FLASHBACK 1945: The Atomic Plague – Hiroshima was hit and became a nightmare world!

WAS HE OR WASN’T HE: WAS PRESIDENT TRUMAN CORRECT WHEN HE DECIDED TO DROP AN ATOMIC BOMB ON HIROSHIMA AND LATER NAGASAKI?

It’s 72 years since Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett travelled to Japan to cover the “aftermath” of America exploding the Atomic bomb over Hiroshima. Of Burchett’s endeavour, an Australian journalist reported that “Over 90,000 people died … but no western scribe had witnessed the aftermath experience.” Burchett emerged from the train and stepped into a nightmare world. He sat down on some rocks with his baby Hermes typewriter and began his paragraph. Burchett’s story was published on September 5, 1945, in the Daily Express, London, and would become a worldwide sensation. This is what he wrote. – FM.

WILFRED BURCHETT

In Hiroshima, 30 days after the first atomic bomb destroyed the city and shook the world, people are still dying, mysteriously and horribly – people who were uninjured in the cataclysm – from an unknown something which I can only describe as the atomic plague.

Hiroshima does not look like a bombed city.  It looks as if a monster steamroller has passed over and squashed it out of existence.  I write these facts as dispassionately as I can in the hope that they will act as a warning to the world.

In this first testing ground of the atomic bomb I have seen the most terrible and frightening desolation in four years of war.

It makes a blitzed Pacific island seem like Eden.  The damage is far greater than photographs can show.

When you arrive in Hiroshima you can look around for 25 and perhaps 30 square miles (64.7-77.7 sq km) and can hardly see a building.  It gives you an empty feeling in the stomach to see such man-made destruction.

DOZENS OF GUTTED BUILDINGS

I picked my way to a shack used as a temporary police headquarters in the middle of the vanished city.  Looking south from there I could see about three miles (4.8 km) of reddish rubble.

That is all the atomic bomb left of dozens of blocks of city streets, of buildings, homes, factories and human beings.
There is nothing standing except about 20 factory chimneys- chimneys with no factories. A group of half-a-dozen gutted buildings. Then again nothing.

The police chief in Hiroshima welcomed me eagerly as the first Allied correspondent to reach the city.  With the local manager of Domei, the leading Japanese newsagency, he drove me through, or perhaps I should say over, the city. And he took me to hospitals where the victims of the bomb are still being treated.

In these hospitals I found people who when the bomb fell suffered absolutely no injuries, but now are dying from the uncanny after-effects.  For no apparent reason their health began to fail.

They lost appetite.  Their hair fell out.  Bluish spots appeared on their bodies.

And then bleeding began from the ears, nose and mouth.

At first, the doctors told me, they thought these were the symptoms of general debility.  They gave their patients Vitamin A injections.

The results were horrible. The flesh started rotting away from the hole caused by the injection of the needle.
In every case the victim died.

In writing this story, I had “scooped” the Occupation press corps, a group of hand-picked American journalists flown directly from Washington who had been assured that they would be the first foreign journalists to enter Hiroshima.

A BOMB USED AGAINST HIROSHIMA

The most prestigious member of the United States journalist delegation was William L. Laurence. At the time of his Hiroshima visit, he was wearing two hats: one for the New York Times, the other as a member of the inner circle of the government’s nuclear weapons directorate.

He alone had access to the Manhattan Project’s supersecret plants and laboratories, and had been the sole journalist to observe the Alamogordo test of the prototype A-used against Hiroshima.

It had not been anticipated that a maverick reporter would have found the means to arrive at the dead city ahead of the (“official”) party.

Under these circumstances, it is no wonder that Lawrence in the New York Times and myself in the London Daily express wrote diametrically different reports.

I reported what I had seen and heard, while Lawrence sent back a prefabricated report reflecting the “official line”.

<< For a complete coverage read Shadows of Hiroshima by Wilfred Burchett, Verso Press, 1983.

Pictures: 72 years ago. On August 6, 1945, the world enters the Atomic Age when a single nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, killing 90,000 people and injuring thousands of others. Little Boy: World War II atomic bomb which was detonated over Hiroshima.


MAN’S GREAT LEAP: NEIL ARMSTRONG’S GHOSTLY FIGURE EMERGED FROM THE SPACECRAFT, HIS LEFT FOOT HOVERED ABOVE THE MOON SURFACE AS HE SPOKE THE WORDS FROM A WORLD AFAR. PICTURE FROM NASA.

FLASHBACK 1969: IT’S 52 YEARS SINCE MAN’S GREAT LEAP

FRANK MORRIS

On July 21, 1969, at 12.56 pm, American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to put his footprint on the moon.

That’s 52 years ago. Time waits for no man.

GREAT LEAP

Watched by more than 600 million people around the world, Armstrong’s ghostly figure emerged from the spacecraft.

Armstrong’s first words as he gingerly slithered his feet across the moon’s surface were: “That’s one step for man but a giant leap for mankind.”

Twenty minutes later he was joined by his space companion Buzz Aldrin.


FLASHBACK 1969: NEW ALBUM INSPIRED BY ARMSTRONG’S WALK ON THE MOON

FRANK MORRIS

Reg Lindsay has released a new album, which is bound to find its way into every record collection.

