Teddy set for his VC
World War II hero finally to receive military award
A WAR hero who died almost 80 years ago will be recommended for a Victoria Cross medal, Australia’s highest military award.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement yesterday in Canberra after last month receiving the findings of a seven-week review into Tasmanian sailor Teddy Sheean.
Sheean was a sailor in World War II who was killed after HMAS Armidale was attacked by Japanese warplanes in the Arafura Sea en route to Timor in 1942. Despite being told to abandon ship, Sheean, 18, was reported to have not left his post and continued to fire his anti-aircraft gun at enemy aircraft. His actions were credited with saving the lives of 49 crew.
Mr Morrison said Sheean’s case to receive the highest award for servicemen or women had been subject to a series of reviews and panels. Earlier this year, the government decided not to recommend Sheean for a VC.
“The challenge that the government was faced with was that we had two findings of equal standing from two reviews, neither related to each other, that had concluded different results, and so the government was presented with conflicting evidence,” Mr Morrison said.
Former War Memorial head Brendan Nelson was on a review panel that found new evidence from Japanese aviation military records in Tokyo.
The latest review found that there was “compelling new evidence” to support the recognition of Sheean and that he was “done a substantial injustice” when his actions were initially considered in 1942-43. “This man deserves the Victoria Cross,” Dr Nelson.
The government did not accept a tribunal recommendation in May to award the war hero the VC.
Labor spokesman Chris Bowen said, “Teddy Sheean deserves the VC and Labor very much welcomes his awarding of the VC subject to Her Majesty’s approval.”