“Do you know who the real heroes are? The real heroes.”

– Norm Macdonald

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96 Responses to “Do you know who the real heroes are? The real heroes.”

  1. Carpe Jugulum

    Well Done

    Only took 32 years of lobbying and gathering evidence.

  2. Megan

    Finally someone has seen sense.

    Great work by all who have worked to get Teddy the recognition he so richly deserves.

  3. stackja

    From what I have read. Good decision.

  4. Bruce of Newcastle

    Excellent news.
    Hopefully Her Maj will give the OK.
    I wonder if the Crimean cannon bronze is running out?

  5. Hay Stockard

    From my understanding, he certainly fitted the criteria for the award. The brass won’t like it though. All the more reason I hope he gets it.

  6. old bloke

    It’s also time that Monash receives a posthumous promotion to Field Marshall.

  7. HT

    Surprised Morrison didn’t go shopping for a Victorian hero to posthumously award a VC to. Just say’n…you know, as a “look over there” opportunity.

    As for Sheehan, I don’t think we should be winding back the clock so far to award medals for valour. He certainly sounds like he deserves it. It’s just that there are so many others who likewise deserved medals for valour and missed out simply because we had a quota for awards (unlike the USA). And it was the Navy that was to slack to do the paperwork at the time, kinda disingenuous for Navy today to be all fired up about it.

    I don’t begrudge Sheehan though, brass balls and an audacious warrior, “respect”. Why not all the others as well though? Move more fully to the US system?

  8. HT

    old bloke
    #3542584, posted on August 10, 2020 at 12:21 pm
    It’s also time that Monash receives a posthumous promotion to Field Marshall.

    That’s kinda my point above. Monash to Field Marshal (like Blamey was). And, and, and…no disrespect intended, I was a soldier, I get it. But I also get it’s history, and should stay so.

    BTW, IMHO Monash is much more deserving of the rank of Field Marshal than was Blamey.

  9. Archivist

    As for Sheehan, I don’t think we should be winding back the clock so far to award medals for valour.

    Oh, fuck off. This is a good decision.

    If you want to give awards to “all the others who likewise deserved medals for valour”, please name an overlooked Australian war hero who did something comparable to Teddy Sheahan, who hasn’t been recognised.

  10. Dasher

    As an retired soldier (30 years and vet) I have nothing but admiration for Sheehan, incredible heroism, but I also think of the unsung heroes and I know some. I dont support this posthumous award. Sheehan has a special place in the War Memorial as befits his valor and that he was not awarded a medal for bravery is part of the story. Unfortunately this will spawn many more less fitting awards, its human nature and the further we go from major conflict the less people understand the work of the average soldier in combat and more they think they should get a medal. For much the same reasons I dont think we should promote the great General Blamey…it is what it is and should remain so.

  11. Archivist

    As an retired soldier (30 years and vet) I have nothing but admiration for Sheehan, incredible heroism, but I also think of the unsung heroes and I know some. I dont support this posthumous award.

    Here we go. Another “retired soldier” who doesn’t “support this award.”

    The same goes for you too: pony up.

    Come on. Name one other Australian soldier who did something comparable, who has not been recognised. We’re waiting.

  12. C.L.

    The prestigious rarity of the VC is important. I can’t see how this award will do anything to damage that status. IMO, the prestige was messed with during Rudd’s prime ministership when a few VCs were awarded that involved actions below VC standard. At the time, Afghanistan was the good war but it had become a pointless, stupid waste of blood and treasure as the years went on. Those awards were PR exercises.

  13. Boambee John

    That’s kinda my point above. Monash to Field Marshal (like Blamey was).

    Blamey (with all of his personal faults) commanded a much larger force for much longer that did Monash, whose command peaked at corps level for a relatively short period (months at that level compared to Blamey’s years at that and higher levels).

    Hard to justify for Monash.

  14. Boambee John

    If you want to give awards to “all the others who likewise deserved medals for valour”, please name an overlooked Australian war hero who did something comparable to Teddy Sheahan, who hasn’t been recognised.

    Rankin, also from the Navy?

  15. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    If you want to give awards to “all the others who likewise deserved medals for valour”, please name an overlooked Australian war hero who did something comparable to Teddy Sheahan, who hasn’t been recognised.

    Captain Hector Waller, of HMAS Perth.

  16. Top Ender

    Well, I will stick my head up over the parapet, seeing as I wrote the book about the lad and have evidence at the inquiry.

    Fielding media interview requests left, right and centre.

    I think the main criticism is going to be “it will open the floodgates”.

