Alfred (Alf, Whisper) Shout

Full name:
Alfred John Shout, VC, MC

New Zealand

At sea
Carpenter, Joiner
Not known

Died of wounds

Highest rank:
Decorations/ commendations:
Victoria Cross (VC), Military Cross (MC), 1914–1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Queen's South Africa Medal, King's South Africa Medal
Australian Imperial Force
World War I 1914-1918
Military event:
Battle of Lone Pine 1915, Gallipoli Campaign 1915
1st Infantry Battalion, AIF

'As brave as ever wore the uniform of the King…'

Captain Alfred John Shout was awarded Military Cross (MC) for his actions during the Battle of the Landing in 1915 and the Victoria Cross (VC) for bravery at the Battle of Lone Pine in 1915.

Early life

Alfred John Shout was born in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1881. Alfred was the eldest of 9 children born to an English-born cook, John Richard Shout and his Mary Ann Kelly. Alfred had an older half-brother from his mother's first marriage.

Military service was part of Alfred's family history. Alfred's maternal grandfather served with the Royal Irish Artillery before he emigrated to New Zealand. His mother's first husband, Bernard 'Barney' McGovern, had served with the 50th (Queen's Own) Regiment in Crimea, Ceylon and New Zealand.

Alfred was educated at home with his siblings until a small school opened at Newman in late 1891.

At 18, Alfred and his half-brother Bill McGovern (as W.J. Shout) enlisted as a private in the New Zealand Army. They joined the New Zealand contingent in the Second South African (Boer) War. Alfred served with the South African Border Horse from 1900 to 1902.

Lance Corporal Alfred Shout was mentioned in despatches in 1901. Under heavy fire on 29 January, he recovered a wounded soldier in the Thabaksberg Range in the eastern part of the Orange River Colony. He was promoted to sergeant in March 1901.

After the war, Bill returned to farming in New Zealand, but Alfred stayed in South Africa. He served as a sergeant in the Cape Field Artillery. He married Australian-born Rose Howe in South Africa in 1905.

Alfred and Rose moved to Sydney, Australia, in 1907 with their infant daughter Florence. They lived at Darlington, and he worked nearby as a carpenter and joiner at Resch's Brewery in Redfern.

Keeping up his service history, Alfred joined the 29th Infantry (Australian Rifles) of the Citizen Military Forces (CMF) in 1907. He was made a sergeant in 1912 and obtained his commission on 16 June 1914. He also became well-known as a marksman (skilled shooter) in Sydney rifle club competitions.

Man with short parted hair and a moustache, wearing a suit jacket, white stiff-collared shirt, bowtie and buttonhole flower, stares into the camera.
Studio portrait of Captain Alfred John Shout in about 1912. He had served with the New Zealand contingent in the Second South African (Boer) War. He served with the 1st Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, at Gallipoli. He died from wounds on 11 August 1915 and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery at Lone Pine. AWM P02058.001

World War I

Britain declared war against Germany on 4 August 1914. Ten days later, Alfred applied for a commission in the Australian Military Forces. He was keen to serve overseas, as he had done in South Africa.

Alfred's application was successful – he would become a leader in the First Australian Imperial Force (AIF).

Alfred had a month of basic army training at Liverpool military camp.

On 18 October 1914, Alfred embarked from Sydney with the 1st Australian Infantry Battalion aboard HMAT Afric. Like most people on board, he thought they were heading to the trenches of Belgium and northern France. HMAT Afric sailed with the first convoy of Australian troops.

The Australians disembarked at Alexandria, Egypt, on 5 December. They proceeded to Mena, near Cairo, where they set up camp under the great pyramids of Giza. Between December 1914 and March 1915, a new situation developed in the war. Alfred was destined to serve in the Gallipoli Campaign, against the Ottoman Army.

Man wearing an army uniform and broad felt hat leans back against an ancient stone wall and smiles.
Informal portrait of Second Lieutenant Alfred John Shout, probably in Egypt, 1915. On the back of the photograph is written the single word 'Whisper', a reference to Alfred's nickname. AWM P05402.001
Four men dressed in long-sleeved shirts, shorts and long socks pose for a photo between two rows of canvas military tents with a large ancient pyramid in the background.
Four officers of D Company, 1st Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF, who took part in a football match against a 2nd Battalion team at Australian Imperial Force Mena camp, outside Cairo, Egypt, March 1915. Identified back row: Major Blair Inskip Swannell; Lieutenant Alfred John Shout; front row: Lieutenant William Sydney Duchesne; Captain Harold Jacobs. AWM C02130
Man dressed in army shirt, shorts and leg wraps crouches in front of a canvas military tent to feed a white rabbit.
Lieutenant Alfred John Shout hand feeding a pet rabbit at the Australian Imperial Force Mena camp near Cairo, Egypt, March 1915. AWM A04031

Landing at Gallipoli

Alfred was promoted to lieutenant on 1 February 1915. The 1st Battalion proceeded to Greece in March to prepare for the Australian attack on attack on Gaba Tepe, the Gallipoli peninsula.

Alfred landed at Gallipoli with the 1st Battalion on 25 April. He was soon in the thick of the fighting on Baby 700 and Walker's Ridge. That day, he led a group of stragglers at Walker's Ridge to support the line against brave Turkish counter-attacks.

Like many of those in the landing, Alfred was on his feet for over 2 days, repelling the determined enemy attacks aimed at driving the Anzacs off Gallipoli. Although he was wounded several times, Alfred carried on helping wounded men back from the firing line. He was seen to help more than 10 men in this way. One bullet struck his arm and rendered it useless. Still, Alfred would not go back, telling his men – 'I am with you boys to the finish'.

