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Sale of rare VC awarded to NZ-born soldier

Media release – June 26, 2006

Sale of rare Victoria Cross awarded to NZ-born soldier may push world record

A Victoria Cross awarded to a New Zealand soldier for bravery in Gallipoli will be auctioned by Bonhams & Goodman in Sydney next month.

The Victoria Cross was awarded to Captain Alfred John Shout who died fighting for the ANZACS IN Gallipoli.

The world auction record for the sale of a Victoria Cross is stg235,250 for a medal awarded to Sergeant Norman C Jackson, a British Royal Air Force pilot for his role in the Battle of Britain during World War II in 1944.

The Victoria Cross and other medals awarded to the highly decorated soldier are being offered for sale by Shout's family who have treasured them for over nine decades.

``I am just amazed that this medal has not been unearthed before now,’’ Bonhams & Goodman chief executive Tim Goodman said today.

``There have been many calls over the years for information about the medal. The elderly owner is the grandson of the recipient and he is selling the medals due to a serious illness and to help provide for his children, the great grand children of Captain Shout.’’

Captain Shout was the most decorated soldier to have fought with the Australian Imperial Force at Gallipoli. Born in Wellington 1882 in New Zealand, Shout fought in the Boer War and later migrated to Australia with his wife and daughter in 1905.

Two days after the April landing at Anzac Cove, Shout led a bayonet charge into unknown territory facing continual machine gun fire from the Turks. In the words of Private Charles Huntley Thompson of the 13th Battalion: "That was the bravest thing I ever saw". Shout was awarded the Military Cross (also for sale) for his actions and promoted to Captain.

Later that same year in August, Shout's division was involved in the famous charge on the Turkish held trenches at Lone Pine.

During a pep talk to his platoon the night before the assault, Shout is reported to said to Lance Corporal Alexander Ross McQueen: "We will make a name for ourselves and Australia tomorrow Mac.

Shout caught a Turkish hand grenade - intending to throw it back - and it blew up, carrying away part of his face and severing his hands.

He died from his wounds days later and was buried at sea. Debate continues still as to whether he was a Kiwi or an Aussie.

The Victoria Cross was awarded to Shout posthumously for his valour at Lone Pine. He died at sea off Gallipoli on a hospital ship three days after combat on August 11, 1915 from injuries incurred during battle.

The collection of Shout's medals includes a Victoria Cross; Military Cross (GVR); Star 1914-15; British War Medal 1914-18; Victory Medal 1914-19; Queen's South Africa Medal and King's South Africa Medal.

There has been much private and public interest in Victoria Crosses in recent times, particularly the VCs' awarded at Gallipoli. The rare medals are made from bronze obtained from cannons captured at Sebastopol during the Crimean war.

Taking its name from Queen Victoria, the medal is the highest award for acts of bravery in wartime, irrespective of rank. This year is the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Victoria Cross.

The world auction record for the sale of a Victoria Cross is stg235,250 for a medal awarded to Sergeant Norman C Jackson, a British Royal Air Force pilot for his role in the Battle of Britain during World War II in 1944.

Next month’s medals sale will be held at Bonhams & Goodman in Sydney on July 24.

New Zealand publicly listed company Mowbrays own a 20 percent stake in Bonhams & Goodman who are the second biggest auction house in Australia.


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