Van Kirk, Major Theodore J. "Dutch." 1921-2014, and Captain Robert Lewis.  Autograph Manuscript, being a true copy of the Navigator's Log for the flight of Enola Gay,  on 3 printed oblong USAAF proforma sheets on sepia paper imprinted "Navigators Log,"
Lot 30
Van Kirk, Major Theodore J. "Dutch." 1921-2014, and Captain Robert Lewis.
Autograph Manuscript, being a true copy of the Navigator's Log for the flight of Enola Gay, on 3 printed oblong USAAF proforma sheets on sepia paper imprinted "Navigators Log,"
US$ 100,000 - 150,000
£ 76,000 - 110,000

Lot Details
Van Kirk, Major Theodore J. "Dutch." 1921-2014, and Captain Robert Lewis.  Autograph Manuscript, being a true copy of the Navigator's Log for the flight of Enola Gay,  on 3 printed oblong USAAF proforma sheets on sepia paper imprinted "Navigators Log," Van Kirk, Major Theodore J. "Dutch." 1921-2014, and Captain Robert Lewis.  Autograph Manuscript, being a true copy of the Navigator's Log for the flight of Enola Gay,  on 3 printed oblong USAAF proforma sheets on sepia paper imprinted "Navigators Log," Van Kirk, Major Theodore J. "Dutch." 1921-2014, and Captain Robert Lewis.  Autograph Manuscript, being a true copy of the Navigator's Log for the flight of Enola Gay,  on 3 printed oblong USAAF proforma sheets on sepia paper imprinted "Navigators Log," Van Kirk, Major Theodore J. "Dutch." 1921-2014, and Captain Robert Lewis.  Autograph Manuscript, being a true copy of the Navigator's Log for the flight of Enola Gay,  on 3 printed oblong USAAF proforma sheets on sepia paper imprinted "Navigators Log," Van Kirk, Major Theodore J. "Dutch." 1921-2014, and Captain Robert Lewis.  Autograph Manuscript, being a true copy of the Navigator's Log for the flight of Enola Gay,  on 3 printed oblong USAAF proforma sheets on sepia paper imprinted "Navigators Log," Van Kirk, Major Theodore J. "Dutch." 1921-2014, and Captain Robert Lewis.  Autograph Manuscript, being a true copy of the Navigator's Log for the flight of Enola Gay,  on 3 printed oblong USAAF proforma sheets on sepia paper imprinted "Navigators Log," Van Kirk, Major Theodore J. "Dutch." 1921-2014, and Captain Robert Lewis.  Autograph Manuscript, being a true copy of the Navigator's Log for the flight of Enola Gay,  on 3 printed oblong USAAF proforma sheets on sepia paper imprinted "Navigators Log,"
Van Kirk, Major Theodore J. "Dutch." 1921-2014, and Captain Robert Lewis.
Autograph Manuscript, being a true copy of the Navigator's Log for the flight of Enola Gay, on 3 printed oblong USAAF proforma sheets on sepia paper imprinted "Navigators Log," each sheet 255 x 660 mm, the flight August 6th 1945 [Log transcribed by Van Kirk, Tinian, c. August 7-8th 1945], recording the flight of the Enola Gay from Tinian Island to Hiroshima, on August 6th 1945, to drop the first atomic bomb on Japan, written out in hard and soft HB pencil in the few days after the flight, and submitted to the USAAF for filing as the "Navigators Log of the Enola Gay," including a small number of additions by co-pilot Robert Lewis after receiving this log in January 1946, when the 509th Composite Group (the special atomic bomb dropping wing) had returned to their Headquarters at Roswell Army Air Field, New Mexico. Van Kirk records the position, time, true course, temperature, altitude, air speed, wind direction, ground speed, distance to destination, comments on weather etc, with the additions in pen by Robert Lewis, principally by filling in the upper page of each sheet, the plane number, type, date, place of departure, mission orders, weather and flight crews, adding sheet numbers and the time landed to the verso of sheets 1 and 2, and at the bottom of the verso of sheet 3 his own statement of attribution, "Hiroshima's / Navigators's Log / "Completed by / Capt Van Kirk (Navigator) / Received by / Capt Lewis Co-Pilot From 509th Hqts—January 46 / 'Attested as true' / Capt Robert A. Lewis," some small tears to the margins, old fold lines.
Provenance: Major Theodore J. Van Kirk, Navigator, Enola Gay; Captain Robert A. Lewis (1918-1983), co-pilot Enola Gay, gifted to his son Steven Lewis.

