Pride of place at Friday's ceremony at the Australian War Memorial to honour Flying Officer Edward Mobsby with the US Silver Star was given to a large black and white photograph of a handsome young man in RAAF uniform flanked by two tiny girls.
It would have been about the end of 1940 and the twins, born in April 1939, were about 18 months old.
That photograph, a snapshot apparently taken by their mother, Erica Mobsby, one sunny Adelaide day, is one of the few physical links Jenny Read and Rae Rayner have with the father they never knew.
He died trying to parachute from the burning wreck of the US Army Air Corps B-25C Mitchell bomber he was co-piloting on July 26, 1942.
While his four American crew mates, none of whom survived the war, were awarded their medals in 1942 and 1943, Mr Mobsby missed out due to bureaucratic bungling.
General Herbert ''Hawk'' Carlisle, the commander, US Pacific Air Forces, travelled to Canberra this week to right that 72-year-old wrong.
In an inspired and moving speech, he paid tribute to the young Australian who US records showed had been highly valued and well liked by his American counterparts.
General Carlisle thanked Mrs Read for her efforts in drawing the attention of the US Air Force to the oversight that had seen her father denied the recognition he rightly deserved.
''Words cannot express how grateful we are,'' he said. ''A wrong has been made a right. [After all this time] some people might say, 'Why bother?' We bother because it matters; it matters to his daughters, his grandchildren and their children. It matters to all those men and women who are serving their country today. They need to know that their bravery and gallantry will be honoured, even 72 years later.''
General Carlisle acknowledged Mrs Mobsby's efforts to find out what was happening with her husband's Silver Star during the war and said she had been a ''brave, stoic and proud'' woman who went on to serve as a president of the War Widows' Guild of Australia. Mrs Read, who was moved to reopen the push for the Silver Star after the crash site was rediscovered in 2010, fought back tears when asked yesterday if she had any memories at all of her father. She does not. But he has always lived on in the stories told to the two girls by their mother.
''Our mother was an amazing woman,'' she said.
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