Albury, Charles Donald (ON HOLD)


Co-pilot of B-29 Bockscar which dropped “Fat Man” atomic bomb on Nagasaki, piloted instrument observation plane on Hiroshima mission


Type: Signed Card
Description:  (1920-2009) US military aviator, participated in both atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He co-piloted the USAAF B-29 bomber Bockscar during the August 9 1945 mission that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki which instantly killed some 40,000 people and led to Japan’s unconditional surrender 5 days after, ending WW II.

He enrolled at the University of Miami’s engineering school but dropped out to enlist in the Army. He was one of 3 pilots under Captain Charles Sweeney’s command to test the XB-29 and YB-29 delivered to Eglin AFB in Sept. 1943. Albury joined (now Major) Sweeny at Wendover Air Force Base in Utah where he and Sweeney were invited by Col. Paul Tibbets to join what would become the 509th Composite Group in Sept. 1944, activated Dec. 17, 1944. Tibbets initially organized 2 air crews: one with himself and Robert A. Lewis as co-pilot (Enola Gay cockpit crew during the Hiroshima mission), the other headed by Sweeney with Albury as co-pilot. Roberts and Albury acted as pilots and crew commanders for their planes when Tibbets and/or Sweeney were not flying.

On Aug. 6, 1945, Albury witnessed the 1st atomic bombing of Hiroshima as pilot of the instrument observation plane The Great Artiste which accompanied the Enola Gay under Tibbets. Albury measured the levels of radioactivity and magnitude of the atomic bomb from his plane. On August 9, 1945, 3 days after Hiroshima, Sweeney’s crew, with Albury as co-pilot, took off in the B-29 Superfortress Bockscar which dropped the “Fat Man” atomic bomb on Nagasaki. The 10,200-pound bomb instantly killed 40,000 people, the vast majority munitions workers; another 35,000 Japanese citizens would succumb from radiation sickness and other injuries after the bombing.

Immediately after the Japanese formal surrender on September 2, 1945, Albury flew with Tibbetts, Sweeney and close to 20 other members of their crews to Japan, eventually reaching Nagasaki and witnessing on the ground the destruction caused by the atomic bomb. At the end the war, Albury was a commercial airline pilot for Eastern Airlines, later co-manager of Eastern’s Airbus A300 training program.

Signed 2 x 3 ½ card with Army Air Force insignia at top, his name, “Hiroshima, Nagasaki/August, 1945” printed under his signature.

Condition: Very good

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