Recipients of the first round of the Teddy Sheean Memorial Grants Program were announced on Sunday.
The grants honour the sacrifice made by Edward “Teddy” Sheean during World War II.
Ordinary Seaman Sheean began his service in 1942 as an Oerlikon anti-aircraft gunner on HMAS Armidale.
On December 1, 1942, the ship was hit by two torpedoes and began to sink.
Ordinary Seaman Sheean was wounded, but strapped himself to his Oerlikon and engaged the attacking aircraft as the ship sank. He shot down the two planes before being dragged underwater with the ship.
He was aged 18 when he died.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Guy Barnett congratulated the successful groups.
- Launceston RSL Sub-Branch received $10,000 for renovations of the Flanders Room;
- George Town RSL Sub-Branch received $1990 to upgrade the Macquarie Street cenotaph;
- St Helens – St Marys RSL Sub-Branch received $1698 to replace its office copier and security system;
- Ross RSL Sub-Branch received $2977 for upgrades and repairs to the WWII memorial stone;
- Lady Barron Hall and Recreation Special Committee received $2000 for the Lady Barron Hall war memorial project;
- Australian Federation of Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Servicemen and Women Tasmania Branch received $1865 for a memorabilia display unit;
- Burnie RSL Sub-Branch received $10,000 for the refurbishment of its kitchen;
- Circular Head RSL Centenary Committee received $3000 for a poppy sculpture;
- Queenstown RSL Sub-Branch received $5000 for repairs to its war memorial and refurbishment of display guns;
- Lenah Valley RSL Sub-Branch received $10,000 for the refurbishment of its accessibility toilet.
Applications for the Teddy Sheean Memorial Grants can be made for up to $10,000 for upgrades to RSL sub-branches and ex-servicemen organisations, with funding support also available for memorials.
Round two of the grants will open on February 2, 2019.
Victoria Cross consideration for Teddy Sheean
The federal government’s Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal has accepted a submission from the state government to consider whether Teddy Sheean should receive a Victoria Cross.
“In terms of recognising Teddy Sheean, the state government is now right behind it,” Mr Barnett said.
“We have received official communication from the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal that they will take up a review and they will consider the merits of appropriate recognition for Teddy Sheean.
“This new development in the Teddy Sheean campaign gives us hope. It gives Garry Ivory [Teddy Sheean’s nephew] and the family hope, and veterans all over Tasmania hope that Teddy Sheean can be appropriately recognised.”
Mr Barnett said there was “new and compelling evidence” in Ordinary Seaman Sheean’s case.
A letter written by the last surviving crew member of HMAS Armidale, 93-year-old Dr Ray Leonard, has written a letter in support of Ordinary Seaman Sheean receiving a Victoria Cross.
“We are delighted with this new development and this new letter. This will be part of our submission to the tribunal,” he said.
Mr Barnett said the tribunal hearing was likely to take place early next year.
“The government is now preparing for those hearings, and we look forward to fair and objective consideration so that Teddy Sheean can get appropriate recognition.”