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Last Updated: Friday, 5 August 2005, 09:01 GMT 10:01 UK
Surviving Hiroshima: Yutaka Nakagawa
Yutaka Nakagawa
Mr Yutaka was conscripted at 19 and fought in Indonesia
Private Yutaka Nakagawa was a 20-year-old soldier and veteran of the Indonesia campaign, stationed in Hiroshima when the bomb fell on 6 August 1945.

I was in the barracks on the night of the 5 August. There was a warning of an air-raid. But I was in bed. A B29 was flying over the city and dropped hundreds of leaflets.

The leaflets said Japan would be defeated. The officers said don't touch the leaflets - they could be poisoned. Our officers collected them up so we didn't read them.
When the bomb fell - I was asleep. But when I awoke I saw the aftermath - some of my fellow soldiers were horribly burned
Yutaka Nakagawa

On the night of the 5 August there were warnings of air raids so I had to take our unit's communications equipment to a bunker 2km from our barracks.

All through the night I was moving this equipment so in the morning I was allowed to rest. When the bomb fell I was asleep. But when I awoke I saw the aftermath - some of my fellow soldiers were horribly burned.

In the city, the citizens of Hiroshima were trying to reach the Ota river to drink water. The banks of the rivers were covered with dead bodies.

Cries for water

Some time later I returned to the barracks. Inside the barracks were civilian victims, lying on the ground.

When I approached they cried out for water but our officers said: 'Don't give them water - if you do that they'll die immediately'.

But there was a pond inside the barracks - water reserved for fire-fighting - I saw black, burned bodies in the water - it was like a nightmare.

Even now I cannot believe the things that I saw. There are lots of memorials in Hiroshima - like the atomic bomb dome - but for me the most vivid image of the atomic bomb is the memory of those burned bodies.

This interview is from the series 'August 1945', from 3-14 August on BBC Radio 4, at 8.55 BST Mondays-Saturday, and at 9.55 BST on Sunday.


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