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UK’s nuclear test veterans ‘were victims of a crime

UK’s nuclear test veterans ‘were victims of a crime’ with one suffering 100 tumours

Many of the 22,000 men who served at nuclear bomb tests carried out by Britain have died from cancers and suffered rare blood disorders – Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram heard their tales of horror Mirror UK,  BySusie Boniface, 15 Dec 2021

Campaigning giants Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram have vowed to win recognition for Britain’s nuclear test veterans, telling them: “You were victims of a crime.”

The two metro mayors likened 70 years of official denials about the Cold War radiation experiments to Hillsborough, forced adoptions and the contaminated blood scandal.

Around 22,000 men served at 45 bomb tests and more than 600 radiation experiments in Australia, America and the South Pacific between 1952 and 1991. Many have died from cancers and suffered rare blood disorders. Their 155,000 descendants show 10 times the usual rate of birth defects, which the government refuses to investigate.

After meeting survivors, Mr Burnham said: “It feels like you were victims of a crime, and that has been passed down through your families.”

Mr Rotheram added: “The pattern of these scandals is the always the same. They deflect the truth, they make it about money, they deny, suppress, cover up, and blame.”

John Morris told them: “I don’t want their money, I just want the damned truth.”

In 1957, aged 20, he was among troops exposed on a beach when the 1.8 megaton Grapple X bomb was exploded 20 miles away. “I wore a shirt, shorts, and sunglasses. The flash was white, the heat like a blowtorch on your back, then we were knocked off our feet,” said John, 84, from Rochdale.

“There were 2,000 men running around, terrified. We couldn’t get in our wagons to get away because the tires had melted. If I told you to stand 20 miles away from the Sun, would you do it?”

After his return home, John was diagnosed with a radiation-related blood disorder. His first-born Steven died in 1962, aged four months, in an unexplained cot death. Daughter Liz Bacon said: “We’re made to feel unreasonable just for questioning it. He didn’t even get the autopsy report until 2018.”

Ex-railway manager Archie Hart, 84, of Warrington, told how he was an 18-year-old stoker on HMS Diana in 1956 when the ship was twice ordered to spend 8 hours in the fallout of atomic bombs in a human experiment designed to test the effect on ship and crew. Archie, wearing just a cotton hood for protection, was on deck throughout, and within two years began developing benign tumours.

“There’s 100 all over my body, some the size of tennis balls,” he told the mayors. “I can’t do the dance of the seven veils anymore, because my body’s an unsightly mess. What they did to us was morally wrong, and their cavalier attitude in the years since is causing problems to this day for the generations that follow.”

Both men have survived cancer, but told the mayors: “We were the lucky ones.”

Alan Owen, whose Royal Navy dad Jesse died aged 52 after witnessing 24 US bomb tests in 78 days in 1962, said: “The Americans compensated my family, but our own governments delay, deny, until we die.”

For more than 30 years the Mirror has campaigned for justice for the brave men who took part in Britain’s nuclear weapons tests.

The Ministry of Defence has fought back every step of the way.

We have told countless heartbreaking stories of grieving mums, children with deformities, men aged before their time and widows struggling to hold their families together, all while campaigning for recognition.

Two years ago we launched an appeal for a medal for the 1,500 survivors.

For the first time we were able to prove some were unwittingly used in experiments.

Our appeal was backed by then-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson but his review foundered after he lost his job.

……………….. Mr Burnham said: “These are the tactics of the British state: to deflect onto the victims, use a lack of progress to grind people down, and create mental torture so people cannot fight injustice.”………………

Both mayors supported the idea of a medal for its “totemic significance” to veterans, whose average age is now 85, and promised to support a nuclear tests education programme to be rolled out across their regions’ schools, with veterans meeting children to discuss their personal legacy………………………


December 16, 2021 - Posted by | health, UK, weapons and war

1 Comment »

  1. […] UK’s nuclear test veterans ‘were victims of a crime — nuclear-news […]

    Pingback by UK’s nuclear test veterans ‘were victims of a crime — nuclear-news – RADIATION FREE LAKELAND | December 16, 2021 | Reply

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