Teddy Sheean’s Victoria Cross another step closer to home soil

Guy Barnett,Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Ordinary Seaman Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean’s Victoria Cross is a step closer to arriving on home soil following today’s ceremony in the United Kingdom.

The medal is now in the custody of Australia’s Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mike Noonan AO, who is accompanying the medal on its trip to Australia.

Teddy Sheean was just 18 when he died on board HMAS Armidale. 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.

Teddy Sheean’s Victoria Cross is worthy recognition of an extraordinary Tasmanian and I am very pleased another milestone has been reached to bring it home.

Sheean’s Victoria Cross is extremely significant as the first Victoria Cross for the Royal Australian Navy and was presented to the Australian High Commissioner, the Hon George Brandis QC, by the Royal Navy’s First Sea Lord.

The ceremony occurred onboard the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth II, the Royal Navy’s brand new aircraft carrier and largest vessel in the British fleet.

The Victoria Cross is the highest award for acts of bravery in wartime in the British and Commonwealth armed forces. Since being instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856, the medal has been awarded to 101 Australians, including 15 Tasmanians.

The medal, suspension bar and link are cast in bronze, believed to be obtained from the cascabels of two Chinese cannons captured from the Russians during the Crimean War. It is understood that the same company of jewellers, Hancocks of London, has been responsible for producing every VC awarded since the medal’s inception.

All Tasmanians, the Royal Australian Navy and the veteran community should be immensely proud of Ordinary Seaman Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean and his actions aboard the HMAS Armidale in 1942 to save his mates.

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