On June 13 and beyond, take a moment to reflect upon the bravery of Canadian Pilot Officer Andrew Charles Mynarski (Born: October 14, 1916 in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Died: June 13, 1944) who gave his life trying to save his friend Pat Brophy (during their 13th mission on June 12-13, 1944) who was stuck in a gun turret after the Lancaster bomber in which they were flying was hit by enemy fire over France a week after the start of the D-Day invasion. Following the pilot’s order for the crew to bail out, Mynarski crawled through burning hydraulic oil in an unsuccessful attempt to free Pat Brophy who waved him off. Mynarski bailed out, uniform ablaze, which affected the efficacy of his parachute and resulted in a faster and harder fall to the ground. Mynarski was found by French farmers who took him to a German field hospital where he succumbed to his injuries and died. Ironically, Pat Brophy survived the plane crash. Before the mission, Mynarski gave Brophy a four-leaf clover for good luck. Was it coincidence or just plain superstition? That is for the reader to decide. Read Pat Brophy’s account of Andrew Mynarski’s heroic actions here.
On a serious note, Andrew Mynarski was recognized for his bravery when he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the British Commonwealth’s highest military award for bravery and gallantry. Read the text of Mynarski’s Victoria Cross citation from the London Gazette of October 11, 1946 here or see it on the London Gazette website in PDF format here. Consider the following items for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections:
Our bravest and our best: the stories of Canada's Victoria Cross winners / William Arthur Bishop, 1995. Book. Adult Non-Fiction.
Consult chapter thirty-seven “The Supreme Sacrifice of Three Air Force VCs” for information about Andrew Charles “Andy” Mynarski, David Ernest “Bud” Hornell, and Ian Willoughby Bazalgette.
Mynarski's Lanc: the story of two famous Canadian Lancaster bombers, KB726 & FM213 / Bette Page, 1989. Book. Adult Non-Fiction.
Learn about 419 Squadron, Andrew Mynarski, and KB726, the Lancaster bomber of which Mynarski was a crew member on June 12-13, 1944.
The 13th mission: one Lancaster bomber, the women who built it and the men who flew it into history one week after D-day [DVD] / Bette and Jerry Thompson [written/directed/produced], CBC Home Video, 2004. DVD. Documentary. Adult Non-Fiction.
Five of Andy Mynarski’s crew members tell their stories in 1988. Also, learn about the role of women in World War 2 who built Lancaster bombers such as the one that Andy Mynarski flew in.