Day the world changed forever
THE mushroom cloud that blew over the Japanese city of Hiroshima has remained the most enduring image of the world's first atomic attack.
The scale of the devastation following the bombing meant few photographs taken on the ground to document the event have ever surfaced.
But now, on the 60th anniversary of the event that shook the world, a family from Fife have produced haunting images taken just hours after the bomb struck.
The powerful photographs show bewildered inhabitants of the city making their way through the desolate landscape.
John Ferns' late father, Clifford, was serving in Iwakuni, 15 miles outside Hiroshima, when he bought a second-hand camera about six months after the devastating blast.
Inside was an undeveloped film with photos taken by a Japanese photographer who died of radiation sickness soon afterwards.
Clifford, an RAF officer, stored 11 of the photographs in an album recording the time he spent serving overseas.
One of the most disturbing images shows charred bodies scattered by the blast.
Mr Ferns, 60, of Coaltown of Balgonie, has owned the album since his father died in 1992.
He said: "The photos were taken just a few hours after the bomb was dropped by a chap who died of radiation sickness.
"I think there were more, but my father thought they were too horrific and he put them away somewhere, and they have never been found since.
"Three weeks after my father bought the camera, the shop where he got it burnt down, so these pictures have survived two disasters."
Mr Ferns, who owns a carpet shop in Cupar, is making the photos public on the anniversary of the disaster to highlight the horrors that they depict.
He added: "My dad was not one for speaking about the war, but these photos that he brought back are a very powerful reminder of what happened there.
"I didn't know what he had been through in Japan until after I saw his album.
"I think there were many men like my father who served their country for so many years but never really spoke about what they saw.
"But I would like other people to see these photographs because they are quite unique.
"I'm sure there weren't many pictures taken so soon after it had happened. It took quite an unusual turn of events for them to end up in Scotland."
The photographs have emerged as the world prepares to mark the 60th anniversary of the bombing tomorrow.
Tens of thousands of people will be packed into Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park. Wreaths will be laid and 1,000 doves set free. Temple bells will ring.
Estimates vary, but about 140,000 people are believed to have died when the B-29 bomber named Enola Gay dropped its atomic bomb, turning Hiroshima from a typical provincial city into a scene of destruction like nothing seen before.
Another plane, Bock's Car, bombed Nagasaki, on the southern Japan island of Kyushu, three days later, killing at least 80,000. Six days later, on August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered.
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