  17. Top Ender

    That should have been “gave evidence”

  18. Rebel with cause

    Good decision. The fact that not all injustices can be remedied is not a good argument for not fixing this one.

  19. Boambee John

    Captain Hector Waller, of HMAS Perth.

    Perth and Houston were cornered, and had no choice but to fight.

    Sheean and Rankin consciously chose to move towards the danger, though they had the option not to do so.

    Significant difference.

  20. thefrollickingmole

    A deserved award, but yeah, a little concerned it might encourage some less deserving to be propped up whenever the government wants to look like it “cases”.

  21. Michael Warren

    Norm Macdonald is a real hero too.

  22. Archivist

    Rankin, also from the Navy?

    Captain Hector Waller

    Certainly, ship’s captains that went down with the ship or deliberately sailed into harm’s way demonstrated courage and sacrifice. Rankin and Waller have both had ships named after them, which is a very high honour indeed. They didn’t get a VC but they have been recognised.

  23. HT

    How many deserving men missed out because of the ballot system once used to award the VC?

    I am not doing research in depth, just a quick Wiki to confirm my memory about how a ballot system was once used;
    In the case of a gallant and daring act being performed by a squadron, ship’s company or a detached body of men (such as marines) in which all men are deemed equally brave and deserving of the Victoria Cross, a ballot is drawn. The officers select one officer, the NCOs select one individual, and the private soldiers or seamen select two individuals.[41] In all, 46 awards have been awarded by ballot with 29 of the awards during the Indian Mutiny. Four further awards were granted to Q Battery, Royal Horse Artillery at Korn Spruit on 31 March 1900 during the Second Boer War. The final ballot awards for the army were the six awards to the Lancashire Fusiliers at W Beach during the landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, although three of the awards were not gazetted until 1917. The final seven ballot awards were the only naval ballot awards with three awards to two Q-ships in 1917 and four awards for the Zeebrugge Raid in 1918. The provision for awards by ballot is still included in the Victoria Cross warrant, but there have been no further such awards since 1918.[30]

  24. Archivist

    A deserved award, but yeah, a little concerned it might encourage some less deserving to be propped up

    what the hell is this logic?
    1. The award is deserved.
    2. But let’s not give awards, even when it’s appropriate, because someone who doesn’t deserve it might now get one.

    It doesn’t make sense, people. Either it’s deserved or it’s not.

  25. Lee

    Blamey (with all of his personal faults) commanded a much larger force for much longer that did Monash, whose command peaked at corps level for a relatively short period (months at that level compared to Blamey’s years at that and higher levels).

    I never read his book on Monash, but didn’t Roland Perry make the ahistorical assertion that Monash was considered for supreme command of all Allied forces on the western front?
    Extremely unlikely in my opinion, involving as it would Monash leapfrogging over many more senior generals, and I can’t believe the British and French governments would have stood for it.

  26. Rebel with cause

    Teddy was an 18 year old man that strapped himself to a cannon on a sinking ship to give his shipmates a chance to escape enemy fire.

    Unless they start awarding VCs for Call of Duty game performance it’s unlikely there will be a spillover of applicants.

  27. HT

    Top Ender
    #3542623, posted on August 10, 2020 at 12:56 pm
    Well, I will stick my head up over the parapet, seeing as I wrote the book about the lad and have evidence at the inquiry.

    Fielding media interview requests left, right and centre.

    I think the main criticism is going to be “it will open the floodgates”.

    Fair call. Thats my concern, not that Sheehan didn’t deserve it. He, and many others have earned some medal for valour, but history passed them over as well. And that is in itself a part of history.

  28. Archivist

    Teddy was an 18 year old man that strapped himself to a cannon on a sinking ship to give his shipmates a chance to escape enemy fire.

    Unless they start awarding VCs for Call of Duty game performance it’s unlikely there will be a spillover of applicants.

    Thank you. It was a spectacular and singular act of bravery.

    I’m all for remembering captains who went down with their ships and so on, but Sheean was, as they say these days, “next level”.
    What he did is just breathtaking.

  29. HT

    Apologies to Mr Sheean for my previous posts where I misspelt his name.

  30. thefrollickingmole

    Archivist

    Read again, Im concerned governments may decide to award some not on obvious merit but to box tick.
    Its not “I dont think there arent more deserving out there” its “I dont trust politicians to be involved’.

    First QWERTY VC
    First Aboriginal VC
    First “Didnt want to go to Vietnam but did it because it might have impacted my carrer of mong herding”.

    That sort of thing.

  31. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    but didn’t Roland Perry make the ahistorical assertion that Monash was considered for supreme command of all Allied forces on the western front?

