Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two flourishing cities of Japan, victims of nuclear bombing
The devastation caused by bombing at Hiroshima & Nagasaki touched the soul of one of the ace British bombers who had accompanied the American nuclear bombing operation as he resigned after the mission was over and started Cheshire Homes world over to help those who got crippled or became disabled
As is well known in the closing stages of the World War-II, to secure speedy surrender from Japan and establish America’s power, the allied forces dropped two atomic bombs on two flourishing cities of Japan on 6th & 9th August, 1945, devastating those completely. Probably they lost more people in the atomic bombing of these two cities than the whole World War. It was carried out fearing that Japanese may not surrender in spite of all the heavy bombing and as such it was decided by the Americans and their allies that atomic bombs be used to make them surrender.
On 6th August, 1945 at 8.16 am Americans dropped an Atomic Bomb of the intensity of 20,000 tons of TNT at the industrial city of Hiroshima which was totally devastated the town and killed about 78,150 people and injuring an equal number, out of their total population of 3.5 lacs living in the city. How gruesome this attack was can be well imagined from the destruction it caused all over. The whole world cried against the offense and worshipped for peace. As if it was not enough, the Americans dropped another device this time a plutonium bomb on 9th August at Nagasaki, which again killed about 38,000 persons and injured and terrorized an equal number. This forced Japan to surrender immediately, unconditionally and thus World War–II, came to an end thereafter.
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, later 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. He 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 of all caste, creed, colours and religion.
Today there are more than 300 Cheshire Homes in 55 countries of the world out of which about 32 are in India and out of those Dehradun Cheshire Home, is, as per visitors, one of the best administered. Presently there are 47 inmates who are looked after well from all angles in home alone. It is run purely on donations by the philanthropic people like you. It is managed by a committee of 14 Eminent members of the town coming from different walks of life, on honorary basis.
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.
Lord Cheshire was a person who was not only known for his distinguished service and highest awards as is remembered for the work he did for humanity, especially physically and mentally challenged, in establishing Cheshire Homes. He was more than a saint though an equally good soldier.