UK Vets

Grapple 1, Malden Island 1957

Grapple 1, Malden Island 1957

Britain’s nuclear test veterans fight for justice

An estimated 22,000 military personnel served at Britain’s nuclear tests in the central Pacific in the late 1950s.

Servicemen who observed the explosions from Christmas Island say they had no protective gear, but were ordered to turn their backs and cover their faces with their hands. Some reported the flash was so bright they could see their bones through closed eyes, like an x-ray. Others were knocked down by the blast and burned by the heat.

Combat engineer Ken McGinley (founder of the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association) said that afterwards he was ordered to clean up piles of dead birds and bomb debris. Men went swimming in the lagoon, ate fish they caught in the blast zone, and drank rainwater collected in tarpaulins – oblivious to any risk from radioactive fallout.

Some servicemen got sick while still on Christmas Island; others became ill after returning home. Some seemed fine for decades before developing cancers and other rare diseases. Nuclear test veterans reported that their wives had high rates of miscarriages and stillbirths, and their children also suffered from birth defects and unusual diseases.

Many were convinced these illnesses were related to their exposure to nuclear radiation in the Pacific. Their questions and concerns were met with silence and denial by the British government. A bid to be recognized by the European Court of Human Rights was turned down in 1998, which said it had no jurisdiction in the case.

Researcher Sue Rabbitt Roff at the University of Dundee surveyed 2,500 veterans and their children in 1999, reporting unusually high rates of infertility and birth defects.

Britain’s Sunday Mirror newspaper took on the veterans’ case in their Justice For Nuke Vets campaign led by Mirror columnist Richard Stott (1943-2007), but the government continued to deny any links between the veterans’ health and radiation exposure.

In 2007 two scientific studies demonstrated links between the veterans’ exposure to nuclear radiation and health problems:

  • A Massey University study of New Zealand nuclear test veterans found genetic damage at three times the normal rate – comparable to victims of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.
  • An independent study by the group Green Audit looked at long-term effects of radiation exposure in British veterans and their families, finding significantly higher rates of miscarriages and stillbirths, infant deaths, childhood cancers, and inherited genetic deformities.

As a result of the studies, 700 New Zealand and UK veterans launched a class action lawsuit against the British government claiming NZ $36 million in damages. The Ministry of Defense countered with a statute of limitations defense, saying veterans should have made any legal claims within three years of suffering an injury, a tactic that could delay the court hearing for several years.

Following a parliamentary inquiry in early 2008, the government agreed to fund new studies into veterans’ health and agreed to pay interim compensation of 4-thousand pounds each.

Of 22,000 who served during Operation Grapple, only 3,000 are still alive.

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS

Christopher Edward Noone, RAF
British Nuclear Test Veterans Association

It was as though the gates of hell had opened up, a curling mass of white and red-hot superheated cloud twisting and curling inside and out, covering a good percentage of the sky. It was still glowing red with heat up to half an hour later.

Ken McGinley, Combat Engineers
Jane’s Oceania

At the moment of detonation there was a flash. At that instant I was able to see straight through my hands. I could see the veins. I could see the blood, I could see all the skin tissue, I could see the bones and worst of all, I could see the flash itself. It was like looking into a white-hot diamond, a second sun.

LINKS

Britain’s nuclear test veterans win major victory in battle for justice
Sunday Mirror

Britain’s nuclear test veterans have won a major victory in the battle for justice more than 50 years after they were exposed to crippling radiation.

New call for Porton Down Nuclear test vets compensation
Sunday Mirror

They were both used as guinea pigs in Government experiments 50 years ago. But today Ken Earl has won an apology and recognition while Ken McGinley continues to suffer.

Christmas Island H-bomb controversy
BBC Inside Out

We follow one man’s journey as he tries to find out if the H-bomb test on Christmas Island witnessed half a century ago is now putting his life at risk.

500 Year Nuke Curse
Sunday Mirror

A major scientific study into the families of soldiers used as guinea pigs in Britain’s first nuclear tests shows they will suffer acute health problems for TWENTY generations.

Radiation Revelation
New Scientist

Scientists’ requests for blood tests on servicemen about to take part in British nuclear tests in the 1950s were overruled by armed forces commanders, newly declassified documents reveal.

Nuclear test veterans lose legal battle
BBC News

Veterans of British nuclear tests in the Pacific in the 1950s have lost their latest effort to establish whether their human rights were violated by the government of the day.