    Lloyd George and Sir Douglas Haig loathed each other with a passion. Lloyd George suggested that a Dominion General could be appointed to supreme command of all Allied Forces, to supplant Haig, who he saw as being wasteful with his soldiers lives. The Australians saw the contender as Monash, the Canadians saw the contender as Sir Arthur Currie. Both men were militiamen.

  32. Old Surfie

    Most significant is that this will be the first V.C. awarded to a member of the Royal Australian Navy. Our Navy has never had a V.C. winner since its inception.

  33. Top Ender

    Our Navy has never had a V.C. winner since its inception

    Yes.

    The oddest thing of all is that we had to go through the RN and the Admiralty in London to get anything at all approved.

    For the RAAF and Army it was done in Australia.

  34. Mustapha Bunn

    Top Ender, ” the oddest thing of all this that we had to go through the RN and the Admiralty in London to get anything at all apptoved”.
    Very odd indeed seeing as how Australia left the old ‘Empire’ awards system some years ago.’ve often wondered why we kept the Victoria Cross which as far as I know is the only one from the old system…. same design,words,ribbon and even metal.

  35. jupes

    Well, I will stick my head up over the parapet, seeing as I wrote the book about the lad and have evidence at the inquiry.

    Well done TE!

    It is rare for a Cat to have their efforts rewarded like this.

  36. jupes

    I think the main criticism is going to be “it will open the floodgates”.

    A position I held until convinced by the reasoned argument of those advocating the VC, chief of which was you TE. There is still a risk of “open floodgates”, but it is a risk worth taking in this case I believe. The injustice was greater than the risk.

  37. jupes

    I don’t for a minute believe ScoMo really wanted (or cared) to award Sheean with the VC. After all, he initially agreed with his Defence Minister and Chief of the ADF that he should deny it. So what changed? The good arguments made by TE and the expert panel? No, I don’t think so. What then?

    Could it be that Albo started banging on about it? Yep, that is much more likely. So ScoMo made a political decision. So that is the risk of “open floodgates” as I see it: a pissing contest between the political parties.

  38. Leigh Lowe

    old bloke

    #3542584, posted on August 10, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    It’s also time that Monash receives a posthumous promotion to Field Marshall.

    And Spud should receive a retrospective promotion to Blanket Folder Third Class.

  39. Leigh Lowe

    Well done Top Ender.

  40. Adelagado

    I have never been a soldier and I know little about Sheean other than what I have read in a few links, but it seems to me that he ‘simply’ manned his gun to the end, knowing he was doomed. Thats fantastically brave of course, but didn’t hundreds of soldiers, sailors and airmen do that? Being tail gunner on a bomber was just about a death sentence, but hundreds of guys did it anyway. I’ve been through the Canberra war memorial and read the deeds of past VC winners and some are almost unbelievable. This doesn’t quite seem in the same category but maybe I’m missing something.

  41. Top Ender

    Adelagado, the ship was under the order “Abandon Ship” and all were saving themselves.

    He turned back to his 20mm gun and manned it by himself, to save his comrades who were being strafed in the water. Sheean didn’t have to do this – he put his own safety, and life, to one side to save his mates.

  42. It’s also time that Monash receives a posthumous promotion to Field Marshall.

    Yeah. Please don’t compare Monash to spuds mc das kapital.

  43. Rex Anger

    @ Adelagado and Top Ender-

    As I understand things, one key criterion of awarding a VC is that the actions of the nominee must have decisively affected the outcome of the action in some way.

    Actions like Mark Donaldson or Daniel Keighran aggressive and single-handed drawing ofenemy fire to permit their mates to recover wounded comrades spring to mind. Or the actions of Newton VC (RAAF), who continued to press home an attack on Japanese AA positions in his Douglas Boston light bomber, despite being critically injured, enabling his Squadron to effectively achieve its mission without further loss of life and aircraft, etc.

    One example I remember very strongly (though as a former Armoured soldier, I am deeply disappointed I cannot remember his name) was an English armour commander, who drove his unarmoured staff car at a German panzer formation in the Libyan desert, in a desperate action to get his troops (painfully aware of the inferiority of their equipment relative to the Germans,’ and thus very reluctant to engage) to fight. And fight they did. I believe the action was, in the end, successful. But I believe the VC was also posthumous.

    HMAS Armidale had been bombed by IJN aircraft, which continued to strafe the ship and its crew as it sank. It can be very reasonably argued that Able Seaman Sheean’s actions in manning his gun to the very end, distracted or drove the aircraft out of range long enough for a larger number of his shipmates to reach (relative) safety and survive, than otherwise might have been the case.

  44. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Could it be that Albo started banging on about it?

