Eastbourne teacher meets atomic bomb survivor

Takashi Teramoto with Cavendish School teacher Mark Sidley
Takashi Teramoto with Cavendish School teacher Mark Sidley

A schoolteacher from Eastbourne spent his summer holidays in Japan meeting a Hiroshima survivor in Japan at the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing.

Mark Sidley also presented 80-year-old survivor Takashi Teramoto with a collage of paintings by six of his students and a link has been created between Cavendish and the Honowa Elementary School, which was at the hypocentre of the atomic explosion on August 6 1945 and rebuilt.

Mr Sidley was inspired to take the trip after reading accounts of the bombing on August 6 1945 and contacted the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum to meet a living survivor of the bomb.

With the help of an interpreter he met Mr Teramoto who told him he was writing a letter to his friends when the American B29 bomber Enola Gay released its uranium bomb at approximately 8.15am, detonating for maximum effect at a height of 600 metres above the city.

Mr Sidley said, “Takashi recalled a tremendous flash of light as he sat at his desk and then he lost consciousness. Recovering consciousness a little later, he found total darkness.

“The whole house had collapsed but he was not trapped, yet there was an indescribably strange smell. Protected by being indoors, he had not been burned but flying glass and debris had cut his face.

“A lady who lived near him carried him on her back out to the suburbs through the black radioactive rain. She told him to put some metal sheeting over his head to shelter him. Mr Teramoto did not say as much but I hazard a guess the sheeting saved his life.

“Towards the end of August, he woke up to find that much of his hair had come out and was lying flat on his pillow, his entire body ached and he felt ill.

“For days, his health deteriorated, more hair was lost and he remained in bed semi-conscious and there were fears that he would die but after some months he began to recover. Mr Teramoto’s father, brother and sister were all outside Hiroshima when the bomb had detonated but his mother died. The woman who had carried him to safety had also died.”

Mr Sidley said he was pleased the two schools now had a link and students will produce images of peace as gifts for each other.

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