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I saw This Plane Pass in the Sky

Heroes Remember

I saw This Plane Pass in the Sky

I had got my foot crushed in the mine and they had made me work on the surface and my foot was swollen that big. And they would, I would crawl out to this place and unload carts. And I was working with a Korean and this Korean told me, he said, “Hiroshima," he said, "(inaudible), one B,” he told me that in Japanese, “one B-29 has bombed the city of Hiroshima and," he said, "killed everybody.” But I didn’t believe him, you know, I figured, he was... But this day I was working on the surface, maybe about three days after. And it was a beautiful day and I was working on the surface with this Korean and I seen this plane pass in the sky. It passed way over, well it seemed to be far off but I could see him, you know, shining in the sun. No Japanese plane went up to intercept or to try to shoot him down, but I know it was an American plane by the sound of the motors. You could tell, I could tell, the motors of the Japanese and everything because they’d fly over our camp when they were going suicide, to bomb, not Hiroshima, to bomb those islands there that the Americans took. But anyway, maybe half an hour after I seen this ungodly smoke coming up and it went up, and it went up, and it went up and a beautiful sky, you know. So I said to myself, I said, they must’ve hit an oil dump. But this Japanese told me, he said, he said, “Nagasaki," he said, "that’s the city of Nagasaki.” Then they had a train come in and get us and bring us to Nagasaki. And that’s where, Nagasaki, I seen where the, I had seen the atomic bomb exploding and then I seen the damage it had done, because I had landed in Nagasaki and walked through all the city of Nagasaki when I landed in Japan on my way to the coal mine, so there’s where I seen the damage. But before I arrived where the, about a half a mile or maybe a mile, you could see all the concussion, the houses was all crushed, you know. Oh, it was something else. But then in the city itself, it was all destroyed. Yeah.

Mr. Murphy describes events on the day the A-bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, and seeing the human and physical damage when the war ended.

Leo Murphy

Leo Murphy was born September 3, 1919 in New Richmond, Quebec, where he grew up and completed his elementary education by 1931. He was one of nine children. Before enlistment he was a day labourer working in a sawmill, construction, excavation, farming, and a lumber camp. Mr. Murphy enlisted with the Royal Rifles on Nov 25, 1940, and took his basic training in Newfoundland and Val Cartier, Quebec. He was overseas for four years, spending all but the first three months as a POW in Hong Kong and Japan. The emotional impact of the Hong Kong deployment started early for Mr. Murphy, when on the same day his brother was killed beside him and he took the life of a Japanese soldier. During his captivity, he suffered from beri-beri, dysentry, pellagra, had his foot crushed in a mining accident, and developed liver problems. At the time of his liberation, he was a mining coal in Omini, Japan, as a slave labourer. Mr. Murphy arrived back in Canada in October, 1945 and was discharged February 5, 1946. From 1947 to 1960, he was employed as a brakeman with the Canadian National Railroad. Mr. Murphy was married on Sept 1, 1947, to Yvette Savoie. He died March 26, 2001.

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

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