At 8:15 am on 6 August 1945, Hiroshima became the first city to be devastated by an atomic bomb, dropped by the USAF B-29 bomber ‘Enola Gay’. Three days later, another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. On 15 August 1945, Japan announced its surrender.
Participation in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) marked the first time that Australians were involved in the military occupation of a sovereign nation that it had defeated in war. At the peak of its involvement, the Australian component of BCOF was responsible for over 20 million Japanese citizens and 57,000 square kilometres of the country.
Many Australians serving with BCOF visited Hiroshima: some were stunned by the ruined city. Some collected mementoes: reminders of how the daily life of Hiroshima’s people was interrupted by the searing heat of the blast.
On loan courtesy of the Australian War Memorial (REL27786.001, RELAWM34346, RELAWM3438.006)
Reviewed 28 October 2021