Rare Hiroshima Photo Collection Displayed at Scotland’s Secret Bunker
Scotland’s Secret Bunker today unveiled a collection of extremely rare and haunting photographs that captured the immediate aftermath of the deadly Hiroshima nuclear attack, marking the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. It is the first time the collection, which captures the devastating effects of an atomic bomb, is understood to have ever been displayed in its entirety anywhere in the world.
The photographs emerged 10 years ago, thousands of miles from the devastation of Hiroshima, in a small Fife town when local man, John Ferns of Coaltown of Balgonie, revealed the incredibly rare photo collection that captures one of the most infamous acts of war in recent history. Mr Ferns’ late father, Clifford Fern, had stumbled across the undeveloped film of photographs after buying a second hand camera while serving in the RAF in Iwakuni, 15 miles outside Hiroshima, six months after the bombings in 1946.
It is believed the camera’s original owner had succumbed to the radiation after taking the photos, as nobody could have survived the radiation levels within the area of impact so soon after the bombing. The photos capture the utter devastation to the landscape and decimation of buildings, but also the ghostly and harrowing images of survivors of the initial blast.
At least 200,000 people were killed in total by the atomic bomb, including those killed instantly, and the many thousands who succumbed to radiation poisoning in the weeks, months and years that followed the attack.
The display will open this morning, exactly 70 years since the attack on Hiroshima, which took place at 8.15am on Thursday 6th August, 1945. There are copies of 11 images on display and the exhibition will also be showing the critically acclaimed and controversial film, The War Game (1965), commissioned by the BBC and directed by Peter Watkins, which depicts the fictional aftermath of a nuclear event.
The film was banned from being released by the BBC for over 20 years, though it did appear as a cinematic release which earned the film an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1966. It was eventually broadcast to the public on 31 July 1985, forty years after the Hiroshima bombing took place.
James Mitchell, Owner of Scotland’s Secret Bunker, commented:
“It is an immense privilege to display this rare and important collection of images at Scotland’s Secret Bunker. There are very few photographs of Hiroshima in the days after the bombing, so these images are as close as people can get to understanding the true nature and utter devastation of the nuclear attack. We hope that visitors will come here to observe, reflect and learn more about the events of 70 years ago.”