Royal Australian Navy reviewing Teddy Sheean case

teddy sheehan

The Royal Australian Navy is conducting a 'serious review' into decades worth of submissions seeking a Victoria Cross for a Tasmanian war hero killed in World War II.

Ordinary Seaman Edward 'Teddy' Sheean was 18 years old when he was killed during a Japanese attack on HMAS Armidale on December 1, 1942.

Lyons MHA Guy Barnett said “fresh and compelling evidence” in the form of a letter of support, from the last surviving sailor Dr Ray Leonard helped secure the review.

“Frankly we are doing it not just for Teddy Sheean and his family but for all veterans, the service and sacrifice they have given to us and the freedoms we enjoy today,” Lyons MHA Guy Barnett said.

Mr Sheehan’s nephew, Garry Ivory has spent close to 30 years campaigning, while Lyons MHA Guy Barnett has spent 15 years at both a federal and state level.

If approved, Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean would be the first member of the Royal Australian Navy to receive a Victoria Cross.

“They have never had a Victoria Cross recipient from out of 100 across Australia,” Mr Barnett said.

In 2013 the Defence Honours and Awards Appeal Tribunal would not recommend a posthumous Victoria Cross, while the UK Ministry of Defence would not investigate the case early last year.

However, Mr Barnett said he deserves to be the first recognised.

“They were shooting at his mates in the water, as the ship was going down he went back to the anti-aircraft gun, strapped himself in in, he knew exactly what he was doing.
He knew that he would be going down with the ship but he sacrificed his own life for his mates in the water and for Australia in an act of outrageous bravery and courage,” Mr Barnett said.

Staff at the Royal Australian Navy will be looking at research, reviewing tribunal and past decisions regarding Mr Sheean.

In his letter, Commander Paul Fothergill of the Royal Australian Navy said, “I can advise you that we are in the process of a thorough examination of past tribunal considerations and outcomes and reviewing a number of options to present to CN (Chief of Navy).”

It’s not yet known when the review will be finished, but Mr Barnett said he is hopeful it will be completed this year.

Photo supplied by Lyons MHA Guy Barnett.