MEMORIES of a war hero returning home are as fresh today as they were more than half a century ago for one Orange woman.
Lynne Madden said this Anzac Day was an important time to remember the sacrifices her father Horace “Mervyn” Mason, uncle Donald William Mason and thousands of other young men and women made for Australia.
She said brothers Mervyn and Donald were the fathers of young children when they were called to war in 1940.
Mervyn served in the army as a private in the 2/20th Battalion, while Donald flew Typhoons for the Royal Air Force multinational squadron 198 for England under the Australian Empire Scheme.
Mrs Madden treasures her collection of letters written by the two courageous men as they fought overseas and worried about how each other was faring.
During a mission Don’s plane went down into the backyard of a family in France and it was not until 49 years later the Mason family found out where he had perished.
Mervyn was captured and held in a prisoner-of-war camp in Burma and worked on the infamous Burma Railway.
Mrs Madden said her father suffered 40 bouts of malaria, dysentery and other sickness while in camp but survived to return home when she was just five.
Mrs Madden still has vivid memories of her war-weary father returning to the family in Orange.
Mrs Madden, her brother Barry and her mother Norma met him at the train station after his long journey home.
“He was covered in plaster from his shoulders to his hips,” she said of her father after he was hit by shrapnel.
“I can remember it really well when he was at the station ... I can remember him picking me up.
“I’m extremely proud of him and it’s sad we didn’t get to know him better.
“I don’t think you should ever forget what the men went through, it’s very important.”