thumb lancaster crewThe conclusion of the Lancaster story from NetLetter nr 1316 -
The association has refinished a number of aircraft, in most cases those representing planes flown by Canadian recipients of a VC or DFC. While the Lanc being refinished was never on a bombing operation, it will be repainted in the markings of the aircraft in which Andrew Mynarski of Winnipeg won the Victoria Cross while serving in 419 squadron in 1944. Once restored, the aircraft will become a flying memorial to Canada's aerial efforts in the Second World War. 

Two employees have a particular interest in seeing the Lancaster restored and painted to represent the aircraft in which Andrew Mynarski won his posthumous Victoria Cross. They are Jack Friday, a Passenger Agent in Thunder Bay, and Jim Kelly, Manager, Industry Systems Development, Montreal. Both were in the same crew as Mynarski and were on the same operation when they were shot down. They were to bomb enemy supply lines behind the Normandy beachhead, but before reaching the target, they were attacked by an enemy night fighter. With the port wing and rear fuselage ablaze, the pilot ordered his crew to bail out. While most of the crew escaped through the front escape hatch. Mynarski made his way to the door at the rear. He was about to jump when he saw his best friend Pat Brophy was trapped in the rear turret. Ignoring his own safety. he fought his way through the flames toward Brophy and began  tearing at the turret doors which had jammed. After many vain attempts and with his clothing on fire, he  finally had to give up and with a last anguished look at his trapped buddy, bailed out. He was found by French farmers but died of his burns.  Ironically Brophy had a miraculous escape when the bomber crashed, and lived to tel! a tale which won Mynarski the V.C. 

Jack Friday was the Bomb Aimer and Jim Kelly the Wireless Operator on that fateful flight. Friday and the Flight Engineer were both taken prisoner and spent 11 months in various POW camps. They became well acquainted with the German highway system having taken part in forced marches between prison camps, part of the way barefoot.   

Shortly after Jim Kelly landed, he managed to team up with Bob Bodie, the Navigator, and with the help of the French underground they managed to evade capture for three months, until the village where they were hiding was liberated by the British. ''It was a pretty grim three months'' said Kelly. "When the British arrived riding on top of their flower-bedecked tanks, wine and champagne that had been hidden away for years suddenly began lo flow and the gay abandon of the celebration as that village was freed was something I'll never forget."

Crew   members of the ill-fated Lancaster bomber are shown, from the left: Pat Brophy, rear gunner; Jim Kelly, wireless operator; Roy Vigars, front gunner; Art deBreyne, pilot; Andy Mynarski, mid-upper gunner; Jack Friday, bomb aimer; and Bob Bodie, navigator.

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