Gallipoli and the Anzacs

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Bravery Awards at Gallipoli

Captain Alfred Shout

1st Battalion, 9 August 1915

‘As brave as ever wore the uniform of the King…’

Photo: see caption and story below

Lieutenant Alfred Shout MC, 1st Battalion, AIF, photographed by Australia’s official war correspondent Charles Bean on 7 June 1915. Shout is standing in the communications trench between Courtney’s Post and Quinn’s Post on the ridge line at Anzac. In the middle of the trench was a concealed entrance through which scouts went out into no-man’s-land. Shout, one of the scouts, is standing at that entrance. Shout, who had distinguished himself during the days of the Battle of Landing, 25 April-3 May, and been awarded the Military Cross, was promoted Captain shortly before he went into action with the 1st Battalion during the Battle of Lone Pine, 6-9 August 1915. [AWM G01028] ... Enlarge photo

image: see caption below

A studio portrait of Alfred Shout taken about 1912. [AWM P02058.001] ... Enlarge photo

Alfred Shout's citation

Captain Alfred John
1st Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF

9 August 1915, at Lone Pine Trenches, Gallipoli Peninsular
( Posthumous Award )

CITATION: For most conspicuous bravery at Lone Pine Trenches, in the Gallipoli Peninsular. On the morning of 9 August, 1915, with a 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 injuries.

( London Gazette 15 October 1915. )

By all accounts Captain Alfred Shout was a leader of men. He landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 and was soon in the thick of the fighting on Baby 700 and Walker’s Ridge to which latter place he led a group of stragglers on that day to support the line against brave Turkish counter-attacks. Like many of those involved in the landing, Shout was on his feet for over two days repelling the determined enemy attacks aimed at driving the Anzacs off Gallipoli. Although he was wounded several times, Shout carried on helping wounded men back from the firing line and he was seen to help over a dozen men in this way. One bullet struck his arm and rendered it useless. Still, Shout would not go back telling his men – ‘I am with you boys to the finish’. More wounds followed until finally he was carried off. For his actions during the Battle of the Landing Shout was awarded the Military Cross.

This kind of leadership was essential at Gallipoli. Fear of death, fear of wounds, fear of being maimed would have gripped any man with enough imagination. At times Shout’s very presence seemed to put heart into men. As one soldier wrote of him:

He never risked his life for no purpose, but just to see him walking calmly along the trenches in the thick of an attack, or stalking through the undergrowth as though there were no such thing as bullets, was enough to give a man good heart for fighting.

[Quoted in Stephen Snelling, VCs of the First World War: Gallipoli, 1995, p.161]

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Panel 12 of the wall displaying the Australian missing of Gallipoli at the Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli. Captain Alfred Shout VC MC, who died of wounds received on 9 August 1915 during the action for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross, is shown under ‘Australian Infantry 1st Battalion’ ... Enlarge photo

image: see caption below

Lieutenant Alfred Shout 1st Battalion, AIF (later Captain, VC and MC), sniping with a periscope rifle in a trench at Gallipoli. According to the AWM this image was lent to the museum by a ‘Major C Jackson, 1st Battalion’. This is possibly Captain Clarence Jackson, who sailed with the 1st Battalion from Sydney in 1914 and who took his discharge from the AIF in England in 1917. [AWM A04045] ... Enlarge photo

By the time of the Battle of Lone Pine, Shout had been promoted Captain. On the morning of 9 August, opposite the 1st Battalion’s positions, there was still a large party of the enemy in what was known as Sasse’s Sap. This trench had been captured on 6 August during the initial Australian charge into Lone Pine and named after Shout’s friend in the first battalion, Captain Cecil Sasse. Sasse now determined to clear the Turks out of this trench and set off accompanied by three men with sandbags. While Sasse shot at the Turks, killing more than a dozen of them, his men erected a new barricade. This accomplishment emboldened Sasse and in the afternoon he suggested to Shout that they try and recapture more of Sasse’s Sap. They gathered together a party of eight men with sandbags and bombs. Then, with Sasse and Shout in the lead – Sasse firing his rifle and Shout throwing bombs – they advanced down the trench. In this way, edging forward gradually, new barricades were erected and more sections of the trench were regained. Shout, according to Charles Bean was fighting with a ‘splendid gaiety’ when he lit three more bombs in preparation for a final dash forward. The third of these burst in his hand ‘shattering one side of his face and body’.

Drawing: see caption below

Artist’s impression of the fate of Captain Alfred Shout, 1st Battalion, AIF, during the action for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross at Lone Pine, Gallipoli, 9 August 1915. Shout lit three bombs at once in order to throw them in quick succession. Apparently, as he tried to throw the second or third bomb it blew up shattering one hand and most of the other as well as severely wounding his cheek and scorching his breast and leg. These were severe wounds from which Shout died two days later but the artist has perhaps spared the viewer the reality of the situation. [Drawing in Stephen Snelling, VCs of the First World War: Gallipoli, Stroud, 1995, p.162] ... Enlarge drawing of death of Alfred Shout

Shout was carried to the rear where he was even able to sit up and drink some tea. However, later on a hospital ship he died and was buried at sea off Gallipoli. Shout is one of that great company of the Australian dead on Gallipoli who have ‘no known grave’ but his name is on the wall of the Lone Pine Memorial among the other missing of the 1st Battalion. As is the practice with the listing of names on such memorials by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Shout is here given his rank and his name is followed by those most telling and most earned of letters, VC.

After Lone Pine, Shout’s commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Bennett wrote to his wife to tell her of his death. Calling Shout ‘as true a gentleman and as brave as ever wore the uniform of the King’, he described Shout’s great leadership qualities and those actions which had revealed the dead man’s undoubted courage. Bennett concluded by writing that he ‘hoped to see his (Shout’s) name honoured by enrolment in the band of heroes who have won the VC’. Shout’s name was so honoured and his citation for the award duly appeared in the London Gazette of 15 October 1915 along with the six other Australian VC recipients of Lone Pine.

Photo story: memorial to Captain Alfred Shout VC MC

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Memorial to Captain Alfred Shout VC MC ... Enlarge photo

This memorial to Captain Alfred Shout VC MC was unveiled in Sydney just days before the final evacuation of the Anzac area, Gallipoli, on the night of 19-20 December 1915. An interesting feature is the reference to Shout having been awarded his Military Cross at ‘Gaba Tepe’. In much early reporting of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli in Australia the area was referred to as ‘Gaba Tepe’. This is the peninsula coming out from the Gallipoli coast a couple of kilometres south of the area eventually held by the Anzacs. Throughout the campaign it remained firmly in Turkish hands. Those responsible for the wording of this plaque, however, would have been in no doubt that what they were referring to was Shout’s gallantry during the battle of the Landing, 25 April-3 May 1915. Shout was awarded his MC for his outstanding leadership during strong Turkish counter-attacks on 27 April. Although wounded in this action he was heard to say: I am here with you boys to the finish. [Shout, quoted in Stephen Snelling, VCs of the First World War: Gallipoli, Stroud, 1995, p.179]