    Albo made it a political issue – if the Labor Party was elected, Able Seaman Sheean would be awarded the V.C.

  45. HT

    Adelagado
    #3542862, posted on August 10, 2020 at 5:21 pm
    I have never been a soldier and I know little about Sheean other than what I have read in a few links, but it seems to me that …

    I was a soldier, although Archivist seems to hold myself and ex-members in contempt for that. At the end of my service of near up 40 years (uniformed and civilian), I can assure you, medals and awards are very “political”. That’s not to take anything away from Sheean or any winner of the VC, or any recognition for valour. But anyone who thinks there aren’t plenty of other worthy recipients who missed out are living a fantasy.

    These awards are complex, and they are also a form of lottery as to whom gets, and whom does not, get one. Should Ben Roberts lose his VC if convicted of DV or merely accused of war crimes? That argument is a real possibility, and it’s a political argument, it gets messy real quick. It’s why “retired soldiers” typically go along with awards as they stand (or don’t stand) in the contemporaneous period it was performed, nominated and considered. Revisionist assessments generations later to either award to strip medals or honours, sully the honour.

    That’s just my opinion though, either way, I wish Sheehan’s memory no malice.

  46. Top Ender

    True enough Rex.

    The analysis of Armidale’s last action, as best as I could make out for my book, was as follows. Sorry about the formatting – it was a table which doesn’t come across well:

    Account from…/ Suggestion of ordnance used / Strike point / Timing

    Lieutenant William Whitting • Two torpedoes • After end port mess deck
    • Starboard side after end of mess deck One minute apart

    Lieutenant Commander David Richards • Two torpedoes
    • One near miss bomb • Port side just forward of the bridge
    • Port side between engine room and boiler room
    • Bomb abreast the whaler [boat] on the starboard side Gives interval of three minutes between first attack and sinking

    Engine Room Artificer Richard Maddocks • At least one torpedo
    • Possibly two – second was described as “the last explosion” • Port side amidships
    • Boiler room starboard side
    Does not specify but gives time interval between explosions of perhaps a few minutes

    Lieutenant Lloyd Palmer, Gunnery Officer • “a torpedo almost immediately”
    • “Another torpedo”
    • “and a bomb” • Hit forward” and the ship “took a heavy list to port.”
    • Second torpedo “on the port side”
    • Bomb “on the starboard side” “in three to four minutes from the start of the attack, Armidale had sunk.”

    Rex Pullen, loader on the starboard Oerlikon gun • Two torpedoes
    • One near miss bomb • Two torpedoes in the port side Does not specify but first struck when he was loading a gun; second when “I wasn’t far from the sinking ship when the second torpedo hit about port midships.“

  47. Des Deskperson

    The ABC news just now described Able Seaman Sheean as a Naval ‘officer’!

    They don’t care enough to get it right, do they?

  48. NoFixedAddress

    Top Ender
    #3542888, posted on August 10, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    Adelagado, the ship was under the order “Abandon Ship” and all were saving themselves.

    He turned back to his 20mm gun and manned it by himself, to save his comrades who were being strafed in the water. Sheean didn’t have to do this – he put his own safety, and life, to one side to save his mates.

    And it is my understanding that it was Sheean’s surviving shipmates that were the first to call for his posthumous rewarding for bravery.

    And HT I appreciate your comments on who has and has not been awarded recognition but I believe ‘politics’ was part of the decision making process from the beginning and prior to TE’s worthy contribution in seeing the young man gain this award.

  49. Hay Stockard

    HT,
    Unlike other decorations and awards, the VC cannot be taken away from the recipient.

  50. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Unlike other decorations and awards, the VC cannot be taken away from the recipient.

    I think it was Edward VII who said any man awarded the Victoria Cross could wear it to his own hanging, if he so desired?

  51. Archivist

    Adelagado:

    I have never been a soldier and I know little about Sheean other than what I have read in a few links, but it seems to me that he ‘simply’ manned his gun to the end, knowing he was doomed.

    Well, you’re wrong.

    @HT

    I was a soldier, although Archivist seems to hold myself and ex-members in contempt for that. At the end of my service of near up 40 years (uniformed and civilian),

    I hold you in contempt for the following: “As for Sheehan, I don’t think we should be winding back the clock so far to award medals for valour.” And now you’ve doubled down:

    anyone who thinks there aren’t plenty of other worthy recipients who missed out are living a fantasy.

    Who? You and your mates?

    I asked you to pony up earlier and name names. The best anyone could is to trawl through the list of 13 candidates from 2011 and pop a couple of them out as alternatives; which means, at the very most, at an absolute stretch, you could make a case (perhaps) that there are twelve other deserving recipients. Not hundreds. And none as clear-cut.

