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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Leonard Cheshire

Observer on the Big StinkNagasaki Mission

BritainTinian Island
Manhattan Project VeteranMilitary VeteranNagasaki MissionScientist
The Big Stink

Leonard Cheshire was born on September 7, 1917 in Chester, England. During World War II, he served in the Royal Air Force. He was assigned to the 102 Squadron in 1940. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order after he flew a burned bomber plane back from a mission in November of 1940. In July of 1944, he received the Victoria Cross as he began his fourth tour of duty.

He travelled to Tinian and served as the official British observer of the mission to bomb Nagasaki. He watched the second use of an atomic bomb from the Big Stink. After World War II, Leonard Cheshire left the military and devoted himself to charity, taking the title Baron Cheshire of Woodhall in the County of Lincolnshire. He returned to Nagasaki in 1985 to participate in a documentary film about the aftermath of the bomb.

Leonard Cheshire's Timeline
1917 Sep 7th Born in Chester, England.
1940 Jun Joined the Royal Air Force.
1940 Nov Awarded the Distinguished Service Order.
1944 Jul Awarded the Victoria Cross.
1945 Aug 9th Observed the bombing of Nagasaki from the Big Stink as the official British Observer.
1992 Jul 31st Died of a motor neurone disease.

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