On this day: a Japanese Church in Ruins

UrakamiTenshudoJan1946Urakami Tenshudo (Catholic Church in Nagasaki) destroyed by the atomic bomb, the bell of the church having toppled off. 7th January 1946.

One of the many buildings destroyed in the 9th August, 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan was the city’s Catholic church. The Urakami Tenshudo was of historical significance because of the centuries of persecution Japanese Christians faced for practicing their religion.

At Urakami people risked death by torture for following a religion Japanese authorities saw as undermining their power and bringing too much Western influence to the Empire.

Urakami was ground zero for the nuclear attack on the city.

Photographed here on the 7th of January, 1946, the destroyed church is seen to still be a ruin five months after the atomic bombings that forced Japan’s surrender in the Second World War.

On this day: the mysterious death of a king.

Ananda_Mahidol_portrait_photograph Portrait photograph of King Ananda Mahidol of Thailand 1930s

Ananda Mahidol, Thailand’s king Rama VIII, died on the 3rd of June, 1946. He was only twenty at the time.

A child when he was elected successor to the throne in 1935, he continued to be educated in Switzerland, not visiting Thailand as king until 1938 when he was thirteen.

Rama_8_in_stamp stamp used in Rama VIII's reign 17th April 1941 issue Thailand. Thia.

Stamp issued 17th April 1941

The Japanese invaded Thailand the same day in 1941 they bombed America’s Pearl Harbor. The young king was not in the country at the time and did not return home until the end of 1945.

Only six months later a single gunshot was heard, and Ananda Mahidol was found dead.

Ananda_Mahidol_and_Louis_Mountbatten_in_19_January_1946 King Ananda Mahidol and Louis Mountbatten on 19 January 1946. Thai History British

King Ananda Mahidol and Louis Mountbatten. 19th January 1946.

More than one theory has been put forward as to how this happened.

He was the older brother of Bhumibol Adulyadej, who inherited the title and achieved cult status in Thailand; during his long reign both locals and foreigners were imprisoned for insulting him in any way. Even “liking” a Facebook post was enough for some people to be arrested.

The circumstances around Rama VIII’s death are still debated.

On this day: the birth of Aleksandr Shaparenko

aleksandr-maksimovich-shaparenko-ukrainian-sprint-canoeist-aleksandr-shaparenko-olympic-champion-for-the-soviet-union-in-1968-and-1972

Ukrainian sprint canoeist Aleksandr Shaparenko was born in Stepanivka on the 16th of February, 1946.

Competing for the Soviet Union, he won Olympic gold in 1968 and 1972, as well as a silver in the 1968 Games.

Shaparenko also won thirteen World Championship medals, including the gold seven times.

On this day: the bombing of the Kashmir Princess

The Kashmir Princess was a chartered Lockheed L-749A Constellation aircraft owned by Air India. On 11 April 1955, it was damaged in midair by a bomb explosion and crashed into the South China Sea.

The Kashmir Princess, an aircraft operated by Air India, was bombed and sank into the South China Sea on the 11th of April, 1955.

Of the nineteen people on board, sixteen died.

Zhou_Enlai_MeiyuanXincun17_Nanjing_1946Zhou Enlai (Chinese 周恩来; Wade–Giles Chou En-lai 5 March 1898 – 8 January 1976) was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China

Zhou Enlai in 1946

It emerged that the target of the bombing was China’s first Premier, Zhou Enlai, though he was not on the flight. More recently it has emerged that he might have known about the assassination attempt and so did not board the plane, even though he claimed to have been delayed due to surgery.

The aeroplane was supposed to have travelled from Bombay, India to Hong Kong and then on to Jakarta, Indonesia.

While China accused the United States’ CIA for the bombing, America has always denied the claims. Evidence points to Kremlin-backed Chinese nationalist party Kuomintang as the likely bombers.