Saturday, August 6, 2011

World's Fair Bombing

Last week's pictures of Lewis Valentine mentioned a World's Fair Bombing in 1940.

Chris says:
" I remember hearing my mom tell me a story about it when we drove out to the airport .. actually every time we drove out to LaGuardia airport."
Mom must have heard it from her parents (Warren and Kay.)

Here's more about the bombing:

The attack is still an unsolved mystery. On July 4th, 1940 a ticking suitcase was found at the British Pavilion at the World's Fair in Queens. Two bomb squad detectives Joe Lynch and Freddy Socha moved it to a secluded spot and tried to defuse it but had few skills or tools compared to those of today. It blew up and killed them, leaving a crater behind the Polish Pavilion.

"It was a tragedy, but it could have been worse. Police Commissioner Lewis Valentine noted that it was only a miracle that hundreds of fairgoers weren't killed." The quote is from an NPR story from last year

Nazis? Irish Republican Army? Loyalists left over from our Revolution? Disgruntled subjects of the king? This terrorist attack took place in the first months of World War II when England was fighting Germany.

There's an open $26,000 reward for solving the case. Apparently there were two bombings in the previous two-week period; one at the building that housed the German Consulate and one in the building that housed the Daily Worker, the Communist newspaper.

At the 1964 World's Fair a plaque was laid to remember the courageous detectives.

Here's an online memorial to the detectives

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