Andrew Mynarski VC honoured by Amiens and Meharicourt

Monday 24th Sep 2012

Earlier this year I was contacted by Mr Fred Jackson, representing the local Middleton St George Memorial Association, who asked if we could arrange for a small poppy wreath to be laid on the grave of Andrew Mynarski VC.  As we had a delegation from from Amiens coming to visit Darlington College, we decided to ask if they would do this on their return, and they kindly agreed to our request.  Andrew was buried in the cemetary at Meharicourt about 30 kilometres from Amiens. To our surprise we received this video, showing the great repect the Mayors and citizens of Amiens and Meharicourt displayed in a moving ceremony to honour Andrew. I'm sure the citizens of Darlington are extremely grateful for this kindness.

Pilot Officer ANDREW CHARLES MYNARSKI was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force and was based at Middleton St George during the war, which is now Durham Tees Airport.

On June 12th 1944 he was a gunner in a Lancaster aircraft attacking Cambrai when it was hit by an enemy fighter, resulting in an extensive fire, and the captain ordered the crew to abandon the plane. As he was just about to jump he saw his friend was trapped, and remained in the plane to try to help him, even though his own clothes and parachute were on fire. He was unable to free him and was told to save his own life, and reluctantly moved to the escape hatch, turned to the trapped gunner, stood to attention with his clothes on fire, and saluted to his friend before jumping. French people watched his descent and he was eventually found, but was so badly burned that he died.  Miracuously when the plane crashed his friend was thrown clear and survived, and he testified that but P/O MYNARSKI's gallant rescue attempt he could have left the aircraft safely and escaped death. 

P/O MYNARSKI was awarded the highest honour possible, The Victoria Cross, for a conspicuous act of heroism which called for valour of the highest order.

He is fondly remembered by the people of Darlington for his association with our town.

 

 The Mayor of Amiens, Gilles Demailly and The Mayor of Méharicourt, François Deflandre, pay hommage to Andrew Charles Mynarski VC.

 

Reported by Tom Nutt.


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