A Personal Record of Hiroshima A-bomb Survival(No.1) re-post

Takeharu Terao 91/08/03 13:32

I want to erase this unpleasant, disgusting memory from my brain. The 6th August comes again this year as usual. I know this is the last chance for me to record ,in three parts, what I have experienced.

On the fateful day of 6 August, 1945, I was a 3rd year student of Science Department, Hiroshima Teacher's College. (now Hiroshima University Teacher's Course for Mathematics). About the middle days of my first year, we often heard that the war condition was getting worse and the war front expanded limitlessly. Almost all students were drafted to the army. But we were still in the college because we were Teacher candidates in the future. But the situation changed gradually. Students of the humanities were also drafted, only the students of the natural sciences like us were allowed to remain.

The war continued to worsen. We were at last mobilized in April as workers at the Mitsubishi shipyard in Eba town of Hiroshima city. The shipyard built ten thousand-ton class troop transports vessels. The first task assigned to me was electric welding of steel plates by wearing bulky work suits made of hard cloth containing lead. But after a while I was transferred to a trainer's position for students from Shudo middle school and Hiroshima Commerce high school. Our quarters was an inn called Kinsuikan located in Miyajima, a famous scenic site. We commuted to the shipyard by boat. It took about an hour to go. We were always exposed to the dangers of air raid by American fighter planes from US aircraft carriers and contact with mines. We had prepared pieces of wooden board on the boat for substitutes of life jackets. Two hours spent on commuting were precious for resting and reading books. On food, we were always hungry. Rice mixed with ground soybeans, or Eba dumpling made from ground wheat and mugwort grass were the best feast for us.

The 6th of August

We departed from Miyajima port and arrived at the shipyard of Eba a few minutes to eight o'clock as usual. It was hot and the sky was clear without any peace of clouds. Just before eight, an air raid siren sounded. We took a cover while complaining, because we were already accustomed to the siren. Soon the warning was canceled. The morning meeting was held as usual, and a roll call of the junior high school students was conducted as well. I went up to the second floor for desk work. I was checking the student attendance while directing my back was facing to the hypocenter. Suddenly, a bluish white light flashed like an electric welding spark, gas welding torch, or magnesium burning at a time. The world went white.

I instinctively thought that this was a big accident of the gas supply company in Kannon-district or in the transformer substation in Misasa. I rushed to the window widely open to the outside for ventilation. I saw the direction of the possible accident. I witnessed a yellowish scarlet plume rising like a candle fire high in the sky surrounded by pitch black swirling smoke. (As I had no idea of an A-bomb at that time, I never imagined that a mushroom cloud was about to rise). At the same moment, from apart, houses levitated a little and then crushed down to the ground like domino pieces. It was just like a white wave head coming toward me while standing on the beach. The wave steadily approached(This was later called blast shock wave). I felt terrible for the first time. I had to do something, the second floor I stayed would have soon crushed down. My friend near by Mr. Soma or Mr. Yoshikawa shouted something. I dashed under the desk and held my breath awaiting something to come. It was just a few seconds that I saw the flash and got beneath the desk.


Photo by US Army
A huge atomic cloud 6 August, 1945 A uranium bomb, the first nuclear weapon in the world, was dropped in Hiroshima City.
It was estimated that its energy was equivalent to 15 kilotons of TNT.
Aerial photograph from 80 kilometers away of the Inland Sea, taken about one hour.

Āóresponse Masato Kuboki 91/08/03 20:51

mast.jpg No words.

I didn't know that Mr.Terao had such an experience.

How shall I express my fear.....

I just wait holding my breath.

Āóresponse Yoshio Sasaki 91/08/03 21:21

Really a great live report!
I felt I saw the shock waves of the blast through the window of my room.

I appreciate your efforts to post your precious experience.
I am now in a very complicated state.

Āóresponse Masashi Miyase 91/08/04 10:36

I have been expecting Mr.Terao would some day talk about the theme.
I understand your pain to reveal it, but please tell us who don't know the war.

Āóresponse Masako Uratsuka 91/08/04 14:18

uratuka3.jpgYou have finally spoken out.
Last fall on the way back from a meeting of "*Money making room" held at Kunisaki, you talked me you had experienced A-bomb. I still regret I did not have the courage to ask you more on the moment of the flash and the hell on earth that was carved in your memory.

I understand it is a memory that by no means can be erased and kept deep in your mind for the lifetime.
But it should be handed down to the next generation.

Please, please continue to talk.

* An E-conference in COARA