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Go Back   The Aerodrome Forum > Archives > 2001


2001 Closed threads from 2001 (read only)

 
 
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Old 11 June 2001, 06:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
Marlon Schultz
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What would be the opinion of those interested in this subject as to the greatest air V.C. of all and why.

MJS
 
Old 11 June 2001, 06:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
Kory Clark
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1 Vote William Barker,

Undisputed fact that it happened.

He had basically earned the VC prior to his actual VC action. Many were saying "What does Barker have to DO to get a VC?"

The spectacle that was his action, IE fighting 20+ enemy planes by himself and manageing to get 3 after downing a 2-seater, right over the lines...getting cheered after the fight. If it wasn't witnessed, no one would have believed it, it's just rediculous.

Fighting with serious injuries.(AA Mcleod and his observer come in 2nd on this one for me)

Surviving the action.

Ironically he was completely embarrassed about the whole thing..getting surprised after taking out his 2-seater...target fixated.


 
Old 11 June 2001, 07:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
Hugh A. Halliday
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My vote(s) go to those who lay their life on the line (and sometimes lose it) for somebody else. Not because it is part of the job description. Not because their act was important to "the mission" - simply because somebody needed help and the VC nominee was prepared to offer it, regardles of the price.

Off the bat, I do not know the names of all the air VC winners, but I have always considered Mynarski as the perfect type. Right up there with him is G. Thompson. One might add McNamara and Bazelgette (although their appointments may have put their feats closer to "duty" than "beyond the call of duty").
 
Old 11 June 2001, 08:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
Marlon Schultz
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I agree with Hugh. I personally have always had a soft spot for Andrew Mynarski.Hugh, I don't know if you remember me from the CAHS Convention in Regina (1993?). You autographed your fine book on Typhoon's in RCAF service for me. I was also with the IPMS model display at the convention.
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Old 11 June 2001, 12:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
Tom Cervo
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We'll never know, since it probably belongs to a man who acts were never known--consider Mynarski: none greater--it's the salute that chokes me up--but the man who witnessed it survived by a miracle.
 
Old 11 June 2001, 01:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sgt. Tom Mottershead, whose fighting heart knew no bounds. He dragged his observer from the blazing remains of their FE-2, and while dying of burns in hospital jumped out of bed to watch a balloon going down. However, for "above and beyond" action, he already deserved the VC (IMHO) for shooting up a German airdrome--after landing on it and taxiing close to the hangars!
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Old 12 June 2001, 12:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Gents,
I don't have my copy of "The Air VC's" here, so I am embarrassed about not knowing of Mynarski and his exploits. Can anyone briefly enlighten me?
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Old 12 June 2001, 01:46 AM   #8 (permalink)
Hugh A. Halliday
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MYNARSKI, P/O Andrew Charles (J87544) - Victoria Cross - No.419 Squadron - Awarded as per London Gazette dated 11 October 1946 and AFRO 1042/46 dated 1 November 1946. Born in Winnipeg, 1916; home there (fabric cutter); enlisted there 29 September 1941. Trained at No.3 BGS (graduated 18 December 1942). Presented by AOC, No.2 Air Command to his mother in Winnipeg. June 1984 issue of Journal of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society had extensive coverage of him.

Pilot Officer Mynarski was the mid-upper gunner of a Lancaster aircraft,detailed to attack a target at Cambrai in France, on the night 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 turret was, in fact, immovable, since the hydraulic gear had been put out of action when the port engines 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 the waist were set on fire. All his efforts to move the turret and free the rear 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 reluctantly went back through the flames to the 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 he 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 the aircraft in safety and would, doubtless, have escaped death.

Pilot Officer Mynarski must have been fully aware that in trying to free the rear gunner he was almost certain to 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.
 
Old 12 June 2001, 02:08 AM   #9 (permalink)
Hugh Halliday
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After your gracious reminder about the CAHS Convention, I tried sending the following to you directly but it was bounced back as "undeliverable":

Has it really been that long ? Alas, the thing I remember most about that convention was that the Canadain War Museum had sent me to Regina to attend the annual meeting of the Canadian Museums Association, and every minute that I squeezed into the CAHS convention was "stolen" from the CMA. The latter turned out to be the most excruciatingly dull conference imaginable - my most memorable recollection was of a speaker who put up a slide on a screen - of a "medicine bag" - and 20 minutes later the same slide was on the screen ! The CAHS was MUCH more fun (and I had to miss at least half of it).

I hope you liked the book, and that you have continued to patronize Larry Milberry and Robin Brass.

Cheers !

Hugh
 
Old 12 June 2001, 02:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hugh,
as a matter of interest do you know if the Lanc's tail-end charlie was an Officer or a Noncom?
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