    The whining on this thread from (self proclaimed) ex-servicemen that it will lead to an avalanche of unworthy applicants is pitiful. It’s an example of the mentality that brought about this travesty (and others like it) in the first place.

  52. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha
    #3543078, posted on August 10, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    Unlike other decorations and awards, the VC cannot be taken away from the recipient.

    I think it was Edward VII who said any man awarded the Victoria Cross could wear it to his own hanging, if he so desired?

    By christ. How friggin’ old are you?!

  53. C.L.

    The ABC news just now described Able Seaman Sheean as a Naval ‘officer’!

    That insult would have been enough start a brawl back in the day (and maybe still).

  54. Rex Anger

    It’s an example of the mentality that brought about this travesty (and others like it) in the first place.

    Sorry champ, but that’s out of line.

    You may not like the culture and the history of the Service, and how an ostensibly notable event amongst many was turned down for official recognition. But attacking a fellow for an opinion of his (shared, by the way, by many) is unacceptable.

    Stories of heroism that fire the popular imagination and tug at the heartstrings have been around since before the time of the Iliad. That will always be.

    Former and serving Members remember the stories of their own (officially recongised and not) in their vessels, bases, customs, traditions, histories, art and anecdotes. They amd their example live in on in the memories of their mates and of successive generations of serving members, long after you and Joe Public have moved on to something else.

    You have chosen to nail your colours in this case to Able Seaman Sheean. Well played to you. You could have also taken the charismatic (and increasingly embellished) story of John Simpson Kirkpatrick. Or you could have picked Hector Waller, or any of the many Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen who were either not officially recognised or received lesser awards in any action from the Sudan in 1885 up to the present day.

    But do not presume to judge us for an official attitude none of us were or are responsible for, so you can feel virtuous on behalf of the (momentarily in the public eye) honoured dead.

  55. Top Ender

    The ABC news just now described Able Seaman Sheean as a Naval ‘officer’!

    Best one ever, was a reporter standing with his back to an aircraft carrier, saying to the camera: “Behind me on board this Navy battleship this afternoon….”

  56. Rex Anger

    @ Top Ender-

    We have battleships now?!

    (Nobody tell HMAS Australia– She’d be absolutely wrecked… :P)

  57. Archivist

    Sorry champ, but that’s out of line.

    Not at all. It’s just another example of the military establishment denying glory to the volunteer plebs who enlist during wartime.

    You could have also taken the charismatic (and increasingly embellished) story of John Simpson Kirkpatrick.

    Yeah, I already know it’s embellished. I was actually waiting for one of you to try and sell Simpson as a VC candidate. I’m glad you didn’t.

    Or you could have picked Hector Waller, or any of the many Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen who were either not officially recognised or received lesser awards in any action from the Sudan in 1885 up to the present day.

    No. There are very few stories comparable to that of Sheean. Stop trying to deny the obvious.

    But do not presume to judge us for an official attitude none of us were or are responsible for

    If you don’t want to be judged for supporting “an official attitude,” then stop supporting it.

    This isn’t hard. All you blokes had to do was go, “Yeah good call, that bastard deserved it.” And leave it at that.
    It’s really easy. Just say it.

  58. Tel

    I was fully expecting Sco Mo would declare the Victorian Cross to be a matter for the states to deal with.

  59. Rex Anger

    No. There are very few stories comparable to that of Sheean. Stop trying to deny the obvious.
    Perhaps so. My objection to you going berko about this matter has nothing to do with the merits of what Able Seaman Sheean did.

    All you blokes had to do was go, “Yeah good call, that bastard deserved it.” And leave it at that.

    Why?

    Are you a relative or descendant? In which case I would understand and perhaps be sympathetic to your emotional attachment. But not to your contempt for anyone who wore a uniform and disagrees with your attitude to the awarding of a decoration that only a few percent of the millions of Commonwealth Servicemen and women who have served under arms since Queen Victoria and the Crimeam War have ever received.

    It’s just another example of the military establishment denying glory to the volunteer plebs who enlist during wartime.

    Congratulations on inventing yourself a straw villain to rage at, alongside your hero to cheer. And congratulations further on lumping in every serving and former ADF member who has a very different appreciation of the significance of any decoration, and opinions of what might or might not be appropriate, to your august self.

    Whatever made you think it is all about glory? Napoleon may have declared.that a soldier will fight long and hard for a piece of coloured ribbon, but nobody has ever joined up with a list of decorations they want to achieve by the time they retire.

