The Courier-Mail

Teddy set for his VC

World War II hero fi­nally to re­ceive mil­i­tary award

- JADE GAILBERGER

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.”

 ??  ?? Dr Ray Leonard, last sur­vivor from the HMAS Ar­mi­dale, had long called for Teddy Sheean (in­set) to be awarded the Vic­to­ria Cross.
Dr Ray Leonard, last sur­vivor from the HMAS Ar­mi­dale, had long called for Teddy Sheean (in­set) to be awarded the Vic­to­ria Cross.

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