THE FIRST AND ONLY "TRUE COPY" OF THE NAVIGATOR'S LOG OF THE ENOLA GAY, copied by Van Kirk from his original log (which he retained), and submitted for USAAF records in the days after the flight. The log's history has been shrouded in mystery for a long time, and Van kirk would not reveal its origins until the early 2000s. It can now be compared directly with the original log that Van Kirk kept after the flight "which he attested was the log he had on the Enola Gay" and which was offered for sale in Butterfields in 2002, and sold by him at Heritage in 2006 and again sold at auction by Sothebys in 2016 (both times for $300,000).

A close comparison of the two documents show a number of differences:
1. The original Van Kirk log was in two sheets (pages 1 and 2 of the log were conjoined), but the sheets of both logs are standard wartime USAAF Navigator's log sheets.
2. Van Kirk log contains, on the verso of sheet 3, a short log of an earlier practice run.
3. Van Kirk log fails to fill in any of the official boxes on the rectos of the sheets as well as a few boxes on the versos of the sheets; these are filled in or corrected by Lewis in this true copy. Lewis also adds sheet numbers at the upper left.
4. The two remarks on sheet 2 of Van Kirk's log "Circle E of Target" and "10.52 - Cloud Gone" are not present in this copy, presumably omitted by Van Kirk as he copied it out , in haste, and not added by Lewis as he was not aware of the original form of the log.
5. There are also 5 numerical entries on sheet 2 where the time listed has been changed from 04 to the correct number 05, again by Lewis.
6. There is variance of the number "0" from the Van Kirk log to his copy: we believe that the variance of the o's and a few other letters is because a B-29 flying at 20,000 feet would shake consistently, causing the pencil line to swerve as Van Kirk wrote down the numbers.

The story of this document is an example of the animosity that prevailed amongst the two crews of the Enola Gay. Those who were part of Lewis's original flight crew, who had practised for months to drop the bomb on Japan, and the 5 extra men headed by Tibbets, Van Kirk and Ferebee, who flew into Tinian just a few weeks before the bomb drop, and pushed out part of Lewis's original crew, demoted Lewis to co-pilot, and renamed their plane the day before it flew the mission. Although Lewis kept his anger buttoned up for most of his life, Tibbets, Van Kirk and others cashed in on their fame, went travelling around the country like film stars, signing objects and giving talks, and assisted in the Hollywood film of the bombing mission in 1952, called "Above and Beyond" starring Robert Taylor as Colonel Tibbets.

Interestingly on this document Lewis calls Van Kirk "Captain" in his annotation of this log in early 1946, when he knew, only too well, that he only got to the rank of Major, a moment of sarcasm perhaps. The many books on the Enola Gay flight concentrate on those members of the crew who freely spoke to the press, i.e. the "Three Musketeers" (Captain Tibbets and his former European flying buddies, "Dutch" Van Kirk, and Tom Ferebee). Although Lewis has maintained to his own family that he got this log from the USAAF 509th headquarters in Boswell field (as stated on this log), perhaps the method of its acquisition should be explained. In an article in the Washington Post in 1990, Van Kirk spoke to press saying that he could think of several "scenarios" when a copy could have been made "but I don't want to go into them." He continued, "I knew he (Lewis) had a copy of it," and in 2002 in an article on Van Kirk in the SF Chronicle, just before he was about to offer the log for the first time at Butterfields in San Francisco at an estimate of $400-600,000, he elaborated further: "returning to Tinian at 2:58 on August 6, ...he turned over the navigators log to the Intelligence Officer Capt Hazen Payett, a friend whom he'd served in England and North Africa. Normally the log would go into the files. But Van Kirk sensed this one's historical importance, and later asked to keep it as a momento. he offered to write out a copy for the files, and Payett agreed." The article goes on, "After his unit returned to Roswell, N.M., after the war, the copy of his log was tossed out on the floor. It was retrieved by Robert Lewis ... who kept it." The article quotes Lewis, "What you have to understand is, if I hadn't saved it would be lost, because the Army, the Air Force, didn't try to save anything... all we wanted to do was to get out of the service and get home." This is the reference copy, thrown out by the 509th Composite Group, and retrieved by Lewis, who always thought it was the only and original copy of the Navigator's Log, as it was the file copy (normally the original log). The National Archives USAAF holdings have no record of any logs from the 509th.

From the additions and corrections, it seems Lewis decided he had to add to this document, that this "true copy" done for the files was hastily copied by Van Kirk, and contained some inconsistencies. Lewis was always a stickler for correct paperwork, and would never have let such inconsistencies remain, so he completed and corrected the log to a standard he believed it deserved.
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