The other day I was doing a bit of blog surfing. You know, where you see a comment on a blog , and that leads to another blog, and so on.
For some reason, a particular heading caught my eye, and as I read the content I was zapped back to the spring of 1945 . (Not literally zapped back, you understand.)
My memories are sparse about the event, but I do recall that my brother and I had spotted a large balloon drifting over one of the fields on our farm in Saskatchewan, Canada. I can remember we went to look at the balloon where it had landed, and told our parents about this strange finding.
My next recollection is of members of the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) arriving at our farm, and that’s where my memories end.
During the latter part of WWII the Japanese released thousands of balloons carrying incendiary bombs into the jet stream over the Pacific Ocean, with the intent of them reaching western North America. The bombs would have destroyed property, caused deaths and started forest fires.
There were no reports of serious damage at any of the sites in Saskatchewan or elsewhere in Canada. In the United States, however, five youths and an adult were killed when a group of picnickers detonated a live Japanese bomb that had come down in a forested area of Oregon. Ironically, a balloon bomb also destroyed the power source to an atomic research plant in Washington State; this power outage briefly interrupted production of the two atomic bombs which were being prepared for delivery to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
(The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan)
And now I wonder. Could it have been one of those Japanese balloons that my brother and I found, which were kept secret from the Canadian and American public, not only to prevent panic, but also to prevent the Japanese government gaining knowledge of the success or otherwise of their attempts to cause damage and demoralisation? It’s so frustrating that there is no one alive for me to ask about this.
Here is one article about this little known happening during WWII. If you use a search term such as Japanese fire bombs WWII, you’ll find even more documentation.