Queen approves Aussie seaman’s posthumous medal
QUEEN Elizabeth II has approved a Victoria Cross for Tasmanian war hero Teddy Sheean, eight decades after his incredible act of bravery aboard the HMAS Armidale.
Governor-General David Hurley confirmed the award for Ordinary Seaman Edward 'Teddy' Sheean today, saying he was "delighted" by the news.
Her Majesty's approval comes just two Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced he would be recommending Sheean for the highest military award for valour following new evidence from a review panel.
Sheean's nephew Garry Ivory, who has campaigned for more than 30 years for justice for his uncle, told Sky News the news was "unreal".
"It's just a great feeling," he said.
Mr Ivory said there was "no doubt" his uncle deserved the Victoria Cross.
"All Australians can share in the joy of this award," Mr Morrison said.
"The decision formalises what we already know: that Teddy Sheean is an Australian hero."
He said Sheean "fought to the very end" and "chose to save the lives of his shipmates rather than his own" by strapping himself to the gun of the sinking HMAS Armidale in WWII to give his mates a chance to get away.
"This week, we celebrate the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific," the Prime Minister said.
"Teddy Sheean never saw war's end, never saw the peace he helped secure, and did not enjoy the long life that many of his crew mates did. That was the price he paid for his valour.
"I honour the Sheean family and Tasmanians who faithfully kept the case of Teddy Sheean before us all."
Mr Morrison said "there was never any question to the extent of Teddy's heroism and valour" but the government had needed to establish a review panel to determine if there was any new evidence about Sheean's actions, after two previous reviews came up with different findings.
"The Panel's report found there was compelling new evidence, including new evidence discovered by the Panel, in support of higher recognition for Teddy Sheean, and that Sheean was done a substantial injustice in consideration of his actions in the original decision making period in 1942 to 1943," Mr Morrison said.
"It found Sheean's courageous sacrifice of his life to save his shipmates makes him eligible for the Victoria Cross for Australia, and the highest level of recognition should be accorded in this exceptional case."
Originally published as Queen approves Tassie seaman's posthumous medal