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Mynarski, Andrew Charles VC (Pilot Officer)

Killed in Action 1944-June-13

Birth Date: 1916-October-14 (age 27)

Born: Winnipeg, Greater Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Son of Stanley and Anna Mynarski, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Brother of Stephanie. He was the son of Polish immigrants. He was educated at King Edward and Isaac Newton Elementary Schools and at St. John's Tec

Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Enlistment: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Enlistment Date: 1941-09-29

Decorations: VC


Victoria Cross
Service
RCAF
Unit
419 (B) Sqn- Squadron
Moosa Aswayita Beware of Moose
Base
Middleton St George
Rank
Pilot Officer
Marshal
Air Chief MarshalA/C/M
Air MarshalA/M
Air Vice MarshalA/V/M
Air CommodoreA/C
Group CaptainG/C
Wing CommanderW/C
Squadron LeaderS/L
Flight LieutenantF/L
Flying OfficerF/O
Pilot OfficerP/O
Warrant Officer 1st ClassWO1
Warrant Officer 2nd ClassWO2
Flight SergeantFS
SergeantSGT
CorporalCPL
Senior AircraftmanSAC
Leading AircraftmanLAC
Aircraftman 1st ClassAC1
Aircraftman 2nd ClassAC2
Position
Air Gunner (Mid-Upper)
Service Numbers
J/87544

Lancaster Mk.X KB726

Bombing Cambrai France 1944-June-12 to 1944-June-13

419 (B) Sqn (RCAF) RAF Middleton St George
left to right: Pat Brophy, Jim Kelly, Roy Vigars, Art de Breyne, Andrew Mynarski, Jack Friday and Bob Bodie.

Lancaster BX KB726 VR-A was hit by cannon fire from a JU-88 enemy night fighter aircraft and set on fire during a operation to bomb the rail yards at Cambrai, France. The pilot De Breyne, ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft before it crashed at Gaudiempre, France

Rear gunner Brophy was trapped in his turret after the hydraulic system failed in the burning aircraft. Mid-upper gunner Mynarski attempted unsuccessfully to free Brophy before Mynarski bailed from the aircraft with his clothes and parachute in flames. Mynarski died from his burns and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross

Brophy went down with the aircraft but was thrown clear in the crash and survived as an Evader.

This was Pilot Officer Mynarski's 14th operation

Victoria Cross
Addendum: MYNARSKI, P/O Andrew Charles (J/87544) - Victoria Cross - No 419 Squadron - Awarded as per London Gazette dated 11 October 1946 and AFRO 1042/46 dated 1 November 1946. Born in Winnipeg, 1916; home there (fabric cutter); enlisted there 29 September 1941. Trained at No 3 BGS (graduated 18 December 1942). Presented by AOC, No 2 Air Command to his mother in Winnipeg. The citation reads - "Pilot Officer Mynarski was the mid-upper gunner of a Lancaster aircraft, detailed to attack a target at Cambrai in France, on the night of 12th June, 1944. The aircraft was attacked from below and astern by an enemy fighter and ultimately came down in flames. As an immediate result of the attack; both port engines failed. Fire broke out between the mid-upper turret and the rear turret, as well as in the port wing. The flames soon became fierce and the captain ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft Pilot Officer Mynarski left his turret and went towards the escape hatch. He then saw that the rear gunner was still in his turret and apparently unable to leave it. The turret was, in fact, immovable, since the hydraulic gear had been put out of action when the port engines failed, and the manual gear had been broken by the gunner in his attempts to escape. Without hesitation, Pilot Officer Mynarski made his way through the flames in an endeavour to reach the rear turret and release the gunner. Whilst so doing, his parachute and his clothing up the waist were set on fire. All his efforts to move the turret and free the rear gunner were in vain. Eventually the rear gunner clearly indicated to him that there was nothing more he could do and that he should try to save his own life. Pilot Officer Mynarski reluctantly went back through the flames to the escape hatch. There, as a last gesture to the trapped gunner, he turned towards him, stood to attention in his flaming clothing, and saluted, before he jumped out of the aircraft. Pilot Officer Mynarski's descent was seen by French people on the ground. Both his parachute and his clothing were on fire. He was found eventually by the French, but was so severely burnt that he died from his injuries. The rear gunner had a miraculous escape when the aircraft crashed. He subsequently testified that had Pilot Officer Mynarski not attempted to save his comrade's life, he could have left the aircraft in safety and would, doubtless, have escaped death. Pilot Officer Mynarski must have been fully aware that in trying to free the rear gunner he was almost certain to lose his own life. Despite this, with outstanding courage and complete disregard for his own safety, he went to the rescue. Willingly accepting the danger; Pilot Officer Mynarski lost his life by a most conspicuous act of heroism which called for valour of the highest order. Detail provided by H Halliday, Orleans, Ontario

