October 22, 1943

Mobbed by German Civilians
GOTHENBURG, Sweden—A report comes from neutral Sweden of downed American fliers lynched by civilians in Hamburg, Germany. Surviving flier, B-17 waist gunner Staff Sergeant Benny Spring, relayed the story while on the prisoner-exchange ship Atlantis en route to England. Spring stated German military guards protected him and seven other Americans, but that two fliers had been lynched. Spring said the German guards told them they would be given revolvers to defend themselves if the mob began firing on the prisoners. The other surviving fliers echoed the story. Exchanged British prisoners confirmed similar action as routine if civilians reached downed fliers before German military authorities. Spring and his crew were shot down on July 25 last over Hamburg, and he was wounded by flak.

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