Guy Barnett,Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Today I was honoured to appear before an Expert Panel convened by the Prime Minister to review the case for a posthumous Victoria Cross for Ordinary Seaman Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean.
Teddy Sheean was just 18 when he died on board HMAS Armidale in 1942. He refused the chance to board a lifeboat while his ship was sinking, returned to his Oerlikon gun and went down with the ship while defending his shipmates from enemy attack.
The Expert Panel is chaired by Brendan Nelson, a former Defence Minister and Director of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, and as the original applicant I was given the opportunity to present the case in support of a Victoria Cross for Teddy Sheean.
Based on evidence presented by myself, as applicant, and others at last year’s hearings, the independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal unanimously recommended that Teddy be awarded a Victoria Cross for Australia.
Despite the narrow terms of reference, I believe the evidence presented today to the Expert Panel by myself, Teddy Sheean’s nephews Garry Ivory and Grant Sheean, is compelling. In my view, there is new evidence that has not been properly considered previously, casting new light on Teddy’s actions.
I remain of the view that Teddy’s extraordinary bravery should be recognised with Australia’s highest honour and look forward to the Panel’s recommendation, which is due on July 31.
Lest We Forget