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Andrew Mynarski Military Life

Andrew Mynarski enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in late 1941, training in Alberta and Manitoba before graduating in early 1942 as a mid-upper air-gunner and earning his AG half-wing. Mynarski was a temporary sergeant at the Embarkation Depot in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was sent to England for further training shortly thereafter.

Mynarski was promoted to flight sergeant in June of 1943, and was posted to No. 9 Squadron in October of that year. By March of 1944, he was posted to No. 1664 HCU, and the crew of his final sortie made their first flight together later that month. They joined No. 419 "Moose" Squadron later that month in Middleton St. George. The Avro Lancaster Mark X bombers arrived over the next few months, with KB726 arriving on May 28.

On June 12, 1944, No. 419 Squadron was preparing to depart for targets in France when they realized the ominous nature of their sortie - their 13th that would culminate early on June 13. While the crew was sitting in the grass thinking about this omen, Andrew Mynarski found a four-leaf clover and gave it to Pat Brophy as a good-luck charm.

That night, Lancaster KB726 was hit by enemy fire from below by a Ju 88 night fighter. The port engines failed, and a fire broke out between the mid-upper and rear turrets, as well as on the port wing itself. Pilot Art de Breyne ordered the crew to bail out; however, Mynarski saw Pat Brophy trapped in the rear turret. He braved the flaming fuselage of the Lancaster's rear section, crawling through twenty feet of burning hydraulic oil to try and free him. Brophy eventually waved him away, thinking Mynarski's attempts to be useless.

Mynarski retreated to the rear hatch and jumped from the plane, uniform ablaze. The burnt shroud lines on his parachute left him careening toward the Earth more quickly than normal, and his impact with the ground was significant. French farmers found Mynarski and brought him to a German field hospital, but he succumbed to injuries suffered as a result of the fire and the impact.

Andrew Mynarski in formal military attire re-creation of Mynarski's dog tags Avro Lancaster bomber similar to the one on which Mynarski served as mid-upper gunner