#SheReviews Gallipoli – The War Nobody Won by Kenn Lord

August 12, 2021


Gallipoli, The War Nobody Won And the Man Whose Life It Stole, is a deeply personal and detailed account of one man’s experiences on the Gallipoli Peninsula. When war broke out in 1914, Charlie Lord was a Jackaroo in Rockhampton, a sun-kissed Queensland town. He enlisted in the 5th Light Horse Regiment, answering the British Empire’s call. Here he kept a diary of his experiences and in this book his beloved son, Kenn, has shared his Dad’s story based on his experiences, conversations at home in his surviving years and his mother’s reminisces after his father’s death.

About the Author 

Kenn Lord is a Brisbane actor, screenwriter and journalist who has penned this book as a heartfelt tribute to his father. Kenn, who has worked in theatre since he was 16 is a well known face in Australia. His early years were spent in the theatre before he transitioned into a career in television. 

Kenn spent many years writing cop shows, panel games and soaps for Crawford Productions in Melbourne and Reg Grundy Productions in Sydney and Melbourne. He partnered in theatre restaurants, before becoming a weekly columnist for many Brisbane newspapers and he had a twenty -two year career writing about lifestyles, food, theatre, fashion, television and events. In this role he travelled the world. He knows how to spin a yarn or two and I’m sure he has some secrets on celebrity parties and events in the vault. Kenn is married with two children and three grandchildren and is presently working as a freelance writer and author. 

About the book 

In 1914 Kenn’s Dad, Charlie Lord, left the safe shores of Australia, leaving behind his world and the woman he loved, Kitty Price. Sailing first to Egypt he was then shipped to Gallipoli. This story is an account of the man he was and the man he became. For readers the account of war is very real ….. for Charles kept a diary, written every day for 131 days as he survived in the trenches of Gallipoli. It records the horror, bloodshed, blunders and mateship of the Dardanelles campaign. 

Near the end of the campaign Charlie was wounded. He was sent to recover in a Cairo Hospital before finally being discharged and sent home. His is a remarkable story of great horror, deprivations and daily disturbance and skirmish. Where men slept upright in their gear ready for the never ending battles, had to wear the same clothes for six weeks,  surviving on the barest rations and little water, in a land far from their home. It is also a story of a will to survive and also of bit of luck. Charlie Lord did return home to family and friends but he was never the same man again. 

This account is an historical document filled with real experiences and first hand insight from one who was there. Imagine watching your friends from home offered up as cannon fodder or collecting supplies with snipers waiting in the hills above! Even on those rare occasions when soldiers could cool off in the sea they were never safe. These men must have been in a constant state of high alert. Kenn details the many battles and their outcomes, the poor conditions these courageous soldiers lived in and the decisions which made this campaign the war that nobody won. 

Kenn’s mother Kitty sums up the aftermath for Charlie by saying, 

“He looked like he’d aged 20 years, and it took months to return to some kind of normality. He was plagued by nightmares and lack of sleep and there was little I could do to help. It was then I realised that the man who went away had gone forever, and would never come back.” 

Staff Sergeant CJ Lord arrived in Gallipoli with a regiment of 650 men, only 11 men survived through the campaign. Many were killed, some were wounded and sent home and others left sick. All this loss and still the campaign was a failure. Excerpts from Charlie’s diary are weaved throughout this narrative to give a soldier’s perspective, in his own words. It makes for interesting reading and you wonder, Why did they persevere? Why are dates muddled and unclear? How could so many soldiers have been sacrificed on both sides? 

Kenn and his family returned to Gallipoli in 2015 for The Anzac Hundred Year Commemorative and he recounts that journey of remembrance well in the latter stages of his book and gives his modern day perspective on a day fraught with emotion. 

There have been many accounts and  stacks of books written about Gallipoli but it seems magical to me that these diaries have survived to tell the real tale of one man in the trenches.This would certainly be enjoyed by history and military buffs as well as those interested in knowing more about Gallipoli and our Anzacs. Kenn Lord’s Gallipoli: The War Nobody Won and The Man Whose Life It Stole has been published by Luminosity Publishing and is out now.