Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean & the fate of HMAS Armidale

Some of the Aussies on here may already be aware of Ordinary Seaman Teddy Sheean’s heroic actions and his having been mentioned in dispatches.

There has been an ongoing movement to have this revised to a Victoria Cross, quite rightly in my view.

When the Victoria Cross was created the original warrant stated that the Victoria Cross would only be awarded to officers and men who had served in the presence of the enemy and had performed some signal act of valour or devotion.

Given that this brave sailor must have known he would be sacrificing his life in the act of defending the men evacuating his sinking ship (the Armidale )  – surely that qualifies as a ‘signal act f valour or devotion’

The PM has convened an “expert panel” to again look at the issue of awarding the VC retrospectively.

Sailor’s wartime heroism to be revisited

11 June, 2020

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison has announced the establishment of an expert panel to consider the retrospective awarding of a Victoria Cross medal to Ordinary Seaman Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean (pictured) for his actions nearly 80 years ago.

Mr Morrison said overturning the decision made at the time not to award the Victoria Cross for Mr Sheean’s heroic actions in 1942 would need to be supported by compelling reasons.

“That is why the Government’s view and clear policy is that consideration of the awarding of a retrospective Victoria Cross would only occur in light of compelling new evidence or if there was evidence of significant maladministration,” Mr Morrison said.

“Given there are different views on whether there is compelling new evidence about Sheean’s actions in 1942, I have commissioned an expert panel.”

In 1942, Ordinary Seaman Sheean’s vessel, the Armidale, while on course for Timor, was struck by Japanese bombs and torpedoes, forcing its crew and personnel to abandon ship.

Seaman Sheean – only 18 years old at the time and wounded – continued to man his gun and return fire, affording his shipmates coverage as they leapt into the water.

Seaman Sheean went down with his ship.

Mr Morrison said the expert panel would provide him with advice as to whether the 2019 review by the Defence Honours and Awards Appeal Tribunal had any significant new evidence, not available to the previous reviews, and which was compelling enough to support a recommendation by the Government that Mr Sheean’s Mention in Despatches be replaced by a Victoria Cross.

The panel is to be haired by former Minister for Defence and former Director of the Australia War Memorial, Brendan Nelson.

Other members include former Solicitor-General, David Bennett; former Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Peter Shergold; and Senior Curator and Historian at the NSW ANZAC Memorial, Brad Manera.

The panel is to report to the Prime Minister by 31 July.

This is  discussion which has been occurring for some time.

From an article dated 2018 –

His nephew, Garry Ivory, has spent the past 29 years fighting for the “appropriate recognition” for his uncle.

Every attempt has been met with a roadblock.

In 2013 the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal would not recommend a posthumous Victoria Cross, while the UK Ministry of Defence refused to even investigate the case in early 2017.

https://www.examiner.com.au/story/5160732/hope-renewed-for-edward-teddy-sheeans-victoria-cross/

Let’s hope we finally have an Australian seaman awarded a VC !