Flying Officer Monte Green of Winnipeg, Manitoba was in another 419 Sqn Lancaster about 100 yards away, and as the bomb aimer in the front of the aircraft, witnessed the attack, "The starboard wing was completely on fire in seconds. The Lancaster swerved toward us and we took evasive action. We were fairly low in our attack - between 5,000 and 8,000 feet, so the stricken Lancaster hit the ground in seconds it seemed. I met several of the crew when they they escaped back to Britain so heard what happened first hand"

There were three 419 Squadron Lancaster aircraft lost on this operation. Please see aircraft serials KB 714 VR-Y and KB 731 VR-S for additional information

source:They Shall Grow Not Old, BCATP Museum, Brandon MB

There were three 419 Squadron Lancaster aircraft and crews lost on this operation. Please see aircraft serials KB714 VR-Y and KB731 VR-S for additional information

General Air Crew Remembered

General Recherche de France-Crashes 39-45

General Lancaster BX KB726 [Royal Air Force Serials and Image Database]...

Canada Source Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Commonwealth War Graves Commission International Bomber Cmmand Centre

Find-A-Grave.com Finadagrave.com

Canada Primary Source Library and Archives Canada Service Files (may not exist)

Home
Google MapWinnipeg, Manitoba
Target
Google MapCambrai France
Burial
Google MapCimetiere Communal de Meharicourt - CWGC
British Plot Grave 40

Lancaster KB726

Avro Lancaster

Avro Lancaster Mk. X RCAF Serial FM 213
Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

The Avro Lancaster is a British Second World War heavy bomber. It was designed and manufactured by Avro as a contemporary of the Handley Page Halifax, both bombers having been developed to the same specification, as well as the Short Stirling, all three aircraft being four-engined heavy bombers adopted by the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the same wartime era.

The Lancaster has its origins in the twin-engine Avro Manchester which had been developed during the late 1930s in response to the Air Ministry Specification P.13/36 for a capable medium bomber for "world-wide use". Originally developed as an evolution of the Manchester (which had proved troublesome in service and was retired in 1942), the Lancaster was designed by Roy Chadwick and powered by four Rolls-Royce Merlins and in one version, Bristol Hercules engines. It first saw service with RAF Bomber Command in 1942 and as the strategic bombing offensive over Europe gathered momentum, it was the main aircraft for the night-time bombing campaigns that followed. As increasing numbers of the type were produced, it became the principal heavy bomber used by the RAF, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and squadrons from other Commonwealth and European countries serving within the RAF, overshadowing the Halifax and Stirling. Wikipedia

YouTube Lancaster Bomber

Wkikpedia Wikipedia

General Harold A Skaarup Web Page

CASPIR Aircraft Groups:
RCAF On Strength (234), RCAF 6 Group (5), RCAF 400 Squadron (7), Canadian Aircraft Losses (1732)
last update: 2021-09-18 14:32:33

Lancaster Mk.X KB726

VRRAF RoundelA

Issued to #419(B) Squadron on 27.5.44. Lost on a raid to Cambrai in which U/G Andrew Mynarski was lost (later awarded VC) Survivors & POW's (B)Sgt J.W.Friday,(FE)Sgt R.E.Vigar RAF, Evaders were(WOG)WO W.J.Kelly,(AG)F/O G.P.Brophy, (P)A.DeBreyne, Brodie.

( Note: Mk X Lancaster FM213 was restored to flying condition in 1988 by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum It is painted in the colours of KB726 and named the "Mynarski Memorial Lancaster")

Operations Record Book Operations Record Book (Missing after Night Bombing)

Operations Record Book Operations Record Book Monthly Summary

Museum Jack Friday's Log Book


1944-06-00 Failed to Return 419 Cambrai FR VR*A Failed to return from operation over Cambrai, shot down by night fighter. 1 killed, 2 POW, 4 evaded. 2020-02-11
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419 (B) Sqn Moosa Aswayita ("Moose")

History of the Squadron during World War II (Aircraft: Wellington IC, III, Halifax II, Lancaster X)

419 (Bomber) Squadron formed at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, UK in 1941 as part of No 3 Group of Bomber Command. It got its name from its first commanding officer, Wing Commander John "Moose" Fulton, DSO, DFC, AFC. The squadron operated Vickers Wellington, then Handley Page Halifax and finally Avro Lancaster bombers through the course of WWII, with the squadron code letters VR. It was the third RCAF bomber unit to be formed in England. It started operations in January 1942, converting almost immediately from Wellington Mk ICs to Wellington Mk IIIs and then moving north to Leeming, Yorkshire, as part of 4 Group Bomber Command in August 1942. After short stays at Topcliffe and Croft , it moved to Middleton St. George, County Durham in November 1942, from which it flew until the end of hostilities. Here in November 1942 it was re-equipped with Halifax Mk IIs, which it flew for the next 18 months on the night offensive against Germany. In January 1943 it joined the newly formed 6 (RCAF) Group of Bomber Command.

