RECOG­NI­TION DUE

Australian Geographic - - Your Say -

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

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