Nuclear test veteran after MPs’ attention

Sandy and Doug Hern who marching on Parliament tomorrow on behalf of nuclear test veterans.
Sandy and Doug Hern who marching on Parliament tomorrow on behalf of nuclear test veterans.

A former Royal Navy man from Moulton who was involved in nuclear tests in the 1950s is taking his case for recognition to Parliament tomorrow.

Doug Hern (77) is among 200 members of the British Nuclear Tests Veterans Association (BNTVA) planning to march on Parliament and hand in a petition to the Prime Minister calling for official recognition of their service to Great Britain.

Mr Hern witnessed five nuclear explosions while based on Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean and he now wants the Government to set up a £25million compensation fund to help families affected by the test programme.

He said: “We’ve never really been recognised for our efforts and nearly everybody involved in the nuclear tests who has died since then did so with some form of cancer such as leukaemia.

“I was sent out to Christmas Island to cook for the veterans in September 1957 but because I had other qualifications, I was asked to do other things as well.”

Mr Hern will be joined on the march by his wife Sandy who will be wearing Merchant Navy uniform as secretary of its association.

“We want people to be aware of the fact that we served our country and for the sake of our children, we don’t want to be airbrushed out of history.”

John Hayes, MP for South Holland and The Deepings, said: “I’m very sympathetic to Mr Hern’s argument and people who serve their country, in whatever capacity, deserve special recognition and appropriate regard.”