Lindsay’s My Life in Country Music contains most of his hits, including Armstrong, which was inspired by astronaut Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk in July, 1969.

Lindsay told me a few years ago he was “not afraid” to take a punt on a song. “I’ve never been afraid to experiment,” he said. “If an idea is worth a gamble, it may come off.”

BIGGEST RECORD

He took a gamble with Armstrong he said. “Armstrong was one of those times when I allowed myself to be talked into a particular song and style. I wasn’t convinced that I could do justice to the song, but it turned out to be one of the biggest-selling records I ever had.”

Over the past three decades, Lindsay has turned out more than 300 albums and, at the last count, some 200 singles.

(Reg Lindsay died on August 5, 2008. He was 79.)
<< This story plus other material dealing with the space program was syndicated.

<< Frank Morris’ Showline column, 1985(?).

Pictures: Armstrong. Lindsay was inspired by his moon walk.


THE WIFE OF REV JOHN FLYNN: MRS FLYNN, MARRIED TO AN OUTBACK HERO, SAID “INLANDERS ARE CHEERFUL SOULS; THEY NEVER COMPLAIN.”

FLASHBACK 1939: MRS FLYNN OF THE INLAND KNOWS THE OUTBACK LIKE THE BACK OF HER HAND

Wife of outback hero tells of life in the interior.

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

The Rev. John Flynn inaugurated the first Flying Doctor in Australia, with a base at Cloncurry, Queensland, in 1928. It was called the Inland Aerial Medical Service.

Flynn also installed the first wireless base there, and distributed the first few pedal wireless sets that made it possible for isolated settlers to call the doctor in times of emergency.

Today, Cloncurry is only one of six Flying Doctor bases scattered widely over the outback of Australia. Talking of the work in the interior on Australia, Mrs Flynn said, “The settlers in the inland must be prepared to endure years of isolation.”

She added: “I remember going with the wireless officer to install a pedal set on a station 80 (40km) miles south-east of Croydon in the Gulf Country. The woman of the house and the governess had not seen another white woman for two years.

“At another station in the Gulf Country we were welcomed by a charming girl who had been to school in Sydney. She was the only white woman for 60 (30 km) miles. Soon after this girl came north to look after her father and brother; her brother had taken ill.

Inlander meets the dreaded perils

“The father had to set out by car to take him to the doctor at Camooweal, 200 (100km) miles distant. When he reached Camooweal the doctor was away, so he had to go 150 miles further on to Mt Isa. There the boy was operated on for appendicitis.

“But his father could barely wait to see him out of the anaesthetic before making a rush for home.

“The rains were due. They begin in December in that country and go till March. Once they started he would never reach home. And his daughter, fresh from the city, would be left alone with the natives for three months.

“He got as far as the last river before the floods began. He had to leave the car there, swim the river and walk the last 8 (16km) miles home. There was no way of getting news of his son.

“So after six weeks of anxiety, he saddled up a horse and set out to cover the 90 (45km) miles to the nearest telegraph station at Burketown, only to find that the telegraph had been down for five weeks and could not be fixed till the rains ceased.

“As it happens the boy was all right.

“The Inlanders are cheerful souls. They never complained.

<< Adapted from Mrs Flynn of the Inland; Australian Women’s Weekly, October 21. 1939.

In December: Some more words of wisdom about outback Australia by Mrs Flynn, wife of the man who started the Inland Aerial Medical Service – which became the Royal Flying Doctor Service – the Rev. John Flynn, in 1928.

Frank Morris writes: In 1939, the famous Rev. John Flynn, was newly appointed Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church. The Australian Inland Mission owes “its inception to him … and the plan for its formation being adopted by the Presbyterian General Assembly.”

Pictures: Wanting a shave. In 1938, John and Mrs Flynn are busy at the campsite at Gilbert River. Iconic. Rev John Flynn in 1938 after he has been elected Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.


WHO’S COUNTING: COUNT TO TEN AND YOU BECOME A TENOR!

SMALL SCREEN SUCCESS: 1988 -- THE SECRET OF WICKETY WAK’S GOOD FORTUNE!

What is the secret of Wickety Wak’s success?

For the past 12 months, the MO award-winning Queensland show-group has played to more than 2 million people all over Australia – and they keep coming back for more.

“The secret of WW’s consistent success lies in their witty and impeccable stage presentation,” says the group’s manager, Paul Ewart. “Their whole aim is to keep people of all ages total entertained. And they do it with crazy send-ups, musical tributes and a host of knockout celebrity impersonations.”

WON PRESTIGE AWARD

The group has just completed a television special for the Seven Network, which was shot over 3 months on locations around Australia. The new program, Called Wak About Australia, features Australian music ranging from Waltzing Matilda to Air Supply’s Lost in Love.

And this group is just putting the finishing touches to another TV special, Wickety Wak Live at the Gold Coast, which looks set to be a “top-rater” for Channel Seven.

“It’s WW’s most ambitious project yet,” said Ewart.

So far the group has made seven television specials, one of which, Waks Works, has won the prestigious Penguin Award in 1984. – FRANK MORRIS.

<< Appeared in Frank Morris’ Showline column which went to various newspapers.                                                                                                                                                

Picture: Timeframe. Wickety Wak … still going.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 04 August 17

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