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Enola Gay navigator’s log realises $372,500

The original log kept by the navigator of the Enola Gay made $372,500 at Sotheby’s New York on December 6.
It starred in sale of Americana and books and manuscripts.

Navigator Captain Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk, who died in 2014, was the final surviving member of the Enola Gay’s crew.

The log features a detailed description of the attack, as Sotheby’s relates: "At 0915½ (30 seconds past 8:15am Hiroshima local time) in the position field Van Kirk notes the action that would end the war and change the world forever, ‘Bomb Away’, further writing in the remarks field ‘Circle E of Target.’

"By 0931 they were flying over Mishima, and just past 29° 43′ E 137° 03′ E, a little over an hour and a half later, Van Kirk notes ’10:52 – Cloud Gone’."

The bombing is said to have dramatically shortened the war, forcing the Japanese to surrender.

Van Kirk explained in a 1995 interview with the New York Times: “Under the same circumstances – and the key words are ‘the same circumstances’ – yes, I would do it again.

“We were in a war for five years. We were fighting an enemy that had a reputation for never surrendering, never accepting defeat.

“It’s really hard to talk about morality and war in the same sentence. In a war, there are so many questionable things done.

“Where was the morality in the bombing of Coventry, or the bombing of Dresden, or the Bataan death march, or the Rape of Nanking, or the bombing of Pearl Harbor?

“I believe that when you’re in a war, a nation must have the courage to do what it must to win the war with a minimum loss of lives.”

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