The dark side of the nuclear family
New Statesman

Children suffer chronic illness because grandfathers were exposed to radiation.

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77 Responses to UK Vets

  1. lynne says:

    My father was at malden and christmas island on loan from the british to the nz ers as a meterolical officer. He has of course passed away from cancer and my mother has not recieved any compensation because the nzers say he was the british responsibility and she couldnot recieve a war pension. My health as a child born after christmas islandiscompletly different to my brothers who was born before this event. Does not seem fair she was treated this way

  2. Kenneth Michael Cox says:

    I was with the Royal Air Force on Xmas Is 1957/8. Now 73 I suffered strange illness’s shortly after my return completely baffling my Drs. All three gave A different diagnosis including Yellow Fever and Polio . It lasted for 6 weeks. In 2008 I had a repeat of the symptoms whilst in Asia, but this time the Tropical Deases Specialist wrongly diagnosed Denge Fever, then gave up when I recovered. One of my 4 children has Lupus
    I have not been invited to have any screening or how to claim any compensation

    • Ron Knight says:

      I can attest to similar conditions. After sailing home from Monte Bello Islands, I was admitted to the Chillwell military hospital in Nottingham. Although nothing specific was found it was thought I might have an ulcer and discharged me with tablets.
      This condition lasted for 2 1/2 years and whilst serving in Kenya it was diagnosed as a peptic ulcer. Vomiting most mornings was common for me.
      As for claiming compensation forget it. The MOD and every government in England will ensure you will not receive a penny.
      They are total liars and corrupt and always say “We were in no danger”

  3. Ron Knight says:

    There are many thousands of vets who suffer and their children will suffer in the long term future. Politicians have not got the moral courage or backbone to finally admit that we suffered serious and deadly illness’s from Radiation. But the biggest villains are the faceless men at the MOD. Veteran of Monte Bello Island 1952 and Christmas Island 1958/59.
    The Islanders are the totally innocent victims in all this, much like the Aboriginal people of Maralinga Australia

  4. Chris says:

    My father was in the RAF,he was in the Pacific for the nuclear tests,he died of cancer in 1965,is this a coincidence? I don’t know,he was 31 when he died,i think maybe not,thankyou to the british govenment for hiding the truth as to what really happened.you should all be ashamed of yourselfs

  5. Ron Knight says:

    I can understand your angst, losing your father at such a young age.
    The MOD from day one has steadfastly denied any wrong doing,
    But we all know when their lips move they are lying.
    I have lost several good friends that were on Monte Bello Islands and some lost their children at birth. While our nuclear veterans die the MOD will keep on denying until the last man is gone…But what happens to our children and their children when they become sick through the radiation that their fathers went through and passéd it on to them. But don’t worry the government of the day will have their noses in the tax trough for themselves and bugger the nuclear veterans

  6. Son says:

    My father keith weeks royal engineers, 1958 to 1959, passed in June with stomach, lung, and liver cancer. Could this have been the time on Christmas Island

  7. Roy Bett says:

    Roy Bett 24/01/2014 – I too was at Christmas Island in 1957 on HMS Warrior and HMS Messina but on the fomer for the first test on 15 May 1957.. I am now 76 and thankfully seem to have been one of the lucky ones to have escaped any positive side effects. Only today I was reading my copy of “Mid Pacific News ” published on the day the bomb was detonated and have several photos of us in our antic- lfash gear.

    • Richard Jackson says:

      Roy, my Dad(Wally Jackson) also served on HMS Messina at the tests. Unfortunately he passed away 14 years ago from a stroke. He was part of the East Midlands BNTVA in the 80’s trying to get recognition for all the problems ex-service men went through after the tests.

  8. terry Williams says:

    I served on Xmas island from December 1958 to December 1959 in the sergeants mess. my son was born with congenital dislocation of the hips and has suffered with leg bone problems for years. I have always blamed it on my time on the island. I never witnessed a bomb blast but the contamination must have landed on the island and will be there for many many years. I have had stomach problems for years and prostate cancer. come on British government pay everyone who served there automatically . it is so difficult to prove what caused our illnesses.

