Moulton serviceman’s bigger battle

editorial image
Have your say

We recently spoke to Douglas Hern, who is very involved with the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association.

Having been bombed out of their house on the Isle of Dogs three times in as many weeks, the family moved to Donington to escape the Blitz.

Doug decided at an early age that he wanted to go into the Navy and eventually joined up at 17, initially as a cook on shore stations and then on ships.

It was when he was posted to Christmas Island in the Pacific that he became one of the unwitting, and subsequently unwilling, guinea pigs during British Nuclear testing on the island during the late ’50s. The International Nuclear Test Ban treaty was signed in 1962 but until that time all the testing was done in the open air. At the time very little was known about the effects of nuclear fission on the human body yet servicemen were conscripted to witness these explosions. Having begun to suffer health problems afterwards, and losing his 13-year-old daughter to cancer, Doug has been instrumental in seeking compensation from the Government to alleviate the suffering of the test veterans and their children and grandchildren.

It was a fascinating and troubling interview and one we will remember for some time. We hope some conclusion can be achieved. To hear it, go to