    I’ll reiterate this: Do not presume to judge us for an official historical attitude none of us were or are responsible for, so you can feel virtuous on behalf of the (momentarily in the public eye) honoured dead.

  60. Archivist

    I’ll reiterate this: Do not presume to judge us for an official historical attitude none of us were or are responsible for, so you can feel virtuous on behalf of the (momentarily in the public eye) honoured dead.

    There are multiple people posting on this thread that he shouldn’t be given the VC.
    Therefore, I’ll presume that those people support the “official historical attitude” that he shouldn’t be given the VC.

    You can’t have it both ways. Either you agree with the “official historical position”, or you agree with the decision.

  61. The Sheriff

    The ABC news just now described Able Seaman Sheean as a Naval ‘officer’!

    They don’t care enough to get it right, do they?

    Indeed. Why bother understanding military terminology and facts? After all the ADF is just a laboratory for social experimentation to let w*m*n and trannies collect a government-funded salary, preferably for writing and implementing a 408282 page gender equality policy.

  62. Rex Anger

    Either you agree with the “official historical position”, or you agree with the decision.

    I don’t have an opinion either way, champion. I do, however, know that a Victoria Cross is not something to be awarded lightly. It has a significance to All Ranks of all Commonwealth services far beyond any historical account, political opportunity or personal rhetoric.

    I refuse to be wedged, so you can feel virtuous on behalf of the honoured dead.

    Whom, I fear and regret, you and the rest of the world outside of people like TE, the Royal Australian Navy (particularly the crew of SSG-77 HMAS Sheean) and those (serving and non-) who understand and follow Australian military history will have probably forgotten all about tomorrow…

  63. Best one ever, was a reporter standing with his back to an aircraft carrier, saying to the camera: “Behind me on board this Navy battleship this afternoon….”

    They’re really nice for a big boat.

  64. Rex Anger

    What’s that LS?

    They like big boats and they cannot lie?

    And all those other brothers can’t deny?

  65. Archivist

    I don’t have an opinion either way, champion.

    In that case, we’re done arguing, because there’s nothing to argue about.

  66. Bruce

    HMAS “Australia” was a Battle CRUISER, conceptually akin to the ill-fated HMS “Hood”.

    Lots of guns, fast, but not as well armoured as a real “Battleship”.

    The demise of the “Hood” was a spectacular demonstration of the shortcomings of the concept.

    Then again, in WW2, the design of the IJN’s seriously armoured mega-battleships, “Yamato” and “Musashi” did not work out too well for them, either.

  67. Rex Anger


    In that case, we’re done arguing, because there’s nothing to argue about.

    If it pleases you to have the final word, then so be it.

    But don’t go using the honoured dead to signal your virtue. It’s distasteful, and distracts from the man and events you purport to be defending against all comers.

    Teddy Sheean’s life and story stands on its own merits. And will continue to do so, so long as there is an Australia and a Royal Australian Navy.

    Regardless of whom you or anyone else thinks should or shouldn’t have done what.

  68. Rex Anger

    @ Bruce-

    Kudos and credit to you for knowing the categories. 😉

    She was (and remains) the RAN’s first and only all-gun capital ship.

    The demise of the “Hood” was a spectacular demonstration of the shortcomings of the concept.

    Yeah. That was not pretty. 🙁

  69. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    HMAS “Australia” was a Battle CRUISER, conceptually akin to the ill-fated HMS “Hood”.

    Lots of guns, fast, but not as well armoured as a real “Battleship”.

    Speed was supposed to compensate for the lighter armor plating.

  70. Archivist

    Rex

    Teddy Sheean’s life and story stands on its own merits. And will continue to do so, so long as there is an Australia and a Royal Australian Navy.

    Hats off, because this is 100 percent correct.
    I’ll let slide your snark about virtue signalling, because that’s a pretty good final word on the topic.

  71. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    She was (and remains) the RAN’s first and only all-gun capital ship.

    Scuttled off Sydney Heads to comply with the Washington Naval Treaty.

  72. Rex Anger

    I’ll let slide your snark about virtue signalling, because that’s a pretty good final word on the topic.

    Goodo.

    Virtual beers? Whiskey? Port? I’m sure the Doomlord has a decent barrel stashed around here somewhere… 🙂

  73. Top Ender

    Off the GG’s page:

    Governor-General of Australia

    The Governor-General has written to Her Majesty The Queen with the Australian Government’s recommendation for the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross for Australia to Ordinary Seaman Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean.

