The Enola Gay flew the very first mission targeting a city – Hiroshima – with an atomic bomb. A flight log for the Enola Gay on its journey to Hiroshima was kept by the co-pilot Robert A Lewis. The following are extracts from it.
Lewis kept the log as he knew that the mission would be eventful but was not fully aware why it would be as he knew little about the bomb’s explosive power. He knew it was different as did the rest of the crew but they were pilots and bombers not scientists.
|“Everyone will be relieved when we have left our bomb and get half way home, or better still all the way home.”“At 07.30 a.m. we are loaded, the bomb is now alive and it’s a funny feeling knowing it’s right in back of you.”
“The Colonel and I are standing back and are giving the boys what they want. There’ll be a short intermission while we bomb our target.”
“For the next minute no one knew what to expect. The bombardier and the pilot forgot to put on their dark glasses and therefore witnessed the flash which was terrific.”
“Fifteen seconds after the flash there were two very distinct slaps and that was all the physical effects we felt. We turned the ship so we could observe results and there in front of our eyes was without a doubt the greatest explosion man had ever witnessed. The city was 9/10 covered with smoke and a column of white cloud, which in less than three minutes reached 30,000 feet and then went up to 50,000 feet. I honestly have the feeling of groping for words to explain this or I might say, my God, what have we done? Everyone on the ship is actually dumbstruck, even though we had expected something fierce.”
Facts about the flight:
The Enola Gay left Tinian at 02.45 a.m.
The bomb – Little Boy – was dropped at 08.15 a.m.
Little Boy detonated at 08.16.02 a.m.
At 08.16.17 a.m., the Enola Gay was hit by the first of two shock waves from the bomb.
The bomb aimer was Major Tom Ferebee.