  9. sally collins says:

    My Uncle was on Christmas Island, he was in R.A.F when they did the nuclear tests ,
    he died from stomach cancer in 1983 he was 54 years old, his family never got any compensation. Disgusting using people as Guinea pigs

  10. anthony says:

    I was here when this happened im now 75 years old and now been told i have cancer and have been suffering with mythenia gravis and im worried this is going to affect my children in life,we deserve compensation

  11. fiona bloomfield says:

    My father also witnessed the tests whilst on Christmas Island. I have suffered from cancer, my nephew was diagnosed with leukaemia and my child has facial birth defects. It really does make me wonder!

  12. Liz Donfrancesco says:

    My father turned 80 yesterday and witnessed the testing on Easter and Christmas Island. I am his daughter and my Cardiologist asked the question whether my heart problem (endocarditis and replacement aortic heart valve) was linked to what my Father was exposed to. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

  13. Jean says:

    My late husband, Barry Greatorex was sent to Christmas Island 1589/59 (not exactly sure of dates). He spent a year on the island and talked about a nuclear explosion occurring close to the island. He spoke of the wave of heat that engulfed them within seconds of the explosion. He passed away at the age of 44 in 1983. He had an enlarged heart. Not sure whether this information is relevant.

  14. Jean says:

    Correct date with reference to Barry Greatorex. Should read 1958/59

  15. kenneth johnstone Spr Royal engineers says:

    I am a nuclear test survivor who served on Christmas Island from Nov ’57-Nov’58 and witnessed 5 atmospheric detonations, including ”The bomb that went wrong” This was a hydrogen device that was supposed to detonate at 8000 ft ,but according to those in the know ,reckoned it went off at 2000 ft due to a faulty atmospheric pressure detonator This took place on the 28th April’58. As the mushroom cloud cooled, a huge black rain cloud formed that drenched us with radio active water,that caused tight bunches of blisters and killed the hair follicles on my legs and theyve been hairless since.When the blisters subsided i then noticed large red headless lumps, that were painless but left scars When i returned to Blighty,i began to suffer stomach problems, which were diagnosed as peptic ulcers,then deuodenal ulcers and later ,colonic polyps that needed surgery I still suffer from these conditions along with spondolosis ,and bouts of excruciating constipation. Every time i meet a new doctor,i always tell them that my conditions were caused by radiation,and they look at me as if i’m mad,but usually admit to knowing nothing about the tests,and i doubt they know anything about the effects of radiation As well as the radiation we had to put up with being sprayed from the air by SGT Flit with DDT,which is now a banned substance that causes cancers I think we’d have stood more chance in a battle zone.Can i just say to my fellow survivors,Stay strong,we’ve come this far and total REspect to our brothers who have passed on RIP Spr ken johnstone,59 Airfield Construction Sqn RE

  16. Raymond Hext says:

    My father corporal Ray Hext served with the re in Christmas Island he sadly died 27 years ago due a heart attack he was 51 ,he spoke of the explosions, they were told to turn round, with hands covering there eyes,wearing nothing but khaki shorts ,he said when the bombs exploded he felt his skin burn from the heat, also he could see his bones through his hands. I HOPE SOME OF THIS INFORMATION HELPS AS I THINK JUSTICE SHOULD BE SERVED TO THOSE WHO ARE TO BLAME QUESTIONS SHOULD BE ANSWERED, OR ONCE AGAIN WILL THE GOVERNMENT SWEEP IT UNDER THE CARPET RAY HEXT JNR

  17. Malcolm Waddell says:

    My father served on HMS Messina during Operation Grapple tests carried out on Chrismas Island, I still have all his photographs of the Mushroom the Island and HMS Messina, he died in 2006 with cancer throughout his body, brother and sister to this date suffer with Kidney problems, if I remember correctly my mother was checked when she was pregnant.

    Malcolm Waddell, My Father was James Waddell(Engine room)

  18. elizabeth dock says:

    5.4.2015
    elizabeth dock daughter of archie morris
    My father past 20.3.2014
    He served alongside ken mcginley
    my father sufferd various illnesses all his adult life after being on christmas island .
    my mother had a still born child
    all 3 daughters have had misscarriges . I also had a still born child .
    Both sons suffer knee problems all children suffer from anxiety and deppression . Some have dixlexia. Kidney problems . Urinery problems . Hearing . Grandchildren have been suffering anxiety and deppression some have dixlexia and autisim adhd skin problems hearing to . It is high time this goverment mod whoever accepted what these soldiers did .they served the same as any other soldier did and should get compensation for there service . The exposure to radiation is passing right down families . It was there responsability to protect these soldierswith protection and they did not . It does not matter if this happend years ago give these people the respect and acknolegment they so rightly deserve . By not paying out you are simply saying you do not care at all for your service men and women