    The story of Teddy Sheean’s actions are inspirational. As we approach the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, they are a vivid reminder of the heroic sacrifice that so many young Australians made in the service of our nation. That service and sacrifice will be forever remembered and honoured.
    The Victoria Cross for Australia is the only award within Australia’s Honours and Awards system that requires Her Majesty’s approval. If Her Majesty approves the posthumous award, the Governor-General will, in due course, facilitate an investiture ceremony that befits this historic recommendation.

  74. Top Ender

    Our only battleship was found off Sydney some years ago, from memory. I have some pix somewhere of the wreck.

  75. HT

    Archivist. You have a pugnacious attitude that does not serve your arguments at all well. As to your insinuation that I have not served, well, so be it. Believe or argue what you want in whatever infantile manner you wish, I owe you nothing.

    I note however you seem extraordinarily hostile to the military, it’s customs and traditions which have served this country so well. My final comment on this subject is that this very discussion underscores my point: debating the award / non award of this honour almost 80 years later has politicised the honour.

  76. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Top Ender, I know very little about nautical customs, but someone on the Oz website thinks the main brace should be spliced in honor of Teddy Sheehan’s award. Did R.A.N. ever have such a tradition?

  77. HT

    C.L.
    #3543135, posted on August 10, 2020 at 8:38 pm
    The ABC news just now described Able Seaman Sheean as a Naval ‘officer’!

    That insult would have been enough start a brawl back in the day (and maybe still).

    Nah, just an laconic “I’m not an officer, I work for living”

  78. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Nah, just an laconic “I’m not an officer, I work for living”

    “No need to call me “Sir”, I work for a living.”

  79. Top Ender

    Yes Zulu, from memory.(Not 100% positive though)

    Very rare though.

    As the RAN never had the rum ration it was a reward of beer, apparently.

  80. Mark A

    Rex Anger
    #3543237, posted on August 10, 2020 at 9:59 pm

    I’ll let slide your snark about virtue signalling, because that’s a pretty good final word on the topic.

    Goodo.

    Virtual beers? Whiskey? Port? I’m sure the Doomlord has a decent barrel stashed around here somewhere… 🙂

    Hope it’s Sumerian mead!

  81. Rex Anger

    Hope it’s Sumerian mead!

    I’ve not tried that before…

    I’ll try anything once- If I survive it, I might even try it twice!

  82. HT

    As a complete aside, I was in the Firing Party for the funeral of Thomas Axford VC in 1983(?). I was a snotty nosed corporal at the time, hadn’t been in long enough to grasp the honour. Looking back, it is one of my few regrets in the military that I was pissed off his service took so bleeding long (Catholics!) at the chapel. And then they repeated it at the crematorium.

    Firing the volleys just outside a crematorium chapel full of very elderly people though? – not a good look for anybody planning a military funeral. Just say’n.

  83. Rex Anger

    Ah well.

    I can remember the drill for F88 Austeyr, but I imagine the drill for SLR being a smidgen more complicated. And being a longer and heavier weapon, not easier for the smaller or less well built in any contingent…

    Having said that, I do think SLR drill looks better overall. There are some drill evolutions that just look damn strange with a bullpup weapon (particularly with a bayonet attached), and trying to do SLR-type movements with a Steyr like the New Zealanders used to do was plain weird.

  84. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    I can remember the drill for F88 Austeyr, but I imagine the drill for SLR being a smidgen more complicated. And being a longer and heavier weapon, not easier for the smaller or less well built in any contingent…

    All those years ago, as a Reservist, you had to qualify on a range practice with the SLR, as well as with one another weapon. A slight and fragile young lady, serving with Intelligence Corps, was a fluent Indonesian language speaker, and was a crack shot with an F1 sub machine gun. Qualifying with the SLR, she had put on forty kilos and grown a penis…..

  85. Rex Anger

    Qualifying with the SLR, she had put on forty kilos and grown a penis…..

    Hopefully the quality of her marksmanship didn’t go down…

    (I can recall nearly knocking a poor female soldier over nearly 3 times while loading a Charlie Gutsache for her to shoot at Cultana with 3/9 SAMR. She hit the target first time with 84mm HE, but I don’t think the process of holding 14+ kg of drainpipe was easy with an enthusiastic- and fast-handed- Anger driving the venturi. 😬 Gawd I loved those. Ditto MAG-58 and the .50cal…)

  86. mareeS

    It took 40 years for my husband’s Battalion to get a Mentioned In Despatches for one of their finest company lieutenants for his direct combat activity in two of the major Vietnam battles of 1966/7. He is now widely acknowledged as having saved many of his men,, including my husband, despite sad losses. He was a Nasho lieutenant, and we are still very close.

  87. HT

    Rex Anger
    #3543286, posted on August 10, 2020 at 11:10 pm
    Ah well.

