Gaudiempré -Pas de Calais - France
Andrew Charles Mynarski.
(The following details are given in the London Gazette of october 11 th,1946- Reader's digest Selection - J. Devos and documentation : André Coilliot)
Andrew Charles Mynarski was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on the 14th of
October 1916, He was educated at King Edward and Isaac Newton Schools and at St. John's Technical High School. He worked for four years as a leather worker in Winnipeg, and then enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in November 1941. He took his training al Calgary, Alberta; Edmonton, Alberla; and MacDonald, Manitoba; graduating in 1942 as an air gunner, he went overseas in December 1942. He is buried in Meharicourt Cemetery. Meharicourt, France.
'Pilot Officer Mynarski was the mid-upper gunner of a Lancaster aircraft.
detailed to attack a target at Cambrai in France, on the nighl 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 turrel was, in fact, immovable, since the hydraulic gear had been put out of action when the port engine 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 to the waist, were set on the fire. All his efforts to move the turret and free the 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 reluctanly went back through the flames to 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 the 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 tee aircraft in safety and would, doubtless, have escaped death.
Pilot Officer Mynarsky must have been fully aware that in trying to free the rear gunner he was almost certain lo 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.
Andrew Charles Mynarski is the first of the three Canadian pilots of the second world war has be honoured for his service of the highest British order : The Victoria Cross.
Composition of the crew of the Lancaster Bomber KB726-VR-A
Pilot : Art Debreyne
Navigator : Robert Body
Bomb Aimer : Jack Friday
Radio : Jimmy Kelly
Flight engineer : Roy Vigars
Rear gunner : George Brophy
Mid-upper gunner : Charles andrew Mynarski
The crew of the Lancaster Bomber in 1973 at Gaudiempré (France).
the lady is the sister of Andrew Charles Mynarski.
Every year, Christelle, Patrick, Eric Descamps and Rémy Lavallard, members of the Souvenirs Français, in Gaudiempré (France) near the stele, commémorate the memory of Andrew Charles Mynarski.