General Shute served in World War I in France and Belgium becoming General Officer Commanding of the Royal Naval Division in 1916. He had an intense dislike for the unconventional nautical traditions of the Royal Naval Division and made numerous unpopular attempts to stamp them out. Following a particularly critical inspection of the trenches by General Shute, an officer of the division Sub-Lieutenant A. P. Herbert, who later became a famous humorous writer, legal satirist and Member of Parliament, wrote a popular poem that summed up the feelings of the men of the RND:
The General inspecting the trenches
Exclaimed with a horrified shout
'I refuse to command a division
Which leaves its excreta about.'
But nobody took any notice
No one was prepared to refute,
That the presence of shit was congenial
Compared to the presence of Shute.
And certain responsible critics
Made haste to reply to his words
Observing that his staff advisors
Consisted entirely of turds.
For shit may be shot at odd corners
And paper supplied there to suit,
But a shit would be shot without mourners
If somebody shot that shit Shute.