The Mynarski Statue Project

Avro Lancaster VR-A, from 419 "Moose" Squadron, RCAF, was lost on the evening of June 12/13, 1944, over Northern France. Only one of the crew died that day. Although the aircraft was on fire, “Andy” Mynarski’s valiant efforts to save Flying Officer “Pat” Brophy, the tail-gunner, were in vain; forced to retreat through the blazing bomber, he stood to attention at the exit and saluted his trapped comrade, before falling to a fiery death.

Brophy miraculously survived the subsequent crash, later recounting the bravery of his friend. His story resulted in Pilot Officer Andrew Charles Mynarski in 1946 becoming the recipient of the Victoria Cross, the last of its kind presented after the Second World War to a Canadian airman.

More than 60 years later, a group of local Winnipeggers active in business, government, heritage, military and community organizations embarked on a project to raise the funds to leave a lasting memorial to a Winnipegger, one who never returned home. The project was named the “Mynarski Statue Project” with the goal of “Bringing Andrew Home”.

In January 2006, the Mynarski Statue Project began its work by approaching the Canadian Aviation Historical Society to act as the charitable body that could provide not only financial oversight but also issue tax receipts to donors. For the first years of the project, the CAHS continued in that role until the Air Cadet League of Canada (Manitoba) Inc. became the administrators and financial body that supported the goals and objectives of the Mynarski Statue Project.

In order to complete the project, a small executive group led by a number of CAHS members: Jim Bell, the president of the local chapter and national director, Roger Beebe, former CAHS national president, along with Bill Zuk, a local CAHS Manitoba member, provided the leadership that eventually resulted in the creation of a memorial to honour Andrew Mynarski. On June 12, 2015, the Mynarski Statue, designed and created by local artist Charlie Johnston, was unveiled to the public at the Vimy Ridge Memorial Park, the culmination of a decade-long fund-raising project, made possible in part by the efforts of the CAHS.

Mynarski Statue