Skip to main content

Teddy Sheean VC

Portrait of Ordinary Seaman Edward 'Teddy' Sheean

On 12 August 2020, the Governor-General announced that Her Majesty The Queen had approved the posthumous awarding of the Victoria Cross for Australia to Ordinary Seaman Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean.

Teddy Sheean was 18 years old when he was was killed during an attack by Japanese aircraft which sank the HMAS Armidale in the Arafura Sea on 1 December 1942.

He turned his back on the chance of survival to return to his gun and fire on Japanese aircraft strafing his shipmates. He chose certain death to try and save his mates.

Over the last couple of days many people have heard Teddy’s story for the first time ... Many of us have been taken aback by his courage, his commitment to his mates, and his sacrifice. The story is inspiring. It should inspire us.

The Governor-General

The Governor-General will present the Sheean family with the insignia of the Victoria Cross for Australia at a ceremony at Government House on 1 December 2020.

These videos tell Teddy Sheean's story from different perspectives.

What was Teddy like? 

Dr Victor ‘Ray’ Leonard, the last surviving member of HMAS Armidale shares his recollections of his shipmate – who he was, how he approached life on board Armidale and interacted with his shipmates.

“For a young man of 18, his voice was not soft and sweet – it was firm and strong. He didn’t speak quietly … he was not lacking in confidence – he was a go getter, an outgoing person.”

Australia in 1942

Brad Manera, the Senior Historian and Curator at the Anzac Memorial in Sydney, places the story of HMAS Armidale and Teddy Sheean in the context of Australia in 1942 – the state of the war, the fear Australians were feeling, and the challenges facing our defence force.

Life on HMAS Armidale

None of us can know what Teddy Sheean was thinking or feeling but in this video, Brad Manera, the Senior Historian at the Anzac Memorial, talks about life on a ship like HMAS Armidale, the risks they faced and the bonds between shipmates.

The sinking of the Armidale

Dr Ray Leonard served on HMAS Armidale with Teddy Sheean. He was there on the 1st of December 1942, when Armidale was sunk and Teddy turned his back on the opportunity to survive, returned to his gun and fired on the enemy to try to save his mates.

In this video, Dr Leonard remembers that fateful day, the experience and what Teddy did.