Name : Charles Prawdzik (By: Kieran Cairney)

Charles John Prawdzik (Government Records).
Rank: Aircraftman, Unit: 415 Squadron, Division: R.C.A.F.

Name : Charles Prawdzik (By: Kieran Cairney) | | | Service Personnel Information | Medals/Awards | Essay : (Adventure) | Military Service Record | Grave Reference | Additional information / Pictures | Lest We Forget Video | | Citations For Essay | Archival Reference | Wiki Sources Bibliography

Service Personnel Information

  • Name: Charles Prawdzik
  • Service Regimental Number: REG J37535
  • Rank: Aircraftman 2nd Class
  • Height/weight: 5"11/138
  • Colour of eyes: Blue
  • Marital status: Single
  • Religion: Roman Catholic
  • Address: Polonia, Manitoba
  • Next of Kin (and relationship): Jacob Prawdzik (father)
  • Date of enlistment: July 28th, 1942
  • City and province of enlistment: Winnipeg, Manitoba


War Medal 39-45
France & Germany Star
Defence Medal
CVSM Medal
39-45 Star



Essay : (Adventure)

1,154 Words

Charles John Prawdzik was just a young adult when he ventured into the unknown ‘adventures’ of what was WWII. Some may see Canadian war veterans as just another statistic in history. However, it is more than necessary to commemorate their lives, and what they sacrificed for their country throughout this deranged war. Everyone over the age of eighteen was to decide whether to join this ‘adventurous’ experience. Influenced by propaganda, Canadians had a twisted idea of what to expect. Charles Prawdzik decided to put his life in danger by volunteering to join the war effort. Unfortunately, Charles had a very untimely death as did numerous others. The veterans' lives are imperative for us to remember, for they all deserve to be honoured for what they have done for their country.

Charles was raised in Polonia, Manitoba (a small town near Neepawa) with a Polish heritage. This Roman Catholic, blue eyed, five eleven, 138 pound ‘boy’ enlisted in the air force at the age of 21 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, just recently after being educated at St. Paul’s. Charles was not married when he enlisted into the war seeing as he was still young (Government Documents). Charles was a plane navigator, including navigating the Halifax MZ947 (Yorkshire). He was in the 415th squadron with the rank of Aircraft Man 2nd Class
(Government Documents). The man who enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force went through numerous amounts of hardships as did everyone involved in the war. There was endless detail to everyone’s story. To do the least for those who gave their lives for their country, their stories must always be remembered, and never forgotten.

It is unimaginable to be a man just coming out of education and questioning yourself whether to fight for your country in the army. Most people in the modern era aspire to be rich and wealthy, with high paying jobs. Imagine if for example a year after you have graduated high school, you were asked to join the army to fight in a worldwide war. Although everyone was involved in the war in some way, whether it was ultimately being away in the war effort, or to work in a factory at home, everyone was involved in some way. The shock and mix of emotions would be unimaginable to decide whether to become a soldier or not. However, the reality was that this was a real struggle for every single person this time over the age of 18. This task was not a simple question to answer either. Every country had their own propaganda posters influencing citizens by evoking emotions. These emotions could include guilt, fright, a sense of comradeship, or adventure. Canadians made these posters which did not only influence Charles, but all other citizens of Canada. Finally, in hindsight it is probable that absolutely no one would have wanted to participate and witness the inhumane bloodbath of World War II.

The discipline and comradeship which the soldiers underwent was most definitely incomparable to anything else. The reason behind this was because Charles was in the fight together until the end with his squad. These friends were the ones who would drive you to keep on going, and pick you up off of the ground when you needed it. The discipline of the soldiers was also clearly superb. Soldiers would get concise orders, and if one tiny thing went wrong, the whole operation could have failed. Soldiers such as Charles are admirable for these key traits. After all, when everything was on the line, all that the soldiers had was their gear and their comrades. When it came to life or death, it is certain that squadrons such as the Royal Canadian Air Force squadron 415 really demonstrated what it meant to never give up.

On October 12th, 1944, Charles’ plane was en route to Wanne Eickel, Germany, to attack the oil plants. At approximately 16,000-20,000 feet, the 432 crews dropped approximately 1,052,000 pounds of explosives. Although the attack was a success by damaging the chemical plant and oil refinery, approximately half of the Canadian aircrafts were damaged by flak. In the midst of the daylight, Charles’ plane was struck by flak, seriously injuring him (6grouprcaf). The plane was a couple miles away from the target attack zone when the nose of the aircraft was destroyed by enemy anti-aircraft fire. Pilot John McAllister landed the aircraft at Woodbridge airfield in a desperate attempt to save Charles’ life. Unfortunately upon landing, a tire of the aircraft burst and the aircraft was further damaged. Recently after the landing, Aircraft-man navigator Charles Prawdzik passed away due to the severity of his injury (Yorkshire). Again, this shows the deep companionship among Charles squad. Charles‘ comrades did all that they could to try to save his life. Instead of returning to the original coordinates that they were given, the crew landed in an airfield in desperation to save their friend. Charles was later buried in the Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey, UK (CGWC).

