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Log of Hiroshima bombing sold

Log of Hiroshima bombing sold


Staff and wires

NEW YORK, USA -- A document that contains the chilling account of the bombing of Hiroshima has been sold in an auction in New York.

The logbook of U.S, Army Air Corps Captain Robert Lewis, co-pilot of the Enola Gay plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, was sold for $350,000 on Wednesday.

The book was just one of the items sold during a sale of 201 American historical documents from the collection of late financial publisher Malcolm Forbes.

"It is a uniquely important document," dealer Seth Kaller told Reuters news agency in describing the Enola Gay log. "It's one of the greatest moments, but one of the most terrible, of the century.

"It's a terribly sad record. I think that affects the desire to own it."

The auction yielded more than $20 million and saw record prices for items from 14 different presidents, Chris Coover of Christie's book and manuscripts department told Reuters News agency.

Some of the items include an autographed manuscript of Abraham Lincoln's last speech, delivered from the window of the White House three days before his assassination in 1865.

That document was sold for $3,086,000, considered the highest sum ever paid for a U.S. historical document.

Another item that went under the hammer was Albert Einstein's letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, warning him of the potential of constructing extremely powerful bombs and led to the development of the atomic bomb.

It was sold for $2.10 million, a record price for a letter.

Chilling account

Lewis's minute-by-minute account of the 'Little Boy' mission written in pen and pencil during the flight was full of details of the bombing run aimed at bringing a fast end to the Second World War.

"My God what have we done?" Lewis wrote after the 9,000-pound (4,090-kg) bomb, dubbed "Little Boy," was dropped over Hiroshima.

It is believed that more than 140,000 people died by the end of the year as a result of the bomb.

The total number of people who died due to the bomb has been estimated at 200,000.

Lewis wrote they felt two very distinct slaps (air turbulence) after the flash.

They then turned the ship so they could observe results, and there they witnessed the greatest explosion man has ever witnessed.

"The city was nine-tenths covered with smoke ... and a column of white cloud, which in less than 3 minutes, reached 30,000 feet (9,100 meters) and then went up to 50,000 (15,150 meters)..."

Lewis continued: "I am certain the entire crew felt this experience was more than anyone human had ever thought possible."

"It just seems impossible to comprehend. Just how many did we kill? I honestly have the feeling of groping for words to explain this or I might say My God what have we done."

"If I live a hundred years I'll never quite get those few minutes out of my mind."

He added that the massive cloud left by the blast was still visible "even after an hour and a half, 400 miles (650 km) from the target."

The front page of the 11-page document has "Dear Mom and Dad," and at the end come the words, "Love to all/Bud."

Lewis apparently tried to conceal the book's contents for fear that it might be confiscated due to strict security over the mission.