Report ‘proves veteran right’

A MAJOR report showing 80 per cent of nuclear test veterans have long term medical problems has been hailed as a step forward by a Moulton campaigner.

Douglas Hern, of Bell Lane, witnessed first hand the massive mushroom cloud explosions in the Pacific Ocean when he served in the Royal Navy in the 1950s.

He’s since been at the heart of the British Nuclear Test Veterans Associations’ fight for justice after suffering a raft of health problems and tragically losing his daughter when she was just 13 – both of which he feels were linked to his exposure to the bomb blasts.

The association encouraged the Ministry of Defence to fund a £75,000 survey of 633 veterans and the results show 83 per cent of respondents have at least two serious long term illnesses. Some have as many as ten.

Just eight per cent felt that the tests had definitely not had an impact on their health, while 28 per cent were certain that it had, 23 per cent thought it had and 24 per cent said it might have done.

Mr Hern said: “I am in favour of this study – it shows and proves what we have said all along – that we are more susceptible by a huge percentage to these illnesses than the average Joe in the street.”

The association now wants the Government to act as a result of the study and offer an apology and recognition for their Cold War efforts.

The study was one part of the veterans’ campaign – they are also calling for a examination of the effects on their children and are fighting a long-running battle to win the right to claim compensation.

Last year their fight was dealt a big blow after the Court of Appeal ruled many of the veterans’ claims could not be heard because they were being brought too long after the event.

However, veterans took the fight to the UK’s highest court – the Supreme Court – and in August they won the right to appeal that decision.

Mr Hern and fellow veterans will now go back to the courtroom on November 14 for the next hearing as the case rumbles on.