Teddy Sheean VC
A Selfless Act of Valour
By Tom Lewis
Published by Big Sky Publishing
RRP $29.99 in paperback | ISBN 9781922387905
The words of one survivor from the sinking of HMAS Armidale on 1 December 1942 describe, first hand, the heroic deeds of 18-year-old Teddy Sheean, already wounded by the bullets of an attacking Zero, having turned back from abandoning ship and ‘… strapped himself in, and brought down a Jap plane, still firing as he disappeared beneath the waves’.
This selfless act of valour was to save many lives but it took more than 70 years for this act of heroism to be officially recognised with the awarding of the Victoria Cross, the first in Australia’s naval history.
Tom Lewis is highly regarded for his work in naval history.
With this book, he has traced the short trajectory of Teddy Sheean’s naval career against the backdrop of the often brutal conflict that was war in the Pacific.
It was Sheean’s nephew Garry Ivory who spearheaded the campaign for posthumous recognition of his uncle.
Recognition came too in the form of the naming of the fifth of six Collins-class submarines.
But it was the awarding of the VC to Sheean’s family in December 2020 that was the final instalment in his life story.
VERDICT: The story of long overdue and much deserved recognition for a young man of outstanding courage.