The last surviving crewmember of the HMAS Armidale, Launceston's Ray Leonard, has died.
Dr Leonard was only 19 years old when he was onboard the patrol vessel when it came under Japanese attack and sunk on December 1, 1942.
Onboard the vessel was war hero Teedy Sheean who strapped himself to an Oerlikon gun to fire back at the attacking aircraft, sacrificing his life in the process.
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Dr Leonard for years played a role in lobbying for Ordinary Seaman Sheean to be awarded a Victorian Cross for his actions.
Veterans Affairs Minister Guy Barnett said Dr Leonard's eyewitness accounts were gripping and ultimately compelled an expert panel last year to recommend the honour be bestowed.
"Ray lived to see Teddy's bravery recognised with our nation's highest honour - for which we are deeply thankful," he said. "Ray was generous with his time, unceasingly courteous despite ill health in later years and humble regarding his own extraordinary achievements."
Dr Leonard celebrated his 77th wedding anniversary with his wife Beryl earlier this month.