In April 1944 the squadron began to convert to the Avro Lancaster Mk X, which was produced in Canada and flown across the Atlantic. The squadron remained continuously on the offensive until 25 April 1945, when it flew its last sortie. Squadron personnel flew a total of 4,325 operational sorties during the war from Mannheim to Nuremberg, Milan to Berlin and Munich to Hanover, inflicting heavy damage on the enemy. On completion of the war in Germany, the squadron was earmarked to become part of the proposed "Tiger Force" to continue the war against Japan. However, the Japanese surrender in August 1945 led to the disbandment of the squadron in at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia September 1945.

As a result of its wartime record, 419 Squadron became one of the most decorated units under the RCAF during the war. Over a span of roughly three-and-a-quarter years it logged 400 operational missions (342 bombing missions, 53 mining excursions, 3 leaflet raids and 1 "spoof") involving 4,325 sorties. A total of one hundred and twenty nine aircraft were lost on these operations. Members of the squadron accumulated 1 VC, 4 DSO's, 1 MC, 150 DFC's, 3 bars to DFC, 1 CGM, 35 DFM's: the VC was awarded posthumously to Flight Sergeant Andrew Mynarski for his attempts to help a fellow crew member escape from their burning aircraft. Battle Honours were: English Channel and North Sea 1942-44, Baltic 1942-44, Fortress Europe 1942-44, France and Germany 1944-45, Biscay Ports 1942-44, Ruhr 1942-45, Berlin 1943-44, German Ports 1942-45, Normandy 1944, Rhine, Biscay 1942; 1944. Wikipedia, Kostenuk and Griffin

Museum Squadron History (Bomber Command Museum)

Maps for Movements of 419 Squadron 1941-45

MAP 1: 419 Squadron Movements Dec 1941-Aug-42 (right-click on image to display enlarged new tab)
MAP 2: 419 Squadron Movements Aug 1942-Jun 1945
MAP 3: 6 Group Bomber Bases 1943-1945

419 Squadron History Summary 1941-45

419 Squadron History Summary 1941-45 Page 2

History of the Squadron Post-WWII (Aircraft: Canuck, Silver Star, Freedom Fighter, Hornet)

The squadron was reactivated on 15 March 1954 at North Bay, Ontario , as an all-weather fighter squadron flying the CF-100 Canuck. It moved to the NATO Air Division base at Baden-Soellingen, Germany shortly after being formed. The squadron remained there until its disbandment in December 1962.

The squadron was again re-formed in December 1970, when it relocated to Cold Lake, Alberta as No. 1 Canadian Forces Flight Training School. It initially flew the T-33 Silver Star but then transitioned to the Canadair CF-5 Freedom Fighter. The squadron was on full active duty in November 1975 but disbanded again 20 years later when the CF-5’s were retired in June 1995.

The squadron was again reactivated as 419 Tactical Fighter (Training) Squadron on 23 July 2000. The squadron has since conducted Phase IV of the NATO Flying Training Canada (NFTC) program for the air forces of Canada, Austria, Denmark, Italy, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. This program trains basic jet pilots to become fighter pilots and prepares them for training on CF-188 class aircraft through instruction in Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground combat tactics over a six month period.

Mynarski Raid and Overview

On the night of June 12 and 13 1944 The Mynarski crew was in their Lancaster, headed to Cambrai in France. It was 1 week after D-Day (June 6, 1944). Fighting was very hard in Normandy, and the Germans were sending reinforcements south to meet the allies. Cambrai was a significant rail point and the purpose of this raid was to destroy the railway marshalling yards and disrupt enemy troop and equipment movements.

Video Stories

YouTube Heritage Minutes: Andrew Mynarski

YouTube The Story of Andrew Mynarski


Pat Brophy

Pat Brophy stayed with the French Resistance for a short period before returning to Britain:

Museum Pat Brophy Story

YouTube The French Resistance

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