On 27 April, Alfred had a gunshot wound to the arm, with the bullet lodged in his chest. He was treated on the hospital ship, HMHS Gascon, and returned to his unit.

Alfred was awarded the Military Cross (MC) for his actions during the Battle of the Landing.

Over the first weeks at Gallipoli, the 1st Battalion lost many men. The fighting between the Australians and the Turks was fierce. Wounded again on 9 May, Alfred was evacuated to HMHS Gascon. He stayed on the ship until 26 May.

Three men dressed in army uniforms with officer's caps on a wooden deck, one in a wooden chair with a book and two sitting on the boards.
Lieutenant Alfred John Shout, with his wounded right arm in a sling, sitting between 2 unidentified officers on the hospital ship HMHS Gascon, photographed between 11 and 26 May 1915. AWM P11610.002

Citation for Military Cross

On 27th April 1915, during operations near Gaba Tepe, for showing conspicuous courage and ability in organising and leading his men in a thick bushy country, under very heavy fire. He frequently had to expose himself to locate the enemy, and led a bayonet charge at a critical moment.

[London Gazette No. 6539, 3 July 1915]

Man in army uniform and cap standing in a trench lined with sandbags is looking through a triangular frame above which rests a rifle.
Lieutenant Alfred John Shout, 1st Battalion AIF (later Captain, VC and MC), sniping with a periscope rifle, Gallipoli peninsula, 1915. AWM A04045

Alfred was promoted to the rank of captain on 29 July. He was also mentioned in despatches for dedication to duty and bravery.

On 6 August, Alfred led a small party of Australian soldiers at the Lone Pine trenches. He charged down a Turkish-occupied trench under very heavy gunfire, hurling bombs at the enemy. He also hurled back bombs that the Turks were throwing at his men. Over 2 days of fighting, Alfred kept up his efforts, despite being wounded. Finally, after losing his right hand and left eye in the battle, Alfred was evacuated from Gallipoli for medical treatment. He died from wounds on the hospital ship HMAT Neuralia and was buried at sea.

New Zealand-born James William Morris was serving with the 1st Battalion at Lone Pine, alongside Alfred. The men had known each for years in Sydney as members of the 29th Infantry rifle club. Morris wrote a letter to Major B.F. Parker that was published in the Sydney Morning Herald:

For the next three days they gave us no rest-organised bomb attacks at night and continual artillery fire during the day ... during one of these attacks that Captain Shout came to my section of the trench, and asked me If I could spare him some of my bombs ... He was brought back a quarter of an hour after with terrible injuries. Two of his bombs had burst suddenly, and that put an end to his career as a soldier.

Alfred was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for his actions during the Battle of Lone Pine.

Citation for Victoria Cross

SHOUT, Captain Alfred John 1st Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF – 9 August 1915, at Lone Pine Trenches, Gallipoli Peninsular (Posthumous Award)

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]

When the news broke about Alfred's VC, newspaper reports said veterans of the Lone Pine battle were gratified:

The wounded soldiers from Lone Pine described Lieut. Shout as doing incredible things, though he never risked his life when there was no purpose to be achieved. It gave anybody good heart to see him stalk through the undergrowth.

The Australian war correspondent at Gallipoli, Captain Charles (CEW) Bean, was reported as saying Alfred was:

one of the gamest officers who ever lived. From the first day he was ready for any adventure, plunging into the thick of it light-hearted and laughing.

Alfred's younger brother Arthur James Shout was living in Dandenong during the war. He enlisted with the AIF on 5 December 1916. He served as a corporal with the 38th Australian Infantry Battalion and was wounded at Passchendaele.

Alfred's widow Rose remarried to war veteran Alfred George Lovel in 1928. Private Lovel had served with the 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion. He lost both eyes when a bomb exploded in his face at Anzac Cove on 13 November 1915.


The Governor-General of Australia unveiled a memorial tablet to honour Alfred in the Municipality of Darlington, Sydney, on 20 November 1915. The plaque is now held in the Victoria Park Barracks collection.

Alfred is commemorated on Panel 12 of the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli.


1912 'PERSONAL.', The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930), 2 October, p. 8. , viewed 13 Jun 2023,

1915 'HEROES OF GALLIPOLI', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 18 October, p. 9. , viewed 9 Jun 2023,

1915 'STORY OF THE FIGHT.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 22 November, p. 10. , viewed 14 Jun 2023,

1915 'DEATH OP LIEUT. SHOUT.', The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930), 28 August, p. 10. , viewed 14 Jun 2023,

1915 'THE V.C.'S. CAHEERS OF THE MEN.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 18 October, p. 10. , viewed 13 Jun 2023,

Higgins, Matthew (1998), 'Shout, Alfred John (1881–1915)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, accessed online 9 June 2023,

National Archives of Australia: SHOUT Alfred John: Service Number - Lieutenant: Place of Birth - Wellington New Zealand: Place of Enlistment - N/A: Next of Kin - (Wife) SHOUT Rose Alice; B2455, SHOUT ALFRED JOHN; 1914 - 1920.

New Zealand Birth Index registration no 1881/7016; family name Shout; given name(s) Alfred John; mother's given Agnes; father's given John,

Alfred John Shout, Cenotaph Record, Auckland Museum, accessed 14 Jun 2023,

Shout, Captain Alfred John VC MC (GVR), Auckland Museum, accessed 14 Jun 2023,

Last updated: 28 July 2023

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2023), Alfred John Shout, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 22 September 2023,
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