US airman’s remarkable WW2 photos show crew of Hiroshima bomber

US airman’s remarkable WW2 photos show crew of the Enola Gay B-29 bomber receiving a heroes’ welcome after dropping a devastating atomic bomb on Hiroshima

  • The 12 man crew were stationed on Titian, an island close to Guam in the Pacific Ocean, during World War 2
  • Pilot Colonel Paul Tibbets was awarded an immediate decoration by a general as he stepped off the Enola Gay 
  • The bombing killed over 140,000 people and caused rates of cancer to rocket between 1945 and 2000 
  • 80,000 people, 30 per cent of Hiroshima in 1945, were killed by the blast itself and many died from radiation

Never-before-seen photos of the aircraft crew that dropped the world’s first atomic bomb receiving a heroes’ welcome upon returning from the historic mission have come to light.

The black and white images show the 12 airmen posing for photos moments after the B-29 bomber ‘Enola Gay’ arrived back at base in the wake of the devastating attack on Hiroshima in Japan.

One photo is of pilot Colonel Paul Tibbets being given an immediate gallantry decoration by a general after stepping off the aircraft.

General Spatz (left) awards Col. Tibbets (right) on his return from dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. He was given an immediate gallantry decoration after stepping from the Enola Gay aircraft on the 6 August 1945. The dropping of the bomb forced the Japanese army into submission and is considered the major event in the US defeat over the Japanese in WW2

Col. Tibbets is pictured in the Enola Gay before setting off to drop the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima. When he returned home after the mission, Tibbets became a celebrity and national hero. He was considered the man who ended the war with Japan.

The flight crew of the Enola Gay before setting off to drop the Atomic Bomb. The 9,000lb uranium-235 bomb exploded 1,900 feet above ground, killing between 60,000 and 80,000 people instantly. The heat caused some to vanish immediately

There is also an image of him taken 12 hours earlier waving out of the cockpit window as the ‘Enola Gay’ took off at 2am on August 6, 1945.

The bombing killed over 140,000 people and brought forward the end of World World Two.

The album, containing 88 images, was collated by a US airman serving on the base on Titian island in the Pacific Ocean during World War Two.

Enola Gay coming to land after dropping the first Atomic Bomb. German auctioneer, Andreas Thies, a German Auctioneer, has put the collection of photographs, owned by a French collector, on sale and they expect to reach £3,000 

Russell R. Carlson and Sam San Fratello at Tinian, Marianas. The blast destroyed major buildings and more than 90 per cent of the city’s doctors and nurses were killed in the blast, leaving few people to help the injured

Military personel at Tinian, Marianas. The black and white images show the 12 airmen posing for photos moments after the B-29 bomber ‘Enola Gay’ arrived back at base in the wake of the devastating attack on Hiroshima in Japan

It has now emerged for sale from a French collector with German auctioneer Andreas Thies who expect it to fetch £3,000.

An auction house spokesperson said: ‘The album was definitely put together by an American serviceman who was stationed on the island during the war.

‘These are historically important raw and unseen images of one the most important historical events in military history.’

Other images in the album include aerial shots of the Japanese mainland, including one of the Emperor’s Palace in Tokyo.

An aerial view of Japan shows the Emperor’s Palace located in the foreground on the left end of the picture. This photo was taken during a previous mission to the one that destroyed the city of Hiroshima when US forces dropped the atomic bomb, code-named ‘Little Boy,’ on the city 

The B-29 on a runway at Tinian, Marianas. The blast flattened more than six square miles (10 square km) of the city, with fires burning for three days, leaving thousands of survivors burnt and homeless.

The flight crew just after the return of the Enola Gay. As seen in the picture’s caption, the bomb drop was referred to as  a ‘history making flight’

The flight crew just after the return of the Enola Gay. Three days after Hiroshima was flattened, a second US atomic bomb killed 70,000 people in Nagasaki. Japan surrendered six days after that, ending the Second World War

Ten years after the ‘Little Boy’ was dropped on Japan, the longer-term effects of the bombs were being noticed, including a rise in leukaemia

There are also photos of the men of the 313th Bombardment wing relaxing on the beach away from the horrors of their mission.

After the war, the Enola Gay returned to the US where it was operated from Roswell Army Air Field in New Mexico.

It was subsequently transferred to the Smithsomian Institution’s storage facility at Suitland, Maryland, in 1961.

About 80,000 people, around 30 per cent of the population of Hiroshima at the time, were killed by the blast and resultant firestorm, with tens of thousands more perishing from the effects of the radiation in the months that followed.

The sale takes place on September 28.

The cancer caused by the radiation targetted children, with cases appearing two years after the bomb and peaking four to six years later

Return of the B-29 from a Bombing Mission on July 4th 1945

The B-29 bomber can be seen loading in preparation for the Hiroshima mission. Research estimates 46 per cent of leukaemia deaths at the bomb sites from 1950 to 2000 were due to radiation from the bombs, with 1,900 cancer deaths linked to the atomic bomb, in total

WHAT HAPPENED IN THE BOMBING OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI?

The first atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 by an American B-29 bomber dubbed the Enola Gay.

The mushroom cloud over Nagasaki, Japan is shown

The 9,000lb uranium-235 bomb exploded 1,900 feet (580 metres) above the ground, killing between 60,000 and 80,000 people instantly, some vanishing instantly from the heat of the vast explosion.

Others died as fire ripped through the city and some 135,000 people in total are thought to have perished from radiation sickness.

The blast flattened more than six square miles (10 square km) of the city, with fires burning for three days, leaving thousands of survivors burnt and homeless.

With major buildings like hospitals destroyed and more than 90 per cent of the city’s doctors and nurses killed in the blast, there was little help available to the injured.

The first atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 by an American B-29 bomber dubbed the Enola Gay. Three days later, a second US atomic bomb killed 70,000 people in Nagasaki

Three days later, a second US atomic bomb killed 70,000 people in Nagasaki.

Japan surrendered six days after that, ending the Second World War.

Ten years later, the longer-term effects of the bombs were being noticed, including a rise in leukaemia – a blood cancer not included in the study.

The cancer was said to disproportionately affect children, with cases appearing two years after the bomb and peaking four to six years later, The IBT reported.

The Radiation Effects Research Foundation estimates 46 per cent of leukaemia deaths at the bomb sites from 1950 to 2000 were due to radiation from the bombs, with 1,900 cancer deaths linked to the atomic bomb, in total. 

 

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