    • Ernie Sharp says:

      23490304 Spr Ernie Sharp I served along side Ken McGinley and read his book he told so many untruths about his time on the island he was a regular soldier not a conscript he new like the rest of us what he was getting into his book has so many untruths in it he has done the BNTVA and the claim for compensation a great deal of harm

  19. Craig says:

    My Father passed away this weekend and he too was a veteran of the Christmas Island nuclear tests. His last years were spent unsuccessfully fighting Leukemia. He knew that his illness was probably caused by the exposure but he was still proud of the service he provided for his country.
    R.I.P Captain Colin Girdlestone

  20. Andrew Gray says:

    Hello and let me introduce myself, my name is Andrew Gray and I live in the quiet Scottish borders. My father 1921555 Cpl James Gray served in the Royal Air Force during national service time and my late father was also on the most remote coral Atoll in the world Xmas Island Kiribati for Operation Grapple. He served on Cassidy air base as an instrument’s technician on the Shackleton’s I think that were doing a string of job’s including Maritime reconnaissance out there and he was with 160 wing because thanks to me recently digging out his full colour slides from operation Grapple, I also found out on the side of one of the slide boxes that were developed in Honolulu 1957 my dad’s BFPO address for Xmas Island and it said my Dads name rank number and Tent A1, 160 wing RAF, BFPO 170, C/O Hickam A.F.B. The slides I took down to Asdas photo shop here in Gala after viewing on my projector. The colour on the slides had turned a little red over the years stored away in the attic but Asdas managed to restore them to their original colour and I am now in position of some of the best photos of the Vickers Valiant B1 Bombers of 49 Squadron during Operation Grapple. I have sent a copy of all the slides off to the 49er’s association to which I am an honouree friend now because the photos are of historical interest to the nation. I am in the middle of locating my Dads service records and my search has led me to RAF Cranwell records dept. I want to learn more about my Dads work there and throughout his RAF service, but more so I would love to find out more about my Dads work and friends on Cassidy Air Base so they might be able to paint a better picture for me as my dad didn’t like talking to much about the bomb tests because he was a quiet man and he wanted a quiet life after serving in the RAF so his siblings learned never to ask such question’s regarding the tests. If anyone on here might have known my Dad I would be so grateful to hear from you. My FB page is https://www.facebook.com/Andy.Gaza.Gray .

  21. Andrew Gray says:

    I forgot to mention on the above letter that my dad died at the age of 65 with prostate cancer and osteoporosis after a two year battle. I have often thought there is a link to the tests.

  22. Andrew Gray says:

    I have just set up a community page on Facebook for all the children and relatives of the service men that were involved in Operation Grapple. It’s a place to form new friendships and share our stories and photo’s and film footage of a time when our Dads were very young and serving for our country in one of Britain’s biggest scientific experiment. Feel free to join my page if you have a close connection to the tests.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Children-of-the-H-Bomb-Operation-Grapple-1957-58/1632593240313421?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

  23. Mrs Linda R Shaw says:

    My late husband was on Christmas Island for the tests he had a lot of health problems he was in The Royal Engineers

  24. Donald A.Baker says:

    I was serving on H.M.S. Scarborough at the Last set of tests in 1958 as a Trainee Engineroom Artificer 5th Class
    My function was to (if required) act as a Monitor with a Geiger counter ( Artificers 5th class being expendable – Smile)
    It has taken 57 years to finally get a Doctor to ask ME why my white corpuscle count is consistently LOW and did I suffer a lot of illness
    My answer was No and I then explained to him why it might be and his first reaction was ” The Radiation appears to have damaged your Marrowbone
    I have had and still do do have a lot of “Conditions” the first of which manifested itself at the age of 28 as Duodenal Ulcers Now was it the RUM remember 54.5% proof Neat at 1/8pint a day or was it something else ? (Smile)

    A repair job was finally carried out in 1979 with a life saving Emergency op during a routine internal examination

    I’ve also gone on to develop Polycystic Kidneys which the Medical profession passed off as hereditary and yet none of my children or grandchildren have inherited this trait.

