TuRN the clock back 60 years and the Second World War was edging ever closer to its bloody, climax.
It was almost two months since the German unconditional surrender on May 8 but the war with Japan continued and although the conclusion of the war was just over one month away, the Allies had focussed their collective attention upon Japan.
Even before the Allies dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the bombing campaign against the ‘menace in the east’ was unrelenting.
In an article published in the Yorkshire Evening Post on July 7, around three weeks before the Postdam Declaration, in which the Allies called for Japan’s surrender and delivered the ultimatum that if this was not forthcoming it would face ‘total and utter destruction’, it was reported that the country had suffered 32 days of non-stop bombing. Five cities were reported to be on fire, with an estimated 30,000 tons of fire bombs and high explosives raining down.
Lieut General Roy Geiger, commander of the Pacific Fleet Marine Force, declared: “We can invade Japanese home islands any time we want to.”
The same day, there was a report that future prime minister, then foreign secretary, Anthony Eden’s eldest son, Simon, a navigator with the RAF, was missing in Burma. Educated at Eton, Sgt Eden was 20 and had wanted to take part in the bombing of Berlin but was sent to the far east instead. He was later declared dead, which came as a great shock to his mother and father.
Another report said English towns and cities which did not have the capacity to turn off their streetlights during the day faced months of drakness from July 15, when British Double Summer time ended.