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It ( Nagasaki ) Was Flattened

Heroes Remember

It ( Nagasaki ) Was Flattened

I never told you about the Atom bomb. We were down in the mine working and when it came time to stop and eat, we had these little tin cans about that big and about that high with our rice in it. The buntai jo’s, the foremen, they had the same thing they had from their own personal... But they used to sit up above us when we were on a slope, and I always used to sit close to them to hear the news. So one day, I hear tell about a bomb that killed tens of thousands of people in Hiroshima. So after lunch was over, “What did they say, what did they say?” So I told my brother, “Just a minute." I said, “Al, could it be possible there is a bomb powerful enough to kill tens of thousands of people?” Al said, “They split the atom!” I said, “What are you talking about?” “Don’t you remember in school,” he said, “they told us about the power of the atom, splitting the atom.” Pious Powers, one of our teachers had talked about it, physics teacher. I said, “Yeah.” Well, he says, “That’s it.” And sure enough, that’s what it was. And then later, two days later, the one in Nagasaki Nagasaki was only about 30 miles from where we were in prison camp there, wasn’t far away. We didn’t hear the noise and we didn’t see the mushroom cloud but we did see big bank clouds, that’d be later in the morning, yeah about eleven o’clock, I guess, midday. We saw this huge cloud. We didn’t realize it was the after affects of an atom bomb. It was flattened and it was in a bowl. Nagasaki’s in a bowl, like, mountains all around and then the outlet to the sea and except on the side hills and quite far from the centre there, where we were, I call it the centre where we were, most of the houses were, there weren’t any houses. There was some buildings still standing but just barely, no roofs there and that was only some, very few. Oh yeah, terrible sight, terrible sight. And then everybody was telling us about the dangers of radiation and that, about the half life of the radiation, that sort of thing

Mr. Jessop describes seeing the massive cloud over Nagasaki after the A-bomb attack, and witnessing first hand the city’s devastation.

James Robert Jessop

James Robert Jessop was born in Edmunston, New Brunswick, in 1921. He and his twin brother were the eldest sons among nine children. His father worked full-time as a mechanic at the local pulp mill. Mr. Jessop recalls having had good teachers in school, where he also played hockey and rugby. He eventually worked at Fraser’s Mill for twenty-four cents an hour, but enlisted in 1940 for the prospect of better wages. He applied for and was accepted into the Royal Canadian Air Force, but switched to the Royal Rifles to be with his brother. Before leaving for Hong Kong, Mr. Jessop trained and served in several places in Newfoundland. Mr. Jessop’s experiences in the Hong Kong campaign were typical; forced to surrender and work as slave labor in both Sham Shui Po and Omine, malnourished, ravaged by disease and subjected to abuse at the hands of his captors. He also witnessed first hand the devastation of Nagasaki. Mr. Jessop’s service ends with a touching family reunion and a heartfelt sense of loss for his fallen friends.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
James Robert Jessop
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Hong Kong
Royal Rifles of Canada

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