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Nuclear test vets’ fight goes to Parliament

Nuclear test veteran fundraising at Morrisons, Sandy and Douglas Hern  PIC REQ- 25th anniv Merechant Navy assoc hog roast at Bramble Hall Sutterton 1300 to 1600 hours 12th July. attended by Lord Leftenant Contact Sandy Hern 01046371134 ANL-140706-224802009

Nuclear test veteran fundraising at Morrisons, Sandy and Douglas Hern PIC REQ- 25th anniv Merechant Navy assoc hog roast at Bramble Hall Sutterton 1300 to 1600 hours 12th July. attended by Lord Leftenant Contact Sandy Hern 01046371134 ANL-140706-224802009

Only a few hundred nuclear test veterans out of 22,500 remain alive, but later this month they will finally get their day before the British government.

A video of what nuclear test veterans experienced on Christmas Island in the 1950s will be shown to MPs in parliament on Wednesday, June 25.

Douglas Hern (77), a nuclear test veteran, from Moulton, who has dedicated his life to winning justice for the veterans and their families, said 20,000 servicemen who were made to watch the nuclear bombs explode have already died of cancer – and many of the personnel still alive are suffering illnesses which they claim are linked to radiation exposure.

He is still in contact with many of the veterans who suffer with health problems which are believed to be linked to the tests, including people in New Zealand, Australia and America.

But he claims the government has never accepted servicemen and their families have suffered genetic problems as a link to their exposure to the weapons tests.

Mr Hern will be in Parliament for the showing of the video and said it would be a special moment for the veterans.

He said: “People today don’t realise that the government told us that there was no danger to us there.

“We watched the bombs explode in just our overalls, while the scientists who were monitoring the nuclear tests wore protective clothing.”

Last year, the British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association, which is now a charity, delivered a petition to the Prime Minister, held a rally outside the Palace of Westminster and secured a debate in Westminster Hall.

But the main priority for the veterans has always been to gain official recognition from the Prime Minister.

So far 70 veterans have signed up for the viewing and invitations are being sent to their MPs to also be present.

The DVD is part of a project to raise awareness of what the veterans went through during their time on Christmas Island.

The film, which has been made by Charles Stewart, also features footage from the wives and children of the veterans talking about how the effects of the nuclear tests have affected their own lives.

As well as gaining official recognition, the veterans hope to secure a £25 million fund to be held in trust to fund the needs of veterans and their families.

Mr Hern said: “This is not a witch hunt. We are not doing this for money, it is to raise awareness.”

Veterans were in Morrisons in Spalding on Saturday, raising money to put towards helping to make the DVD available to the public.

He said: “With all of the D-Day commemorations a lot of people came up to us to see what we were doing. It was a great day and we raised £693.”

 

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