Cheshire homes were established by Gp Captain Leonard Cheshire


Cheshire homes were established by  Gp  Captain Leonard Cheshire after devastation caused by Nagasaki on 9th August 1945 by the plutonium bomb, which  stirred the souls  of mankind and Brig. K.G. Behl (Retd.) Vice-Chairman, Cheshire Homes India, Dehradun As the  Atomic bomb dropped by Americans on Hiroshima on 6th August, 1945 which killed about 78,150 people and injured an equal numbers out of the total population of 3.5 lacs living in the city was not sufficient to make Japan surrender the Americans  dropped another device of plutonium bomb on Nagasaki on 9th August,  which again killed 38,000 residents and injured and terrorized an equal number. The devastation caused  forced Japanese to surrender  unconditionally and brought an end to World War – II. On this shocking incident, the whole world was touched  and people prayed for peace. The stories of devastation which took place in Japan spread all over the world, as it was treated by people as crime against the humanity. It had a telling effect on India who was fighting its war of Independence peacefully under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi where it stirred the conscience of the human beings. A person who got touched most by the disaster created by this shelling was none other than Gp. Capt. Leonard Cheshire, of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) who, flew along in the plane for recce    which dropped the atomic bomb, in the role of an observer as a representative of the then British Prime Minister Mr. Clement Atlee In this mission of Atomic bombing. Devastation caused by the Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki on 9th August, not only shook the whole world but touched the soul of one of the bombers who was detailed for the purpose – Gp. Capt. Leonard Cheshire, of the British Royal Air Force, founder of Cheshire Homes Cheshire who was 25 yrs. young at that time, was the youngest Gp. Captain in the RAF, who joined RAF in 1940 when British were fighting for its survival in World War-II. He voluntarily dropped his higher rank to command, the illustrious and renowned 617 Bombers Squadron as a Wing Commander. It was a job of great courage which won him many laurels in different fields, where they carried out very difficult jobs assigned to the Squadron. After Nagasaki incident, Lord Cheshire was deeply moved and was touched by the inhuman treatment meted to the people. He returned home
and resigned from RAF and collected a band of fellow ex-servicemen to form a community group named “Vade in Pacem” i.e. may you walk in peace and functioned from his house in the country where he lived.  In order to provide succor to the suffering humanity and to rationalize himself of the involvement in such a heinous crime, though externally. He laid the foundation  of Cheshire homes, world over and established one personally at  Dehradun in August, 1956 for the care and upkeep of physically and mentally handicapped persons. He came to India in 1955 which proved to be the gateway through which the concept of Cheshire Homes followed to other countries. He started the Cheshire Home at Dehradun in August, 1956  with 1 person at the present Govind Bhawan where it is still running with the blessings of Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister. Here he lived alone for first two crucial years where he did all the chores himself to look after and rehabilitate the disabled, handicapped and incurable man, women and children all caste, creed, colours and religion.
Today there are more than 300 Cheshire Homes in 55 countries of the world out of which about 30 are in India and  out of those Dehradun Cheshire Home, is one of the best administered. Presently there are 46 inmates who are looked after well from all angles in home alone. Lord Cheshire was so humble in nature that no work was below dignity for him and the same spirit he passed on in all people who voluntarily came forward to help disabled people. Such was the impact of  dropping of Atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki which stirred the souls of people all over the world. Its no wonder that people remember this day and pay their tributes to the people who lost there lives in this inhuman way. We pray for peace in the World. We pay our tribute to Lord Cheshire for his noble cause which he started in memory of those who got crippled in the bombing and needed help and care. We must contribute to this cause as much as possible and in whatever way we can. We remember  Lord Cheshire as  “A Hero in War, A Hero in Peace”.

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