AJ Shout

CAPTAIN ALFRED JOHN SHOUT VC, MC

1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Division

 

Alfred John SHOUT was born in New Zealand on 8 August 1882[1] to John Richard and Agnes Mary Shout. He was educated privately and at the age of eighteen went to South Africa with his half brother Bill the young adventurers paying their own way to get there. Alfred joined the Border Horse Regiment enlisting on 17 February 1900. He attained the rank of Sergeant and later served with the Cape Field Artillery from 1903 to 1907. In 1905 Shout married Rose Alice Howe, an Australian woman, and the couple had a daughter Florence Agnes Maud. In 1907, the Shout family emigrated to Australia, settling in the Sydney suburb of Darlington where Shout was employed as a carpenter and joiner at Resch’s Brewery.

He joined the 29th Infantry Regiment of the Militia in 1907 and was commissioned Second Lieutenant in that unit on 16 June 1914. On the outbreak of the First World War he enlisted in the AIF on 27 August 1914 and was appointed to the 1st Australian Infantry Battalion as a Second Lieutenant. On 18 October he embarked with 1st Battalion aboard A19 HMAT SS Afric for Egypt disembarking at Alexandria in Egypt on 18 December.

After further training in Egypt, during which time he was promoted to Lieutenant on 1 February 1915, Lieutenant Shout landed with the 1st Battalion at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. He distinguished himself at the landing on 25 April and during the next ten days. He was twice wounded in action, on 27 April and 11 May.

For displaying conspicuous courage and ability in organizing and leading his men in the thick, bushy country under withering fire, exposing himself repeatedly to locate the enemy, and leading a bayonet charge on Turkish positions, he was awarded the Military Cross and mentioned in General Sir lan Hamilton’s dispatches of 29 June. The original recommendation for the award of his Military Cross reads:

On Tuesday 27th April, on the left flank, Lieutenant Shout was most conspicuous in carrying out reconnaissances, organising men, and leading them under very heavy fire at a very critical stage. In order to direct the fire of his men, Lieutenant Shout was compelled to leave cover and locate the enemy, who were firing heavily. He made several trips along the line to confer with Captain Concannon[2]. Later the enemy came so close that a bayonet charge was necessary and when the party emerged from the bush they came under heavy machine gun and rifle fire. During the whole of this time Lieutenant Shout was constantly exposing himself in supervising the line and continued until wounded.

On 29 July he was promoted to Captain. On 6 August, at 5:40pm, at the commencement of the Battle of Lone Pine, 1st Battalion attacked the Turkish trenches. The Battalion had to beat off heavy counter-attacks the next day and was briefly withdrawn at 11:30am. By 3:00pm the Battalion was back in the line repelling fierce Turkish attacks. These were defeated and there was a brief respite until 4:30am on the 8th August. From then 1st Battalion fought continuously until 2:00pm when it was relieved for a second time by the 7th Battalion. Early on the 9th the 1st Battalion again re-entered the Lone Pine trenches to find a large portion of Sasse’s Sap was occupied by the enemy. Captains Shout and Sasse decided to clear the enemy from the trench an action during Shout was wounded several times the wounds being so severe that they forced his evacuation to a hospital ship.

For his bravery during this action Captain Shout was recommended to be awarded a Victoria Cross. Sadly, suffering from his horrendous wounds, Captain Shout died at sea while being evacuated on the Hospital Ship Euralia and was buried at sea. Captain Shout was awarded his Victoria Cross posthumously. With no known grave Captain Shout is commemorated on Panel 12 of the Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey and on Panel 30, Commemorative Area, AWM, Canberra, ACT.

The recommendation for Captain Shout’s Victoria Cross reads:

For most conspicuous bravery at Lone Pine trenches in the Gallipoli Campaign. On the morning of the 9th of August, 1915, with a very small party Captain Shout charged down trenches strongly occupied by the enemy and personally threw four bombs among them, killing eight and routing the remainder. In the afternoon of the same day, from the position gained in the morning, he captured a further length of trench under similar conditions and continued personally to bomb the enemy at close range under very heavy fire until he was severely wounded, losing his right hand and left eye. This most gallant officer has since succumbed to his wounds.

Captain Alfred John Shout’s Victoria Cross was added to the Australian War Memorial collection in 2006 and is displayed in the Hall of Valour alongside the other Lone Pine Victoria Crosses.

It is noted that Captain Cecil Duncan Sasse was awarded a Distinguished Service Order for his gallantry on the 8th and 9th August 1915 at Lone Pine.

[1] There is discrepancy among the sources regarding Shout’s date of birth. Some sources use 7 August 1881. Shout’s Australian Imperial Force service file, however, records it to be 8 August 1882 and as the service record is an official government file and the majority of scholars record that date 8 August 1882 is the date used in this article.

[2] The Captain Concannon being referred to was Captain George Lewis Blake Concannon from 2nd Australian Infantry Battalion. Captain Concannon was KIA at Gallipoli on 30 April 1915.