The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

 
 
Sergeant Alfred Shout MID (Later Captain VC, MC, MID)

Captain Alfred John Shout VC, MC, MID, a New Zealander who fought for the British in South Africa, and died at Lone Pine.

Alfred Shout's BinocularsOne of the Australian Victoria Cross recipients at Gallipoli was Captain Alfred John Shout. Shout was an officer in F company of the 1st Battalion AIF.

Alfred Shout was born in Wellington New Zealand in 1881. After being educated privately until 1891 Alfred went to school in Newman, a tiny settlement north of Masterton, New Zealand.

At the time of the Boer War Shout, with his half brother Bill, was anxious to join up. Contrary to some sources they did not serve with a New Zealand contingent. Almost certainly, at the age of 18 he would have been regarded as far too young and inexperienced for the early New Zealand contingents. Alfred and Bill paid their own way to South Africa, where Alfred joined the Border Horse Regiment, enlisting 17 February 1900. This was a mounted rifle regiment formed for operations in the Eastern Cape. The medal roll for the Border Horse shows that he was eligible for the Queen’s South Africa medal (QSA) with clasps for Wepener and Wittebergen (both in the Orange Free State), Cape Colony and Transvaal. It appears that the Wepener clasp may be missing from his medal group in the Australian War Memorial. It is said that the unit operated out of Mafeking under the command of Robert Baden Powell. This was clearly after the siege was concluded. Accounts show that he was wounded on active service on possibly two occasions.

By January 1901 Shout was a Lance Corporal. The Border Horse was part of the force sent to stop Christian de Wet from invading Cape Colony. On 29 January 1901, the Border Horse under Colonel Crewe (a force of 700) went searching for de Wet. They met de Wet in the vicinity of Thabaksberg in the Winburg district. De Wet had a force of several thousand in the area and it was soon clear that Crewe's force was in severe trouble. It managed to extricate itself at a cost of 10 casualties. It is possible that Shout was one of the wounded at this point, as it was here that he was Mentioned in Dispatches (MID) and promoted to Sergeant. (Army Orders 23 Feb 1901).

The citation said that he had assisted greatly in maintaining the position of his men and had shown great courage in going out under heavy fire to rescue a wounded soldier of 17 Battery, Royal Field Artillery. Records show him as discharged from the Border Horse 23 May 1901 on completion of service.

It is clear, however that he continued his service at least into 1902 if not up to the end of the war. His King’s South Africa Medal (KSA) was a renamed medal, (a returned medal reused) to No.359 A.J. Shout, South African Mounted Irregular Force. SAMIF whilst having its own soldiers, was also a "Catch All" medal roll for those colonials missed off other units' rolls.

On his World War I enlistment papers he states very clearly that he only ever served with the Border Horse. The Border Horse QSA roll contains the notation 'Stellenbosch District Mounted Troops'. It seems likely that whilst recovering from wounds he was assigned as cadre to support local district defence units, his unit however quite happily discharged him leaving the necessity to give him his KSA on an SAMIF roll.

After the war he stayed on in South Africa as a carpenter and joiner, as well as continuing his military service as a Sergeant in the Prince Alfred Cape Field Artillery, a militia or part-time unit.

After marrying an Australian girl, Rose Alice Howe, he migrated to Australia with his family in 1907 and was employed as a carpenter and joiner at Resch's brewery, Sydney. He was then resident in Darlington, a suburb now largely disappeared as part of the grounds of Sydney University.

Alf gets commissioned Alf at Gallipoli
Alf in Egypt Alf in Egypt

He trained as a member of the 29th Battalion, Australian Rifles (a militia unit) whose successor, 4th/3rd Battalion Royal New South Wales Regiment, still exists today. He was also an enthusiastic member of a rifle club. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 29th on 16 June 1914. At the outbreak of war he was granted the commission in F Company, 1st Battalion AIF. This unit’s traditions are today maintained by the 1st/19th Battalion RNSWR.

Alfres Shouts' Medals

He took part in the landing on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, and was awarded the Military Cross and Mentioned in Despatches for his actions over the next few weeks. On 6 August the AIF attacked at Lone Pine. During three days of bitter fighting Shout became one of seven Australians to be awarded the Victoria Cross there. He took part in the initial assault and over the next days was conspicuous in defending captured positions. On 9 August Shout charged down an enemy trench, killing eight Turks with bombs and wounding others. Later that day he simultaneously lit three bombs as a prelude to a final dash. The third exploded prematurely, causing horrendous injuries. Shout died of his wounds at sea.

Lone Pine Gallipoli where Alf rests in peace

David Deasey


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