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1943 London subway bomb shelter disaster...
Item # 693042
March 05, 1943
THE NEW YORK TIMES, March 5, 1943
* Bethnal Green tube station
* London Underground bomb shelter
* Nazi air raid panic stampede disaster
* World War II - WWII
The front page has a two column heading: "Woman Trips, Causing Jam, 178 Die in London Shelter" (see)
Complete with 36 pages, rag edition in great condition.
wikipedia notes: On 3 March 1943, the British media reported a heavy RAF raid on Berlin on the night of 1/2 March. The air-raid Civil Defence siren sounded at 8:17 p.m., beginning a large and orderly flow of people down the blacked-out staircase from the street. A middle-aged woman and a child fell over, three steps up from the base and others fell around her, tangled in an immovable mass which grew, as they struggled, to nearly 300 people. Some got free but 173, most of them women and children, were crushed and asphyxiated and about 60 others were taken to hospital. An Air Raid Warden's report, written at 5.30 a.m. on 4 March, described the event as "Panic ... apparently caused by a person falling & bringing would-be shelterers to the ground. Death by asphyxiation in the subsequent stampede was the main cause of the fatalities.
News of the disaster was withheld for 36 hours and reporting of what had happened was censored, giving rise to allegations of a cover-up, although it was in line with existing wartime reporting restrictions. Among the reports which never ran was one filed by Eric Linden of the Daily Mail, who witnessed the disaster. Information which was provided was sparse."
Fuller details were eventually released on 20 January 1945, the cause having been "kept a secret for 22 months because the government felt the information might have resulted in the Germans' continuing air raids with the intention of causing similar panics". When the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, saw the report on 6 April saying that the cause was public panic during an air raid, he determined that it should be suppressed until the end of hostilities as it would be an "invitation to repeat" to the enemy and also as it contradicted earlier official comments that there was no panic; although Herbert Morrison disagreed and Clement Attlee (MP for the nearby Limehouse constituency) wanted to deny rumours that the panic was due to "Jews and/or Fascists".
Category: World War II