The Royal Australian Navy has confirmed it is reviewing decades worth of submissions seeking a Victoria Cross for Ordinary Seaman Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean.
Born in Lower Barrington, Ordinary Seaman Sheean was just 18 years old when he was killed during a Japanese attack on HMAS Armidale on December 1, 1942.
Seventy-five years after his courageous acts saved 49 of his comrades, Ordinary Seaman Sheean’s bravery might finally be recognised with the highest award in the Australian Honours System.
His nephew, Garry Ivory, has spent the past 29 years fighting for the “appropriate recognition” for his uncle.
Every attempt has been met with a roadblock.
New evidence, in the form of a letter from the last surviving shipmate of Ordinary Seaman Sheean, was submitted in August.
The testimony from Dr Trevor Leonard, the former Veterans Affairs chief psychologist, is what Mr Ivory thinks finally made the navy agree to review all past decisions on the matter.
“A naval awards team is being put together at the moment to have it thoroughly looked at to have Teddy upgraded,” Mr Ivory said.
“It has been a long and at times emotional rollercoaster, but we have had to stay strong and remain diligent in doing the research.”
Lyons Liberal MHA Guy Barnett has been supporting Mr Ivory’s efforts for the past 15 years.
“The review has already commenced and is underway, (naval staff) will them put advice and options to the head of the Royal Australian Navy Tim Barrett and then he will act on those options,” Mr Barnett said.
“We are hoping that recommendation will be a postive one ... then of course that needs to go through to the government and then to the governor-general for a final sign off.”
If approved, Ordinary Seaman Sheean would be the first member of the Royal Australian Navy to receive a Victoria Cross.