It was on October 13th, 1944 when Charles Prawdzik passed away. A letter was compiled on October 20th, 1944 describing the incident which was to be sent to his father Jacob Prawdzik. It is unimaginable to be thinking every day about the thought of your child dying. Unfortunately in this case, Mr. Jacob Prawdzik was sent a letter informing him of his child’s death (Government Documents). Once again, it is not comprehensible to understand the emotions which families felt after getting these horrific letters. The emotion of family members could include to name a few; honour, sorrow, anger, and the list goes on and on. Furthermore, Charles’ grave reference in the Brookwood Military Cemetery was 33.A.1. Charles’ name can be found in the Book of Remembrance on page 420 (CWGC). Shortly after Charles' death, one important event around this time was the final use of the gas chambers in Auschwitz on October 30th, 1944 (Historyplace). The Axis powers began to diminish slowly as the Allies intervened to stop the destruction.

It may seem like ancient history to some regarding the event of World War II. In reality, this world altering affair occurred just over half a century ago. Families such as Charles‘ would never be the same, and for even those thankful to live, were still scarred for life. Countries were blown to smithereens, and the world was fundamentally a pile of dirt and debris. The benefits of war to sum it up, do not outweigh the damage. In addition, after having two worldwide conflicts, it would be more than foolish to believe that war is good. Finally, each and every war veteran gave Canadians the priceless gift of freedom due to their selfless sacrifice such as aircraft man navigator, Charles John Prawdzik. It is everyone’s right and duty to remember and be thankful for these true heroes, and keep close the sincere slogan, “lest we forget.”

Military Service Record

  • Age (at death): 23
  • Force: Air force (RCAF)
  • Unit: No. 2 'M' Depot (Brandon) / 415 R.C.A.F. Squadron
  • Service Number: REG J37535
  • Honours and Awards: Memorial Bar/War Medal, 39-45 Star, French and German Star, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal
  • Photograph: Yes
  • Next of Kin (and relationship): Jacob Prawdzik (father)
  • Date of Death: October 13th, 1944
  • Country of Burial: United Kingdom
  • Cemetery: Brookwood Military Cemetery
  • Grave Reference: 33.A.1.
  • Location: Surrey, UK
  • Book of Remembrance: Page 420

Grave Reference

  • Name of Cemetery: Brookwood Military Cemetery
  • Grave Reference: 33.A.1.

Brookwood Military Cemetary. Surrey, UK. 5071 Identified Casualties.

Additional information / Pictures

Screen_Shot_2012-05-16_at_4.04.55_PM.png A map of where Charles and his family lived. No pictures of Polonia were available, and street view was unavailable

RCAF.jpg /*lThBeDB-BvMjG7esAZA0m1pL9OaGrlGq6rUgI-C3VNu6c-H/RCAF.jpg?width=437&height=600. Canadian Propaganda

Propaganda.jpg Canadian Propaganda

Book of Rememberance Page 420.

Air Force Casulties. News of Charles Prawdzik's death.

Lest We Forget Video

Citations For Essay

“Halifax MZ947 hit by flak, returned to East Moor airfield.” aircraft/planes/ryedale
/mz947.html. N.p. web. 26 Apr. 2012.

"October 12, 1944." N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May
2012. N.P., Web. 29 Apr. 2012.

Military service files of Charles John Prawdzik (RG 24, Volume 28452) obtained from Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington
Street, Ottawa, Ontario.

"World War II In Europe." N.p, n.d. Web. 15 May 2012.

Archival Reference

Military service files of Charles John Prawdzik (RG 24, Volume 28452) obtained from Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario.

Wiki Sources Bibliography N.P., Web. 29 Apr. 2012. N.P., Web. 29 Apr. 2012.

“Halifax MZ947 hit by flak, returned to East Moor airfield.” N.p.
web. 26 Apr. 2012.

"October 12, 1944." N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2012. Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation, 19 Feb. 2010. Web.
29 Apr. 2012. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2012. N.p., 2012. Web. 16 May 2012. N.p., 1 Oct. 2011. Web. 29 Apr. 2012.

Worth, Matthew. "How Will You Remember Them? - Remembrance Day 2012 (HD) ." N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2012. N.P., Web 15 May 2012.

"World War II In Europe." N.p, n.d. Web. 15 May 2012.

Military service files of Charles John Prawdzik (RG 24, Volume 28452) obtained from Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario.


Lest We Forget