The actions of an 18-year-old Tasmanian Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean in WW2, which some deem worthy of a Victoria Cross, has become the cause of considerable debate amongst senior defence and political leaders.
In 1942, at the height of Second World War’s Pacific War, an Australian minesweeper, the HMAS Armidale came under heavy artillery fire from a Japanese aircraft off the coat of what we now today as Timor-Leste.
Teddy Sheean’s nephew, Gary Ivory said his uncle “was at the side of the ship ready to jump into the motor-boat beside two of his companions,” but instead he went back, took control of one of the ship’s guns and “brought down one plane and damaged another two and by that he helped save 49 of his mate’s lives”.
“He knew when he strapped himself into the gun, that was it, he was going to die and I think that is worthy of a Victoria Cross,” Mr Ivory said.
Last month, an attempt to have Teddy posthumously awarded a Victoria Cross was knocked back, with Defence Minister Linda Reynolds saying a 2019 review, by the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal “did not present any new evidence that might support reconsideration of the Valour Inquiry’s recommendation”.
However, support for Teddy being awarded a Victoria Cross continued and the Prime Minister Scott Morrison has now intervened to set up a special expert panel to look again at Teddy’s nomination.