New Forest East


By Robyn Dixon

The Age (Melbourne) – 12 March 1986

A British group captain who watched the atom bomb fall on Nagasaki said yesterday nuclear weapons were the only way to stop a third world war.

In the first of a series of lectures at La Trobe University to mark the International Year of Peace, Group Captain Leonard Cheshire said nuclear weapons were

"the new face of peace".

He said the superpowers should put more emphasis on nuclear weapons by scaling down conventional weapons and forces. Flying over the coast of Japan 40 years ago as a British observer on the mission to bomb Nagasaki, Group Captain Cheshire was reminded of the Cornwall coast of his childhood, and

"nearly lost control"

remembering how he longed for peace as a boy after World War I.

Group Captain Cheshire was a member of the Dambusters squadron and was awarded the Victoria Cross. He is a prominent figure in the debate in Britain over nuclear weapons and claims a return to conventional weapons would cause a third world war between the superpowers costing millions of lives. Group Captain Cheshire said the importance of nuclear weapons in preventing superpower aggression was

"the paradox of war".

He said it was necessary to maintain a nuclear deterrent which was

"as safe and moral as possible".

His explanation of the theory did not impress one student who leapt up during question time to put an opposing view ...