Two NYPD Detectives Make the Supreme Sacrifice.
On July 4th, 1940, the World’s Fair being held at New York’s Flushing Meadows Park was in full swing. The crowds were massive particularly around the British Pavillion, where some of the Crown Jewels and an original copy of the Magna Carta was on display.
With World War II raging in Europe, security was tight. Several bomb threats had been called in to the British Pavillion over the past few days.
On the afternoon of July 4th, an electrician found a device in the air conditioning room of the British Display. It was a canvass bag that didn’t belong there. The electrician heard ticking coming from the bag. He immediately notified security, who was made up of former British military personnel. They contacted the NYPD.
Detective Joseph Lynch of the Bomb Squad was at home enjoying the 4th of July holiday. He got the call to come in to work to address the ongoing situation. He picked up his partner Ferdinand Socha on the way in and proceeded to Flushing Meadows Park.
By the time they arrived on scene, the bomb had been bought outside of the building to a secluded area. The pair of detectives approached the ticking device. They cut an inspection hole in the side of the bag. Inside they were able to observe sticks of dynamite.
As one of the Detectives turned to let the officials and other cops know that the device was legitimate, it exploded. Detectives Joseph Lynch and Ferdinand Socha were killed instantly. Several other cops safeguarding the scene were also injured by the blast.
A years-long investigation into the origins of the device was initiated. The bombing and murders were never solved. There were insinuations that the British planted the bomb themselves in an attempt to gain sympathy and cooperation from the then neutral American government. Such assertions were just speculative, and the motivation was never determined.
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