Thursday marked the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. It was the first time an atomic bomb had been deployed in warfare. When a second fell on Nagasaki three days later, it brought
World War 2 to an abrupt end. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese lives were lost, but the early end to hostilities is thought by many to have saved perhaps millions more.
Somewhat bizarrely, I've discovered what I consider to be three farming connections to Hiroshima, 75 years on.
1/ Fertiliser - According to Lebanese authorities, the recent brutal blast in Beirut was caused by the improper and careless storage of 2750 tonnes of the fertiliser compound ammonium nitrate.
The explosion was the equivalent to 1800 tonnes of TNT.
To put that into historic perspective, the Hiroshima bomb was equivalent to at least 13,000 tonnes of TNT. Nagasaki was said to be in excess of 20,000 tonnes.
2/ Farming and footy tour – On our rugby world cup tour last year, eight of our touring group of 40 detoured and took a 700km return day trip from Kyoto to Hiroshima by bullet train.
It was a haunting and moving day I will never forget.
It remains, rugby included, the absolute highlight of my first visit to Japan.
The bomb, known as 'Little Boy', dropped by the Enola Gay actually detonated 600 metres above Hiroshima and immediately flattened 2.6 square kilometres of the city centre. There is a memorial plaque placed on the site where the bomb would have landed.
To stand beside it is to stand side-by-side with history. I challenge anyone to visit the emotionally explosive Hiroshima museum and not shed a tear.
It is thought that Hiroshima took somewhere between 90,000 and 150,000 Japanese lives and when the bigger bomb 'Fat Man' landed on Nagasaki, the toll was estimated at 40,000 to 80,000.
The man who made the fateful and fatal decision, President Harry S Truman, famous for his "The Buck Stops Here" sign on his desk, got what he wanted - an early end to the war.
3/ Farming correspondent – My man in Australia, Chris Russell, then added another chilling twist to the tale, one I was previously unaware of. The USS Indianapolis had delivered the crucial components of the Hiroshima atomic bomb to a naval base on the Pacific island of Tinian, near Guam.
After delivery, while sailing to meet the USS Idaho to prepare for the invasion of Japan, it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.
Of the 1196 men aboard, 900 made it into the water alive. Their ordeal, considered the worst shark attack in history, was just beginning. The survivors learned their best odds were in a group, preferably in the middle of it, with those on periphery, or worse alone, the most susceptible to attack. Those who didn't succumb to the sharks died of heat, thirst or as a result of drinking salt water.
After four days in the water, a navy plane flying overhead spotted the Indianapolis survivors and radioed for help. Of the Indianapolis' original crew, only 317 remained. Estimates of the number who died from shark attacks range from a few dozen to almost 150. No one knows for sure, but the ordeal of the Indianapolis survivors remains the worst maritime disaster in US naval history.
Lest we forget.