On June 12 / 13, 1944, 419 ‘Moose’ Squadron Avro Lancasters of the #6 Bombing Group, RCAF took to the skies to attack a target at Cambrai, France. Aboard Lancaster KB726 was Winnipeg native, Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarski, the mid-upper gunner on the mighty Avro bomber. During the raid, KB726 (VRA) was attacked by a German night fighter and set ablaze. The pilot ordered the crew to bail out, but against orders Mynarski stayed aboard the doomed aircraft to help save the struggling tail gunner, Pat Brophy, who was trapped in the rear turret. After numerous attempts to help Brophy out of his turret, Mynarski, with parachute and flying suit ablaze, finally jumped from the aircraft, but not before saluting his trapped comrade. PO Mynarski survived the jump but perished from his burns upon landing. Miraculously Brophy survived the crash of the Lancaster and was thrown free from his turret when the aircraft hit a tree. Brophy was able to tell the tale of his friend’s heroic actions and as a result, Andrew Mynarski was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for his brave efforts.
The Canadian Warplane Heritage Avro Lancaster is dedicated to Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarski VC.
On June 13, 2012, the 68th anniversary of Mynarksi’s selfless actions, the Lancaster took to the skies over Southern Ontario with the Discovery Air Canadair Sabre V – ‘Hawk One’ for an air-to-air photo mission.