    I can remember the drill for F88 Austeyr, but I imagine the drill for SLR being a smidgen more complicated. And being a longer and heavier weapon, not easier for the smaller or less well built in any contingent…

    Mmm, the DS loved teaching both “Reverse Arms” and “ Ground Arms” equally. “SQUAD, BY NUMBERS, REVERSE ARMS…1.(pause 2,3)..2” at “2”, the DS would commence to describe in detail the faults and failings of…anything they didn’t like, real or imagined, just to keep the Squad at position 2. That would be the position where the rifle was thrust out vertically to ground, central to body with arms straight and level to the ground. Was great drill for defaulters, too.

    The day I was asked to go on two week TEWT, qualify on the (then new) Steyr and Minimi, then parachute into the Darwin Harbour was the day I decided I’d had enough soldiering.

  88. HT

    mareeS
    #3543319, posted on August 11, 2020 at 5:17 am
    It took 40 years for my husband’s Battalion to get a Mentioned In Despatches for one of their finest company lieutenants for his direct combat activity in two of the major Vietnam battles of 1966/7. He is now widely acknowledged as having saved many of his men,, including my husband, despite sad losses. He was a Nasho lieutenant, and we are still very close.

    Look after yourselves. Vietnam was a deeply divisive war, and the servicemen who served there were poorly treated on their return, even by those who should have known better.

  89. Archivist

    HT:

    I note however you seem extraordinarily hostile to the military

    You’ve got me completely wrong. I’m not hostile to the military at all.

    However. There’s a long-standing cultural problem in the Australian military, that some career officers and defense bureaucrats can’t abide glory going to the non-career rank-and-file. They’re happy to praise them in the aggregate. All those brave diggers on Gallipoli, and so on. But there’s resistance when it comes to medals for actual, real individuals.

  90. Rex Anger

    The day I was asked to go on two week TEWT, qualify on the (then new) Steyr and Minimi, then parachute into the Darwin Harbour was the day I decided I’d had enough soldiering.

    Wow- There actually is an answer to the question of ‘How much is too much?’

    (I didn’t think there was… 😶)

  91. HT

    Rex Anger
    #3543554, posted on August 11, 2020 at 9:38 am

    Wow- There actually is an answer to the question of ‘How much is too much?’

    (I didn’t think there was… 😶)

    To be fair, that was after (nearly) twenty years service in a peacetime Army that was starved of the funds needed to maintain it. That same day I was slotted for the TEWT I visited a cavalry unit doing field training at Mt Bundy Trg Area. They had no fuel to run their APC’s let alone keep them maintained, and they were having to walk around making “motor sounds” to emulate a moving vehicle whilst their mounted infantry carried broom sticks instead of rifles. That was the real crunch point for me – it was an “haha moment”, time to leave an organisation clearly not valued by the community. I got out of uniform went into a civilian role (Intel). East Timor went off late that year and the Army relearnt a whole lot of hard lessons.

  92. Rex Anger

    That same day I was slotted for the TEWT I visited a cavalry unit doing field training at Mt Bundy Trg Area. They had no fuel to run their APC’s let alone keep them maintained, and they were having to walk around making “motor sounds” to emulate a moving vehicle whilst their mounted infantry carried broom sticks instead of rifles

    Flashing back hard to Chocko field exercises in the Kevin and Julia era. We might have had fuel, but everything including blank ammunition was directed towards the single Battalion group going to Iraq or Afghan.

    When the Sniper cell of 7 RAR breaks out late 90s/ early 2000s SR-98s and admits that all the good armour, radios, gats, etc. are back in the shipping containers as soon as you land, and off to the next Battalion, you know the Budget cuts are good and hard. That was early 2012. It kinda ruined my quip about us chocs being the poor second cousins with the broken hand-me-downs…

    James Brown (Turnbull family- Boo! Hiss!) was somewhat commentating on this, I feel, when he wrote his essay on how ANZAC commemoration and mythologising had perhaps consumed the political mind at the expense of present readiness. Commemoration is comparatively cheap. Tanks, planes, ships, guns and bodies (and the training needed to use them effectively) aren’t.

  93. Lee

    Best one ever, was a reporter standing with his back to an aircraft carrier, saying to the camera: “Behind me on board this Navy battleship this afternoon….”

    Perhaps as good was the person recently worried about Chinese battleships sailing into Sydney Harbour.
    The Chinese have never had battleships, and never will.
    In fact there isn’t one in service in the entire world.

  94. HT

    Sheean was awarded his VC today. Congratulations to him, his family and a hat tip to TopEnder. Well played 🙂

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