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Leinster Leader July 13 1946


Kildare man sees Hiroshima. Atom bomb’s destruction.


Sapper J. Cox, R.E., a native of Rathangan, is at present on a visit to his wife and family from, which he left on May 20th. He is 2½ years in the British Army and spent nine months in the Malay campaign. With reinforcements of the 208th Field Company, Royal Engineers, he was flown from Karachi to Mandalay early in 1945, being one of the men who built a floating bridge across the Irrawaddy river under heavy Japanese fire. When the Japanese capitulated after the fall of the atom bomb on Hiroshima on August 6th he was one of the army of occupation which entered, and shortly afterwards he visited the bombed city. The damage caused appalled him. Of a modern city, noted for its fine buildings and dense population, he saw nothing but mile upon mile of rubble and ruins. Around the outskirts of Hiroshima a chain of ruined buildings still stand, and from the top of what was formerly a huge “skyscraper” he looked across nearly six miles of absolute desolation. Near where the bomb fell, and for a big area around, the ground is covered with surprisingly small symmetrical boulders and stones parts of the terrain looking like a half-finished roadway covered with fairly large stones. Here and there a chain of ruins stand; evidence of the freakish nature of the blast which left houses upright for no apparent reason, while others disappeared as if by magic. The bomb dropped at 8.30 a.m. when the city’s streets were crowded. According to a Japanese interpreter about two-thirds of the population of 200,000 was wiped out. He spoke to many victims of the explosion and one man who was near the scene told him that he had closed the door of his house on the city and a few minutes afterwards he saw a flash light up the room and part of the house collapsed. He looked out across a city that seemed to crumple and vanish before his eyes. Many people were rendered powerless by the mysterious gaseous emanation from the bomb, and he was told that it was true that many died a week afterwards from the effects of this “gas.” Mr. Cox saw people wearing masks over their mouths as a protection, and was told that an area near the bomb crater was fatal to human life for a fortnight after the fall of the bomb.

A Leinster Leader article from a Kildare eyewitness to the destruction of Hiroshima in 1945 after the dropping of an atomic bomb on the Japanese city.

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