I have just finished reading Our most brave (AG 147).The courage and self-sacrifice of these heroes is something of which all Australians should be proud.You mention the award is not fully representative of our military history because no Australian naval officer or sailor has been honoured with a Victoria Cross.This should be remedied. One of the most inspiring stories of Australia’s naval history should echo through the hall of valour at the Canberra war memorial and its hero, Ordinary Seaman Edward (Teddy) Sheean, should be revered as one of our most famous veterans.
Teddy sacrificed his life to save crew members after his ship, HMAS Armidale, was struck in 1942 by torpedoes in Betano Bay, off East Timor. As the Armidale was sinking there was an order to abandon ship, but as Teddy was releasing a lifeboat, a returning Japanese fighter strafed those trying to escape.Teddy was injured and, rather than abandoning ship, strapped himself to an Oerlikon 20mm cannon and engaged the enemy, effectively preventing the Japanese aircraft from strafing survivors in the water. He continued to fire as his ship sank, with witnesses reporting seeing tracer bullets being fired from beneath the surface. Teddy must have known as he lashed himself to the weapon that he had sealed his fate. He chose to sacrifice his young life [he was just 19] to save his