Not even 12 months after the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Australian Army Private John Lucas walked directly through the path of its destruction.
Then a fresh-faced 19-year-old serviceman, he had been sent to Japan with his division in April 1946 to clean-up debris from the atomic blast.
On August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively, an American B-29 bomber dropped two atomic bombs over the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki - killing thousands of people and forcing Japan to surrender unconditionally.
The Australian troops were part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force whose role it was to restore democracy, and help rebuild the war-ravaged country.
From his bed at Wollongong Private Hospital on Sunday - where he's battling leukaemia - the now 92-year-old said his division had been tasked with searching for and collecting military equipment. Yet they discovered far more.
"It took us three weeks to get to Japan, and we sailed into Kure Harbour to a scene of devastation," Mr Lucas said. "I'll never forget it.
"The harbour was full of ships that had been bombed; on land nothing was left standing, buildings had crumbled."
In the weeks and months to come, Mr Lucas would lay witness to the horrifying impact of the explosion - and its aftermath.
"Precisely where the bomb hit, I walked through that and there was just ... nothing," he said.
"There was channels running across the land, and we crossed one of the creeks and on the side of a bridge there was the imprint of a body - it had been burnt into the bridge. You can't forget those things."
The worst of the memories for the Wollongong man, a mechanical engineer by trade, came from a visit to a hospital on the outskirts of the city.
"It was painted white inside and it was packed with the injured. There were kids, whose faces had just melted ...." he remembered, before his eyes filled with tears and and he couldn't go on.
He would spend nearly two years in Japan, living in rough conditions in an army camp not far from the site of the bomb detonation.
Many of those who served in Japan during that time were later worried about the radiation from the site.
Mr Lucas, and his wife of 70 years Edith, believe it's responsible for the cancer now ravaging his body.
The couple met not long after he returned home, and was discharged from the Army. They have four children, 11 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
Mr Lucas has worked in the mines and elsewhere in the years since his service, but the memories haunt him still.
He said like many returned servicemen it was hard to readjust once back home - and those who took part in the clean-up operation found that they were treated differently from other WWII veterans.
Their service went unrecognised for some time - Mr Lucas was unable to join the RSL for decades and he did not receive his service medal for more than 60 years.
This Remembrance Day, which may be his last, he said he'll be thinking of those he served alongside - and the terrible toll of war.