The Dark Tourism Monthly: August 2017

The Dark Tourism Monthly: August 2017

Wreck of US warship that was key to Hiroshima bombing found

Source: The Scotsman


A team of researchers have located the wreckage of the USS Indianapolis, the WWII heavy cruiser that had a crucial role to play in the Hiroshima atomic bombing before being hit by Japanese torpedoes. The sinking of the USS Indianapolis still remains the US Navy’s single worst loss at sea, with almost 900 of the crew killed and only 316 survivors.

The expedition found the wreckage on the floor of the North Pacific Ocean more than 18,000 feet below the surface. It was discovered by Research Vessel Petrel which is owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The US Navy have said that a key finding occurred in 2016 when Richard Hulver, a historian with the Naval History and Heritage Command decided on a new search area after identifying a naval landing craft that has recorded a sighting of the USS Indianapolis a day before it sank. Here’s what he had to say about discovering the wreckage:

“To be able to honour the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role in ending the Second World War is truly humbling,” Mr Allen said. “As Americans, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the crew for their courage, persistence and sacrifice in the face of horrendous circumstances.”

The navy have said that the 13 person expedition team on the Research Vessel Petrel was surveying the site and their work has been compliant with the US law regarding a sunken warship as a grave not to be disturbed. The wrecked ship remains the property of the navy and it’s location is both restricted and confidential.

The USS Indianapolis was carrying 1,196 sailors and marines on the Phillipine Sea between Guam and Leyte Gulf when two torpedoes from a Japanese submarine struck the ship on the 30th of July 1945. It sank in an astonishing twelve minutes killing around 300 on board. Survivors were left in the water, many with only a life jacket, and as there was no time to send a distress signal, it was a grueling four days before a bomber on a patrol spotted the sailors. Unfortunately, by the time that the rescue mission arrived, the mix of dehydration, drowning, exposure and constant shark attacks has left only a quarter of the ship’s crew alive.

It has been featured in a variety of media since, including a reference in Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster “Jaws” where the captain recounts of his horrors after the sinking; as well as very recently with 2016’s USS Indianapolis: Men Of Courage starring Nicholas Cage.

Since, numerous books have told of it’s vital role in delivering components of what would soon become the atomic bomb “Little Boy” which was being built on the island of Tinian, the departure point for the bomber Enola Gay’s mission to Hiroshima in August 1945. Alongside the “Fat Man” dropped on Nagasaki, “Little Boy” forced the surrender of Japan and the end of the Second World War.


Read more at The Scotsman.



Campaign launched to save South London’s ‘stretcher fences’ once used to carry wounded civilians in the Blitz

Source: The Evening Standard


A campaign has been launched to ensure the restoration and upkeep of the infamous ‘stretcher fences’ that were once used to carry wounded civilians during the Blitz. Although not terribly well know, many estates in London including; Peckham, Brixton, Deptford, Oval and East London, feature these unique and historical fences.



This is a particularly interesting story because it remains largely unknown to the public, despite over 600,000 stretchers being produced! You can find out a lot more information and how to help by visiting the official website Stretcher Railings here.


Read more at the Evening Standard.



Ukraine removed 1,320 Lenin statues (and plenty more!)


In a desperate bid to wash it’s hands of history, Ukraine has decided to remove any Soviet-era statues and monuments in every village, town and city controlled by Kiev. It is a direct result of the law created by President Petro Poroshenko in May 2015.



What is important in this story, is whether it’s the right thing to do. This story really resonates with the theme of ‘dark tourism’ as a whole; should we preserve the parts of history we’d rather not be reminded of? Would it have been fair to completely bulldoze Auschwitz-Birkenau ? Is this different, not because it is a memorial but because it is a tyrannical figure? Far too much could be written about this issue but we’d love to know your opinion; should statues and monuments be removed in a bid to, essentially what is; ‘rewrite history’ – this also resonates with current political  feelings in the United States of America.


Read more at The Epoch Times 



Holocaust survivor to be immortalised in Leeds sculpture


Holocaust survivor Arek Hersh is to be honoured with a sculpture created by Frances Segelman in Leeds on October 1st 2017. The artist is responsible for sculpturing the busts of The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales, as well as celebrities like Joanna Lumley, Boris Johnson and Sir Steven Redgrave. The polish-born Auschwitz survivor says he only got through because he ‘hopped’ from the line for the ‘weak’ to the line for the ‘fit’. He was honoured with an MBE in 2009 for his services to holocaust education.


Read more at Jewish News Online



A Chernobyl Festival?


You definitely read that right, making it’s debut this year is the Chernobyling festival; a collection of local artists, musicians and survivors celebrating and commemorating all things Chernobyl. You can find out all about this extremely interesting festival on their website here.



Auschwitz survivor Yisrael Kristal dies at 113


Many reports have come in regarding Mr Yisrael Kristal, an Auschwitz survivor and allegedly the ‘world’s oldest man’ (though we cannot confirm this, Guiness World Records apparently recognize him as such). This is an absolutely heartbreaking story of tragedy and courage in the face of absolute defeat. Yisrael Kristal was taken to the concentration camp alongside his wife and two children, but he was the sole survivor when he was eventually found by the allies weighing in at a shocking 5st 11lb. Definitely worth reading more about this truly courageous man, not many could have done what he has done.


Read more at Dey There, BBC News and Haaretz.



Of course that’s not all, but it’s all we can fit in to our monthly round-up of dark tourism news. If you’re interested in the subject, make sure to follow us on Facebook where we post twice a day Monday through Saturday. If you enjoy the content, please like and share to family and friends. This website is run by one individual on a tight budget and so any and all help you can give to grow our audience is very much appreciated. Also of note, if you already follow us on Facebook, please follow the steps below to make sure you always see our posts (Facebook have been tinkering with their settings and this means that you may not see all of our interesting daily posts!):



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