A letter home from Hiroshima, 75 years ago

Thursday, November 12, 2020
A letter home from Hiroshima, 75 years ago

John Ridgeway (left) wrote home to his parents almost exactly 75 years ago this week. He was a 19-year-old young man from Windham whose service took him to Hiroshima after the atomic bomb had dropped a few months earlier. Photo courtesy of Mike Ridgeway

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The original, hand-written letter by John Ridgeway has been preserved all these years by his son Mike Ridgeway


Nov. 13, 1945

7:30 p.m.


Dear Mom and Dad,

Well I guess I’d better write while I have time. It’s about 7:30 p.m., and I’m about to hit my sack.

We are still here at Hiroshima. We are tied up to a repair ship now having our engines repaired. I don’t know how much longer we will be in here, not very long I hope.

I’ve been over in the middle of where the atomic bomb hit. You ride for two hours in a boat and then get in a truck and ride for another hour till you come to where the bomb was dropped. You could never imagine one bomb could do so much damage. Everything is leveled off even as far as you can see in all ways. After you drive further out from the center the telephone poles that are standing lean outward from the place where the bomb was dropped, and so do the houses. Everything looks like a big junkyard.

A couple of large brick and concrete buildings are still standing. Some Japs are still dying from the radonic rays of the bomb when it was dropped. In the harbor there are a lot of Japanese ships sunk, up on the beach and onshore. Some cruisers and battlewagons have part of the decks above water and are sitting on the bottom close to the beach. One large battlewagon is setting clear up on the beach on its side. It’s sure a monster. Boy the Japs really were beaten. No wonder they didn’t have any navy left.

How is everything coming along at home? Just fine I hope. It's sure is swell that you got the water tot he house. Boy I won’t know the place when I get back home. Don’t know when that will be, probably not too far away, anyway I hope not. Windham beat Hobson by a pretty good score didn’t they? Have they won any basketball games yet? Be sure and let me know how they come how they come out. Tell Dunc hello. I sure would like to see Jim and Charley now.

No I haven’t received any of the film yet. Maybe it was lost in Okinawa in the Typhoon. I didn’t get any mail for a long time so probably a lot of it was lost. Well I’m pretty sleepy so I better stop for this time. Write more right soon. Don’t worry about me I’m OK. Haven’t had any typhoons lately.

Lots and lots of love,