Respect for lost namesake
HMAS Armidale II took the opportunity to conduct a family sunset cruise in Darwin Harbour to thank families and friends for their support throughout 2019.
The ship anchored at Talc Head, before conducting a wreath-laying ceremony to honour the 77th anniversary of the sinking of HMAS Armidale I.
Commanding Officer of Armidale II, Lieutenant Commander Paul Hardman, said Armidale I was one of the 60 Royal Australian Navy Bathurst-class corvettes constructed during World War II.
“Armidale I was sunk following an overwhelming enemy air attack on December 1, 1942,” Lieutenant Commander Hardman said.
“During that action, Ordinary Seaman Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean remained at his post on the ship’s aft Oerlikon gun defending his shipmates in the water as the ship sunk beneath him.”
Although Ordinary Seaman Sheean was posthumously mentioned in dispatches for his gallantry, many believe his selfless devotion to duty was worthy of a Victoria Cross.
Ordinary Seaman Sheean’s bravery has become synonymous with the Navy’s values of courage and loyalty.
As part of the commemoration ceremony, the ship was gifted copies of Able Seaman Libby Pearce’s book, The ABC of RAN Corvettes, and a reprint of a painting of Ordinary Seaman Sheean held in the Australian War Memorial was donated to the ship by the Welfare Committee.
Leading Seaman Ashley Ryan sought permission from the painter to reproduce the work.
“Mr Dale Marsh supported my request and the reproduced painting of Ordinary Seaman Sheean’s painting of his loyalty and devotion leading to bravery and the ultimate sacrifice hangs proudly on board Armidale II,” Leading Seaman Ryan said.
The crew of Armidale II will visit her namesake city in 2020 to distribute further copies of The ABC of RAN Corvettes as part of a “Thinking Navy’ initiative and to support the local community, which has suffered recently through bushfires and severe drought.