A young Canadian gunner stays behind to save his friend in a flaming Lancaster Bomber and dies in the attempt. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery. (1944)
Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarski was the mid-upper gunner of a Lancaster bomber, attacking a target at Cambrai, France, on the night of 12 June 1944. The aircraft came under fire from an enemy fighter. The pilot ordered the crew to bail out. In an act of heroism, Mynarski remained onboard the fiery plane, determined to save his friend.
The son of Polish immigrants, Andrew Mynarski grew up in the North End of Winnipeg. In 1932 he left school and took a job as a leather cutter to help support the family. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941 and in January 1943 was posted to England.
Mynarski was serving with 419 "Moose" Squadron when his plane was shot down. Preparing to jump from the blazing airplane, he saw that the rear gunner, Pat Brophy, was trapped in his gun turret, struggling to break free. Immediately, Mynarski turned from the escape hatch and made his way back through the flames, ignoring his friend's shouts of, "Go back! Save yourself!" After numerous attempts to release Brophy, Mynarski reluctantly make his way back to the hatch. His parachute and clothes ablaze, he offered his friend a final gesture of encouragement: he stood at attention and saluted. He jumped, but succumbed to his burns soon after landing.
Miraculously, Brophy survived the crash. The plane hit a tree as it crashed to earth, breaking open the gun turret and throwing him free. He thus lived to tell of Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarski's bravery. Andrew Mynarski was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for his effort to save another's life.
- Andrew Mynarski – Gabriel Hogan
- Pat Brophy – Dmitry Chepovetsky
- Skipper – David Julian Hirsh
- Stunt double – Randy Butcher
- Bartender – Fraser Young