The Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal is considering the matter of recognition for the late Ordinary Seaman Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean, who was killed in action during the Second World War sinking of the Bathurst class corvette, HMAS Armidale.
Ordinary Seaman Sheean was a loader of one of HMAS Armidale’s three Oerlikon anti‑aircraft guns when, on 1 December 1942, the ship came under sustained attack from Japanese aircraft. After shooting down a Japanese aircraft, and as the ship was sinking, Sheean remained at the gun until he was killed.
In 1943, Ordinary Seaman Sheean was awarded a posthumous mention in despatches for these actions.
The Tribunal’s consideration follows an application to the Chief of Navy by the Tasmanian Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon. Guy Barnett MP. That application sought a Victoria Cross for Ordinary Seaman Sheean, and is now subject to consideration by the Tribunal.
While the matter of recognition for Ordinary Seaman Sheean was considered by the Tribunal in the course of its Inquiry into unresolved recognition for past acts of naval and military gallantry and valour, the current process requires a fresh consideration of Sheean’s actions, having regard to the eligibility for the Victoria Cross for Australia, and possibly other Australian Gallantry Decorations.
Hearings and Tribunal process
After considering the application made by Minister Barnett, and a report from the Royal Australian Navy, the Tribunal has completed public hearings.
The Tribunal will heard oral submissions from Minister Barnett, Mr Garry Ivory (on behalf of the Sheean family), and the Vice President of the Tasmanian Branch of the Returned and Services League, Mr David Webb. The Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan AO, also made a submission.
The Tribunal has now moved to its deliberative phase and is preparing its report to Government, with its recommendation. No reporting date has been set for this matter.
Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal Secretariat, (02) 6266 1019.