How did allied and German civilians react to downed aircrew?

May 2019
145
Northern and Western hemispheres
For example during the Battle of Britain how would civilians have reacted when they encountered a downed Luftwaffe bomber crew? Also, how would German civilians have reacted when they encountered a downed Allied bomber crew?
 
Mar 2019
1,952
Kansas
For example during the Battle of Britain how would civilians have reacted when they encountered a downed Luftwaffe bomber crew? Also, how would German civilians have reacted when they encountered a downed Allied bomber crew?
From the accounts I have read, the British civilians were surprisingly civilized. I am sure there was the odd black eye or solid kick in the pants, but I have never heard of any angry mobs forming. The police did seem to get on the scene pretty quick so I am sure that helped.
 
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Oct 2015
924
Virginia
My uncle, who was shot down over Magdeburg in 1944, landing dazed and seriously burned, said he was rescued by police from angry farmers armed with pitchforks and flails.
 
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May 2019
145
Northern and Western hemispheres
My uncle, who was shot down over Magdeburg in 1944, landing dazed and seriously burned, said he was rescued by police from angry farmers armed with pitchforks and flails.
I wonder if they were shouting at him and calling him an air gangster.
 
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Dec 2013
297
Arkansas
Worth noting is that British and Germans and Americans and Germans had pretty close ethnic, religious and historical connections. So it wasn't as in Asia "some alien soldier coming overhead to kill us".
 
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Dec 2013
297
Arkansas
Also worth noting, Pilot Gary Powers whose U-2 was shot down by the Soviet Union. It was said that local Russian civilians treated him so well prior to the authorities arriving that he was "almost carried off on their shoulders".
 
Mar 2019
1,952
Kansas
Also worth noting, Pilot Gary Powers whose U-2 was shot down by the Soviet Union. It was said that local Russian civilians treated him so well prior to the authorities arriving that he was "almost carried off on their shoulders".
They probably just wanted Gary for his decadent western candy
 
Apr 2014
242
Liverpool, England
Airmen who bailed out over northern France in May 1940 were lucky to get away without being shot by local farmers - whichever side they were flying for. This may have been partly due to fifth column paranoia and the belief that German agents were being dropped by parachute in large numbers, preferably in French or British uniforms.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,424
My uncle, who was shot down over Magdeburg in 1944, landing dazed and seriously burned, said he was rescued by police from angry farmers armed with pitchforks and flails.
I don't know the details, but someone who was shot down late in the war told my parents about being concerned about being lynched by a hostile crowd at a railway station. This was due to the bombing killing many civilians and destroying houses and so on.
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,062
Navan, Ireland
My uncle, who was shot down over Magdeburg in 1944, landing dazed and seriously burned, said he was rescued by police from angry farmers armed with pitchforks and flails.
Allied aircrew shot down over Germany could and did face 'victims justice' as they were labelled 'gangsters' and 'terror flyers' by German propaganda.

There were cases of crew killed and they could be mistreated by guards. However the majority were treated relatively well. It should also be remembered that many aircrew were shot down over occupied but friendly territory and as a result would find the locals willing and eager to offer what help they could.

Now there are many tales of aircrew rescued by brave resistance fighters, all of which are true but the reality was often more mundane.

In the Netherlands a householder year a plane crash near by and debris hit his roof. Like a responsible citizen he reports this to the local police but then discovers that the debris is an RAF man in his parachute. he helps him down, the Dutchman is very apologetic and tell the 'Tommy' that he'd help if he could he has already alerted the police and anyway the noise and parachute are obvious to many eyes and his family would be in grave danger if he tried to help him.

The RAFF man understands and thanks him for his help and not wishing to put the family in danger waits to be captured -- he joins the Dutch family for food and drinks and as the Dutch police arrive they make mutual toasts..

Another RAF man in the Netherland remembered that he crash landed but was dazed so very quickly captured by German troops. He is taken to the very busy local train station to wait for transport .

The Dutch are told to ignore the 'gangster terror flyer' which they appear to do so. The 'Tommy' shiffled almost crawled to his seat-- battered and bruised , exhausted friends dead others missing.

He looks at the Dutch passing who are ignoring him -- but notices they are not, they can not do much for fear of retribution from the guards, but a slight nod of the head, a smile or wink and even a furtive thumbs up or victory sign.

As the guards relax and become slack a beautiful Dutch women bursts from the crowd runs to him gives him a big hug/kiss and says "Thank you Tommy" and runs off into the crowd with the gurds jeering.

A little while later a Dutch 'matron' strides past the guard snapping something at them in German who look back at her disgruntled and sheepish and she presents him with some coffee and bread with another 'Thank you Tommy'.

Felling much better the RAF man notices that tiny stones are being thrown at him-- bemused he looks around and sees that on the wall on the other side of the station a group of children had gathered and they were trying to get his attention. When he looks at them they give a slight cheer and the boys stand up and salute while the girls smile and wave. he of course returns both. At the moment he is called to move, he smiles at the children and marches to the transport.
 
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