Captain Robert A. Lewis Co-pilot of the B-29 "Enola Gay" 1945 World War II Copy of his Log of Atomic Bomb Mission on Hiroshima, Japan, August 6, 1945
Lot 177
Enola Gay Log - Robert A.Lewis, Captain USAAF, Co-Pilot of the Enola Gay. Mimeographed copy of Lewis' original log written in flight on the morning of 6th August, 1945, formerly in the possession of the Atomic Bomb Supervisor Captain William "Deak" Parsons. [August, 1945]
Sold for US$ 31,250 inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Enola Gay Log - Robert A.Lewis, Captain USAAF, Co-Pilot of the Enola Gay. Mimeographed copy of Lewis' original log written in flight on the morning of 6th August, 1945, formerly in the possession of the Atomic Bomb Supervisor Captain William "Deak" Parsons. [August, 1945]
A 9pp mimeographed copy of Lewis's original log, made on Tinian Island, and mostly over-inked and penciled by Lewis?, upper right corner lettered in pencil 2-10, old lettering at lower right, the first page blank, then numbered 1-8, several sets of old pin holes to upper left and right; together with a mimeographed copy of an 'officially typed' version of the log, 7pp, two sets of pin holes at upper left. The paper of the 1940s, that of the log copy with page 3 slightly larger and uncut, and pp.2,4-10 trimmed at the top attempting to cut out the 'line of position' lettering, on the original log; the paper of the typed copy slightly larger still and uniform; together with a card signed Paul W. Tibbetts 'with best wishes to Bruce David Weiss', a photograph of Lewis accredited to the Archives of the Aviation Hall of Fame, a small painted wooden model of the Nagasaki atomic bomb 'Fat Man', which parsons was also involved in, and two period photographs of the Bikini Atoll explosions (Parsons organized Operation Crossroads).

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    - William "Deak" Parsons (Sold 16 November 1991, Frank Cea Barnstormer Auction, Roosevelt Airfield, Long Island, New York, lot 243). The lot including a wooden Factory model of a B-29 built by Mueller Bros for Boeing for presentation to the Atomic Bomb Loading Supervisor (not present), and the enclosed 1946 photo of Lewis, from the Archives of the Aviation Hall of Fame, the model of the "Fat Man" bomb, and the autographed card by Paul Tibetts.
    - The War Museum

    AN EXTRAORDINARY UNRECORDED SURVIVAL of a mimeographed copy of Lewis's log, over-inked and over-penciled probably by Lewis himself, as a copy to give to Parsons. The existence of any typed version is previously unknown, the typed copy identical to the mimeographed version excepting the addition of the front page and the back page, with about 19 mistypings and misplaced fullstops etc. This copy is identical to the Enola Gay Log sold from the Forbes Collection by Christies in 2002. Tinian had several machines capable of doing such a copy and in the aftermath of the Hiroshima bomb, it seems likely that Lewis or perhaps Parsons had a typed version made up and the copied log given to a few favored friends on the mission. The Forbes log was sold to an anonymous buyer and has not been exhibited since; no other copy of the log is known excepting this example, and neither the Library of Congress or the National Archives has a copy. Lewis disguised the original log as a letter to his Mom and Dad, thinking that this report, for the absent New York Times Science editor, William Laurence, who had missed the flight because he arrived too late, would be confiscated by the authorities. Lewis worked on the log again on the 10th August adding a "History of the 509th Bomb Group", and soon after lent the log to William Laurence for a month or so, and then the original was returned to Lewis. The interesting part of this log is the over-inking and over-pencilling, done over the mimeographed copy to mimic the original. Lewis had changed to pencil half way through the flight as his pen ran out of ink.

    The Enola Gay was constructed by the Glenn L. Martin Company (later Lockheed Martin) in Bellevue, Nebraska, personally selected while in the assembly line on May 9th 1945, by Colonel Paul Tibbetts. The plane was accepted by the USAAF on May 18th, assigned to the 393rd Bombardment Squadron, 509th Composite Group; Captain Robert A Lewis, took the delivery and flew the plane to the main base at Wendover Field, Utah on June 14th. Thirteen days later the plane went to Guam for adaptions to the bomb bay, and then on to North Field, Tinian. On the 5th August the new Commander of the mission Colonel Tibbetts renamed the plane Enola Gay after his mother, and on the morning of the 6th the plane had been already repainted much to the anger of Captain Robert Lewis, who was already upset at being replaced as the commander of the mission. The team of 12 men had been assembled at Tinian, kept apart from the rest of the pilots for the weeks leading up to the mission. It has been said that only 3 people knew the purpose of the mission, Ferebree, Parsons and Tibbetts, although this log implies that most of the crew appeared to know the mission, albeit they were astonished by the impact of the bomb. As Lewis famously says on p.9 'My God what have we done'.
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