Paul Couvret

‘We saw this incredible pillar of fire and smoke billowing into this sky, and we were wondering what on earth had happened?’

21 July 2020

Today we remember the atomic bomb that was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki on 9 August 1945. Paul Couvret was working in the shipyards, some 8 kilometres from the centre of the blast.

Paul Couvret — We saw this incredible pillar of fire and smoke billowing into this sky, and we were wondering what on earth had happened?

Paul Couvret audio file (MP4 23.97 MB)

Paul Couvret audio script

75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War

Audio actuality

“Fellow Citizens, the War is over” — (The Hon J B Chifley, Prime Minister of Australia)

On the 75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War, Australia remembers the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki on the 9th of August 1945.

Paul Couvret was working in the shipyards, some 8 kilometres from the centre of the blast. It destroyed the city and helped hasten the end of the war.

Paul Couvret

The first thing we saw was the bright flashes for somewhere further, flash group near you, then a few seconds later, the blast came, which caused an avalanche of debris. And then we saw this incredible pillar of fire and smoke billowing into this sky, and we were wondering what on earth had happened? We thought it was because of an incendiary bomb setting off an underground ammunition dump, which set off a chain reaction and blew a whole city sky-high.

Later on, we heard from the boys who had been working in the open when the bomb went off, that they actually saw three parachutes coming down. Our theory was that it might have been an intermediary coming down to discuss peace with us, but we had no idea that a bomb had gone off and destroyed the whole of the city in one blast.

Saturday, August 15 marks the 75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War. Let’s pay our respects to that amazing generation of Australians.