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Last surviving Hiroshima bomb crew member dies


The last surviving member of the US air crew that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima has died in Georgia aged 93.

Theodore Van Kirk, also known as “Dutch”, was 24 when he became the navigator of the Enola Gay, the aircraft which dropped the bomb.

The attack on Japan on 6 August 1945 killed an estimated 140,000 people.

Van Kirk said he had “no regrets” about the mission and defended its morality, saying it helped to end the Second World War.

His son, Tom Van Kirk, paid tribute to his father, who he said remained active until the end of his life.

“I know he was recognized as a war hero, but we just knew him as a great father”, he told AP.

Mr Van Kirk died of natural causes at the retirement home where he lived, his son said.

The ground crew of the B-29 'Enola Gay' which atom-bombed Hiroshima, Japan. Col. Paul W. Tibbets, the pilot is the centre

He had been the last surviving member of the Enola Gay crew since 2010 when Morris Jeppson, the assistant weaponeer, died.

His funeral is expected to take place next week in Pennsylvania.

The bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy”, was the first nuclear weapon used in warfare.

The only other instance came three days later when the crew of the Bockscar dropped the “Fat Man” bomb on another Japanese city, Nagasaki, killing an estimated 80,000.

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