Moulton-based nuclear bomb test veteran on national TV

Nuclear test veteran Douglas Hern helped with the making of a TV programme on Britain's nuclear bomb.
Nuclear test veteran Douglas Hern helped with the making of a TV programme on Britain's nuclear bomb.
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Moulton nuclear test veteran Douglas Hern appears on national TV tomorrow (Wednesday, May 3) in a programme focusing on the development of this country’s nuclear weapons.

Douglas (80) witnessed five tests on Christmas Island – one atom bomb and four hydrogen bombs.

He and other veterans – and their descendants – are still living with the terrible legacy of those tests, which has seen children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren plagued with illnesses such as cancer and disorders including heart trouble and spina bifida.

Douglas helped with the making of BBC Four’s programme, Britain’s Nuclear Bomb: The Inside Story, which is screened tomorrow at 9pm as well as being interviewed for it.

The programme features interviews with fellow veterans and scientists involved in the atomic test programme.

Doug said: “We were only clothed in everyday shorts and battle dress while the scientists were parading round in protective suits with aspirators.”

Doug and wife Sandie, vice chairman of the British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association (BNTVA), work tirelessly for the nuclear community, everyone affected by the tests.

The BNTVA is working with universities on research into all aspects of the experiences of the nuclear community, covering genetics, mental health, physical health and sociological experience, and funding for that work has been extended for another three years.

Douglas and Sandie travel all over the UK in their roles, which they fund themselves, and in June they will cross The Channel to attend the rekindling of the flame at the tomb of the unknown soldier at the base of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

• Douglas has now learned he may be entitled to a war pension, which he was previously denied.