IT HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED BY THE AUSTRALIAN GOVENMENT THAT A 'VICTORIA CROSS for AUSTRALIA' HAS BEEN AWARDED TO ORDINARY SEAMAN EDWARD SHEEAN, HMS 'ARMIDALE', ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVAL VOLUNTEER RESERVE
15 August 2020


( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Ordinary Seaman Edward Sheean,
Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

  • Victoria Cross for Australia
  • 1939 - 45 Star
  • Pacific Star
  • War Medal ( 1939 - 45 )
  • Australia Service Medal ( 1939 - 45 )
  • ( an example of Edward Sheean's medal group )


An announcement has been made by the Governor General of Australia on the 12th August 2020, that Her Majesty The Queen has approved the posthumous award of the 'Victoria Cross for Australia' to Ordinary Seaman Edward Sheean, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve, for heroic action on the corvette HMAS 'Armidale' in December 1942. This follows a recommendation from the Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison.


For the award of the 'Victoria Cross for Australia'

[ Australian Commonwealth Gazette ], Arafura Sea, Netherlands East Indies, 1 December 1942, Ordinary Seaman Edward Sheean, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve

On 1 December 1942, during operations in the Timor Sea, HMAS 'Armidale' came under aerial bombardment and torpedo attack from Japanese aircraft. Shortly after the commencement of the attack, 'Armidale' was hit by a torpedo and began listing to port. One minute later the ship was hit by a second torpedo which broke the vesselís back, causing the Captain to order abandon ship.

Ordinary Seaman Sheean, one of the youngest and most junior ranked members of 'Armidale's' Shipís Company, made his way to the stowage position of the motor-boat and assisted in its launch. As the enemy continued to fire upon the ship and his shipmates who were already in the water, Ordinary Seaman Sheean decided to forgo his opportunity for survival by not abandoning ship and returning to his Action Station to man the aft Oerlikon gun, where he was the loader, not the gunner. Despite being wounded, he strapped himself into the gun and commenced firing at the enemy, damaging at least two enemy aircraft.

Ordinary Seaman Sheeanís actions disrupted and distracted the enemy from strafing and killing his defenceless shipmates in the water. He sacrificed his life trying to save his shipmates and, despite his wounds, he continued firing the gun until the ship sank and took him to his death. His pre-eminent act of valour and most conspicuous gallantry saved Australian lives. His heroism became the standard to which the men and women of the Australian Defence Force aspire.

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Iain Stewart, 15 August 2020