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 will undertake public hearings. These hearings will be held at the Hobart Town Hall, 50 Macquarie St, Hobart, on the afternoons of 25 and 26 March 2019, commencing at 2.00 p.m. on day 1 and 1.00 p.m on day 2. Interested members of the public are welcome to observe the hearing, however registration is necessary. To register your interest in attending, please email DHA.Tribunal@defence.gov.au, by Friday 22 March.
The Tribunal will hear oral submissions from Minister Barnett, Mr Garry Ivory (on behalf of the Sheean family), and the Acting President of the Tasmanian Branch of the Returned and Services League, Mr Geoff Leitch. The Royal Australian Navy will also make an oral submission.
Following the hearings, the Tribunal will present its report to Government, including its recommendation as to whether Ordinary Seaman Sheean should be awarded a Victoria Cross. No reporting date has been set for this matter.
Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal Secretariat, (02) 6266 1019.
Media Contact: Mr James Cannon, 0433 884 238.