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Something to shout about

Captain AJ Shout, VC, MC, MID (& bar), who died at Gallipoli
Of wounds and was posthumously awarded the VC,
A rare and prestigious award for most conspicuous bravery,
Could say, even in dying, it was something to shout about.

He was a Kiwi serving in the Boer Campaign, mentioned
In despatches, remained living in South Africa a Queen’s
Sergeant with the Cape Field Artillery, married, a child,
Then in 1907 came to Darlington, Sydney.

Entered the CMF, practiced his trade as a carpenter & joiner,
Without peer as a rifle shot, considered the coming onslaught,
Joined the AIF in late 1914, commissioned, made 2nd Lieutenant,
Volunteered for even more ANZAC service at the outbreak of war.

1915, April, and during bloody confusion at ANZAC Cove
Lieutenant Shout bravely won an MC, he also received
Wounds which cost him time out of battle ’til June,
Promoted Captain with mention in despatches on his return.

In August, severely wounded by his own grenade in close range
Fighting in trenches at Lone Pine, incapacitated by the loss of an eye
And a hand, undismayed by blood and pain, fought ’til collapse.
Passed away aboard HMHS Neuralia, August 11th, 1915.

A short but stellar career, if you had wont to call it that;
The aftermath, however, was just as as ominous. Clerical stupidity,
The curse of General Staff was blamed for heedless misinformation
Provided his wife; her life, apologies aside, was also destroyed.

It should have been fine to remember the feats of his valour
Revived from a fruitless campaign, and learned it was sane
To consider his warrior domain denied from our distant shores.
But he wore a Victoria Cross, or would have had he not died.

He’s in the news again with medals and ribbons and decorations
Posted on bulletin boards across our Nation; Kerry Stokes, Ch 7,
Aka ‘anonymous’ buyer, paid one million dollars for his VC,
A record made graciously at an auction to keep it in Australian hands.

Was it worth dying for in Gallipoli, a sufficient reward for suffering
And pain, and who may have gained from this magnanimous act? One
Inescapable fact is the bronze of his VC came from cannons captured
At Sebastopol in the Crimea War. Yes, Collectors, there aren’t any more.

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Poem Something to shout about - Ivan Donn Carswell