Powerful words

Click to follow
The Independent Online

It is a slightly ghoulish artefact, the log book of the Enola Gay, the most famous bomber plane in the world. Yet the words contained in it, the only first-hand account of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, are compelling. Captain Robert Lewis recorded:

"I am certain the entire crew felt this experience was more than anyone human had ever thought possible. Just how many did we kill? I honestly have the feeling of groping for words to explain this or to say 'my God, what have we done?' If I live a hundred years I'll never quite get those words out of my mind."

Now the 11-page log book is to be auctioned at Christie's in New York tomorrow, and is expected to raise up to £215,000. Whatever money it does realise, and however terrifying the events it describes, its symbolic importance and its significance in the history of mankind cannot be understated. It is something that surely must be kept in the public domain, preferably as part of an exhibit that reminds us of the power of that original version of what we now call weapons of mass destruction.

Now more than ever we should remember the words written on board the Enola Gay.