Mike colman

The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - UP FRONT -

To­day I am go­ing for a lit­tle stroll down the cen­tre of The Strand. When I get to the Ceno­taph, I’ll be greeted by Her Majesty the Queen. Okay, so there will be a few hun­dred oth­ers also do­ing the walk­ing, and the Queen won’t be greet­ing me per se, but it’s still a pretty big deal in our fam­ily.

As most of you prob­a­bly know by now, to­day marks the 100th an­niver­sary of the land­ing at Gal­lipoli and in Lon­don, de­spite the fact that the whole thing was a cock-up of mon­u­men­tal pro­por­tion thanks in no small part to the Bri­tish Ad­mi­ralty, it is be­ing cel­e­brated with full pomp and cer­e­mony. Which is how I get to be walk­ing down The Strand. For the first time ever, the Lon­don An­zac Day cer­e­mony will fea­ture a march by di­rect descen­dants of the orig­i­nal An­zacs. Of which I, by virtue of my ma­ter­nal grand­fa­ther, Che­viot Dundee Mar­shall, am one.

All go­ing well you will be able to read more about this once-in-a-life­time ex­pe­ri­ence later in the week, but let’s just say I ex­pect the but­tons on my 80-quid op-shop over­coat will be in grave dan­ger of pop­ping off as I proudly puff out my chest and set off from Horse Guards Av­enue around 10.30am Lon­don time.

I didn’t get to spend much time with Che­viot – or Chief, as his fam­ily used to call him – but I do re­mem­ber one story that my mother told me about his wartime ex­pe­ri­ences. A shop­keeper, he once took her as a kid to the early morn­ing mar­kets to buy some pro­duce. At one of the stalls he in­tro­duced her to an old army pal. “Say hello to Hope­less,” he said. Later she asked why he called him Hope­less. “Be­cause ev­ery morn­ing dur­ing the war he’d wake up, look around and say, ‘This is hope­less’.”

No doubt I’ll be think­ing a lot about my grand­fa­ther and my mother as I walk down The Strand to­day. I might spare a thought for old Hope­less as well.

ard postc from n londo

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