Front 1916-1917
Wounded at Battle of Broomseinde on October 4, 1917.
Leg amputated on October 24, 1917 in Davenport, England.
Family reports he kept flask of whisky in wooden leg.
George Morrison Mabin from Townsville, Queensland
4th Pioneers AIF
Western Front 1917-1919

Pics to enclose in book.
Pics are identified with details of their service.
They are inscribed in the ANZAC book. We'll encourage Red Lion visitors from Down Under
to add the names of other brave ANZAC men and women.

The Red Lion has it's own Great War Honor Roll well represented with the following pics adorning the walls of The Great War Room:

On the left is RLP proprietor Colin Cordwell's grandfather Private Robert Thomas Cordwell and his brother
 Private James Cordwell
They were both in the 10th London Regiment out of Hackney
Colin's grandfather Private Robert Cordwell was wounded at Gallipoli receiving 3 gunshot wounds
and was bayoneted and was later wounded again in Mesopotamia. Private Cordwell's assessment
 of the enemy Ottoman Turks was "Johnny Turk was a good soldier"

Private James Cordwell (Colin's Uncle)

The 10th London Regiment. Far right is Private Robert Cordwell.

When I walked in, Colin informed me we had 4 friendly blokes in from Sydney having just come from Anzac Day festivities jointly hosted by the Australian Consulate with guests from the New Zealand and Turkish Consulates also attending along with the general public.

GSL's new drinking buddies from Sydney stopped in for ANZAC Day cocktails.
The older fellow 2nd from left was awarded the Military Cross (MC)
 for his exploits in Viet Nam.
My buddy Dutch, Colin, and I raised several glasses in honor of those brave soldiers from Australia and New Zealand that were wounded or fell in battle.


  1. What a lovely tribute G - so touching to think that across the world in Chicago our National day of Remembrance is also being marked. Coincidentally I just emailed you about Gallipoli - check your email!

    1. Thank you Heidi; that Viet Nam vet in the last pic said they had a crowd of 150,000 for pre-dawn ANZAC day festivities in Sydney.
      I'm so looking to that little care package!!!

  2. A great post GSL. I cannot imagine the horrors of WWI but I feel deeply indebted to these men for their sacrifices. Since I was a child of the military I think I feel it deeper than plenty of other people. Whenever I am at Arlington I get chills, which last the entire visit, and when I see all the crosses I cannot help getting weepy. Thank you for writing this post!

    1. Thank you Jill and it does hit much closer to home when you've had family serve. Arlington makes me emotional too.

  3. A touching post GSL! I saw a riveting show on the bbc last night I must recommend mc it was about Gallipoli and Robert murdochs fsther who reported on it. Max Hastings who is also a daily mail reporter said something which ticked me off but then the show was for anyone into military history a must.

    1. I read the Max Hastings WWI book last summer which I thought quite good and liked he lavishly praised Barbara Tuchman's classic The Guns of August which I profiled in a post. I'd love to see that BBC show and do wonder at what Sir Max said to tick off our dear Naomi?

  4. I dips me lid to you GSL! (In case you're mystified - it's Strine guy-speak from those days meaning: "I take my hat off to you!")

    As Heidi says, such a lovely tribute to FF's family and to the other Aussies who fought in the Gallipoli campaign and elsewhere! It really is hands across the Pacific. Very touched. Best wishes, Pammie

    1. My dear Pammie, I often use 'lid' instead of hat so no translation was needed in this instance. We Americans often don't properly recognize the enormous costs and sacrifices paid by the Aussies and NZers in these conflicts.

  5. I am very moved by this !! Thank you.

    It's so kind of you to include my family, best wishes and thank you so much xx

    1. I was honored to help pay tribute to these good men who sacrificed so much. Your posts regarding them were very moving and it's easy to see that their great character, sense of honor, and duty carries on with you and will be passed along to Master FF.

    2. Thanks so much GSL. Anzac Day was never a big deal when I was a kid but it grows year by year. Everyone focusses on Gallipoli and I'd like to see more attention paid to the western front and the campaigns in Palestine…I loathe war but I honour all service men and women.

      I watched Band of Brothers and War Horse and Gallipoli.

      Have you seen all three? Love them all.

      Thanks again xx

    3. I saw only Gallipoli with a young Mel Gibson but haven't yet seen BoB or War Horse but have heard good things about each.

  6. This is indeed a fine tribute to those courageous souls who fought so bravely. Last Friday I listened to a wonderful Radio 4 program all about this very anniversary and some of the stories told by the relatives of these soldiers. One lady said she returns to Gallipoli every few years just to stay connected with her grandfather who fought there.

  7. My children are half kiwi so we are waving the flag!

  8. Really lovely tribute, GSL. As FF said, ANZAC was never a big deal when we were kids but people in NZ and Australia seem to be upping the honours and commemorations every year, which is a good thing, as we can only move forward if we keep examining the past.