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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 November 2007, 16:54 GMT
In pictures: Paul Tibbets Jr

Paul Tibbets standing in front of Enola Gay, 1945

Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr, the man who commanded the first atomic bomb mission, is seen in front of Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima.

Tibbets (centre) with Enola Gay's crew before the August 1945 mission

Born in Quincy, Illinois, in 1915, Gen Tibbets (centre) was one of the pilots who tested the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the world's first atomic bomber.

Mushroom cloud from Hiroshima bomb, 6 August 1945

The bomb was dropped on Hiroshima early in the morning of 6 August 1945. The explosion and radioactive fallout killed tens of thousands.

Enola Gay lands after mission in Aug 1945

Enola Gay, named after Gen Tibbets's mother, lands on the Marianas after its mission. He said he knew it would be emotional but the crew had to put feelings to one side.

Gen Tibbets at a news conference after the mission

Gen Tibbets, here at a news conference in Guam after the flight, said his "one driving interest was to do the best job I could so that we could end the killing as quickly as possible".

Gen Tibbets in front of Enola Gay at National Air and Space Museum in 2003

Gen Tibbets retired from the forces in 1966, but would always be remembered for his role in the atomic mission.

Gen Tibbets at Cape May County Airport in Lower Township, New Jersey, in 2002

Gen Tibbets said in his later years: "If Dante (Italian author of the Inferno) had been with us on the plane, he would have been terrified."

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