Avro Lancaster B.Mk I – KB726, 419 (Moose) Sqn, RCAF, Pilot Officer Mynarski VC, RAF Middleton St George 1944
1 in stock
1 in stock
Corgi Aviation Archive 1/72 scale AA32622F: Avro Lancaster Mk.X serial KB726 of 419 (Moose) Sqn, RCAF in the original livery as flown by Pilot Officer Mynarski on the raid he was posthumoulsly awarded the VC in 1944. This is a Canadian Warplane Heritage exclusive model and now almost impossible to find. Limited Edition of 1,200 Pieces.
Length 11.75 inches Wingspan 17 inches
PLEASE NOTE: Box lid has a light indentation and limited edition certificate card is creased. Model is new.
In April 1944, 419 (Moose) Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, began to convert from the Handley Page Halifax to the Avro Lancaster Mk.X, which was produced in Canada and flown across the Atlantic. It was with one of these that Pilot Officer A. C. Mynarski was posthumously awarded the Squadron’s Victoria Cross for bravery in June 1944. Today, there are only two Lancasters flying in the world, one in the UK and the other in Canada, which is FM213 (C-CVRA) and first flew again in 1988 with the Canadian Warplane Heritage at Mount Hope, Ontario. It is painted in the markings of “KB726” coded “VR-A” of 419 Squadron as a tribute to this famous aircraft.
In the aftermath of D-Day attacks on 12 June 1944 Mynarski was the Mid Upper gunner aboard KB726, taking part in the crew’s 13th operation; a raid on the Marshalling Yards at Camrai, northern France. Taking off from their base at , they reached their target at midnight, Tuesday 13 June. After encountering flak over the coastline and briefly being “coned” by searchlights, the Lancaster was attacked by a Junkers Ju 88 enemy night fighter over Cambrai, France. Raked by cannon fire with major strikes on the port engines and centre fuselage, a hydraulic fire engulfed the bomber. Losing both port engines, the Pilot P/O Arthur de Breyne ordered the crew to bail out. As Mynarski approached the rear escape door, he saw through the inferno in the rear, that tail gunner Pilot Officer Pat Brophy was trapped in his turret. The tail turret had been jammed part way through its rotation to the escape position.
Without hesitation, Mynarski made his way through the flames to Brophy’s assistance. All his efforts were in vain, initially using a fire axe to try to pry open the doors before finally resorting to beating at the turret with his hands. With Mynarski’s flight suit and parachute on fire, Brophy eventually waved him away. Mynarski crawled back through the hydraulic fire, returned to the rear door where he paused and saluted. He then reputedly said “Good night, sir,” his familiar nightly sign-off to his friend, and jumped.
Except for Brophy, all crew members of the Lancaster managed to escape the burning bomber. Five left through the front escape hatch on the floor of the cockpit. When bomb aimer Jack Friday, tried to release the escape hatch cover in the aircraft’s nose, the rushing wind ripped it from his hands. The hatch cover caught him above his left eye and knocked him out. He fell into the open hatch and jammed it closed until Flight engineer Roy Vigars reached him to quickly clip on Friday’s parachute and toss him out the hatch while pulling the unconscious crewman’s rip cord. Only Mynarski managed to leave via the rear escape door.
Mynarski’s descent was rapid due to the burnt parachute and shroud lines, resulting in a heavy impact on landing. He landed alive though severely burned, with his clothes still on fire. French farmers who spotted the flaming bomber found him and took him to a German field hospital but he died shortly afterwards of severe burns. He was buried in a local cemetery. Brophy remained trapped in the bomber and remained with the bomber when it disintegrated and began breaking apart, crashing in a farm field. Re4markably Brophy survived the crash and the subsequent detonation of the bomb load. Still lodged in his turret, the crash broke the turret open with him pitched out, striking a tree and being temporarily knocked out.
Four of the crew members: Brophy, navigator Robert Bodie, radio operator James Kelly and pilot de Breyne were hidden by the French and, except for Brophy, returned to England shortly after the crash. Vigars remained with the unconscious Friday and both were captured by the Germans, being interned until liberated by American troops. Brophy joined French Resistance fighters and, after joining a resistance unit to continue the fight on the ground behind enemy lines, returned to London in September 1944, where he learned of Mynarski’s death. It was not until 1945 when Brophy was reunited with the rest of the crew that the details of his final moments on the aircraft were revealed. He related the story of the valiant efforts made by Mynarski to save him.
Mynarski lies buried in Grave 20 of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission plot in the Méharicourt Communal Cemetery, near Amiens, France.
Designed to meet a specification for a new generation of “worldwide use” medium bombers, the Avro Lancaster was first flown on January 8, 1941. The design of the Lancaster evolved from an unsuccessful two-engine aircraft called the Manchester. The heavier Lancaster had four engines and an extensive bomb bay, with later versions capable of carrying 22,000 lb bombs. Used primarily as a night bomber, the Lancaster was a versatile aircraft that became most famous for its role in the 1943 “Dam Buster” raids on Germany’s Ruhr Valley dams. Between 1942 and 1945, Lancasters flew 156,000 sorties, dropping 608,612 tons of bombs on enemy targets.