THE SNUGBUS Archive

WWII Veteran Who Took Photo of Atomic Bomb Blast Over Hiroshima, Dies at 96 *Pic*

The man best known for taking a photo of the Hiroshima bomb nearly seventy-five years ago died on Sunday at the age of 96.

John McGlohon, who worked for more than thirty years as a firefighter for Asheboro, North Carolina, was perhaps best known for his work as a photographer for a B-29 crew that had mistakenly flew over Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, hours after the first nuclear bomb released during war time had exploded.

McGlohon, a U.S. Army Air Force sergeant at the time, had joined the Army Air Corp only a few months before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, but it was his work and the photos he took toward the end of the war that immortalized his name in the history books.

In recounting the story about taking the photos to the Courier-Tribune in 2015, McGlohon said after a brilliant flash of light temporarily blinded the pilot and gunners, he turned on the cameras in his compartment located in the aft section of the B-29.

"We realized it was something different than we saw every day," he said.

McGlohon's photos were far different than other photographs that were taken of the historic event. Planes in the area had been instructed to stay at least 50 miles away from the city, however, through a communications mishap, McGlohon's crew did not receive the orders. That meant he and the rest of the crew happened to be closer than anyone else to the nuclear bomb when it was dropped on the city.

The photos he snapped that day are some of the few existing images of the Hiroshima bomb mushroom cloud.

Three days after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a second A-bomb was released over Nagasaki, which prompted the Japanese emperor to announce the country's surrender six days later.
After he finished serving his country, McGlohon says he never saw a print of the photos he shot over Hiroshima. He returned to his hometown of Asheboro, North Carolina, eventually volunteering for the Asheboro Fire Department, where he worked, rising up the ranks until he reached the rank of Fire Chief, a position he held for 24 years.

"He's really responsible for bringing Asheboro's Fire Department into the modern era," Asheboro Mayor David Smith said.