    Quite happy to Accept my lot in the order of things I’m now 78 and looking forward to many more years yet being a thorn in the side of the establishment, I feel my one gripe is the Issue of a Service Medal on behalf of the Nation

    I see one has been struck but to then be asked to PAY FOR IT I regard as a TOTAL INSULT

    It is time for one to be ISSUED to ALL who were seconded to this EXERCISE as recognition of our Service to the Crown and to be worn amongst General Service Medals

  25. Peter Child says:

    I served with 1325 sqdn (Christmas Island Airways.) from the begining of 1957 till the end of 1958′ I saw all the bombs of Grapple X and Y and quite a few lesser bombs in between, The one of the large bombs Which was mentioned. by Kennith Johnson did go wrong as when the cloud started to drift the tanoy demanded that all 1325 ground crew return to make ready all the aircraft so that all hierarchy could be taken to a safer place including Sir William Penny and a host of others,
    Since getting married and having four children my wife also suffered a still borne and and our three girl children suffer skltal problems and the youngest a form of dwarfisim.
    I’m am eighty years old and KNOW that my time on Christmas Island has got to be responsible

  26. colin jarman says:

    colin jarman
    my father sufferd various illnesses and died of cancer. went my father died he leave me a photo album with lots of pictures of the Christmas Island and the bombs going off. also in the photo album there are pictures’ of the planes landing on the aircraft Carrier my dad was on and there are pictures of the men pushing the planes off the aircraft Carrier in to the sea. the exposure to radiation from the planes must have been very high.

  27. podger78 says:

    The picture featured is from H M S COOK We were anchored here for the bomb test en rout to New Zealand .Has anyone been compensated regarding illness caused by the tests.

    • podger78 says:

      After all these years the illnesses are kicking in back problems, diabites , blood pressure to name a few my wife died of cancer my grand daughter has no hearing in her one ear my grand son was plagued with eczema what next for us veterans before the government give us what we deserve is the time going by when they give us the truth when we are all gone we didnt ask for it you put us in the front line when you all sat back in your plush surroundings in the clear awaiting the outcome you didnt get it WE did

  28. julie Steele (nee Templeton) says:

    My dad Stanley Templeton was at Christmas Island, he was there with the Royal Navy. He had to help lay all the detonators and wiring (he was bomb disposal). He said they were told to turn their backs when the explosions happened and were actively encouraged to eat all the fish which were floating belly up in the sea, he said there were hundreds of dead fish. My elder sister was born with congenital scoliosis, which was diagnosed when she was at school. She required major surgery, and was one of the first children to have a Steele rod graft. I was found to also have a milder form of congenital scoliosis, but later in life. My parents always believed the spinal deformities were due to the bomb testing and lack of protection. Sadly my dad died at the young age of 68yrs, due to a rarer form of vascular dementia (progressed rapidly and aggressively over 2 years which is when he died).

  29. Roy Bett says:

    Hi Colin, I was on the aircraft carrier at the same time 1956/7 and probably have the same photographs. The aircraft being pushed over the side were Avenger aircraft (American). They were past their sell by date which was the reason they were disposed of. I still have the newspaper produced by the Royal Engineers on Christmas giving all the details of the firsts bomb going. I also still have the Operation Grapple handbook (Naval Edition). I am now 78 and although i have had a few problems I think I was one on the luckier ones.

    • Dawn Whitehead says:

      Hello Roy , I am currently working with a gentleman who was on 1325 flight from Dishforth in 1956 to Christmas Island , I am supporting him in trying to find his old comrades from that time , and more about the tests , he has lost due to several moves all his photos , do you know of any website I can or organization I can contact, regards Dawn

      • R BETT says:

        Dawn, Further to my previous reply I have in may possession a copy of the newspaper printed by the army on Christmas Island on the day the first H Bomb went off.  Unfortunately it is in the old foolscap ( slightly larger than A4) but I have scanned it and will willingly send it to you if you let me have his or your e-mail address. Failing that or if it is easier I will photocopy and send it.  With the size it is very slightly a jigsaw.Regards, Roy

  30. Roy Bett says:

    Hi Dawn, Thanks for the contact. I don’t know of a website but I have just purchased a book about it all called “Between Heaven and Hell”. I haven’t started it yet so I cannot comment on it but the Amazon reviews rate it quite highly. It is available from Amazon in various forms. I have got the kindle edition so I don’t think there will be photos in it – the hard back may well have. Hope this is of some help.

    Regards,

    Roy

  31. Roy Bett says:

    Hi Dawn, As I haven’t heard from you since my reply I was just wondering if the reply reached you..
    Regards, Roy

    • Dawn Whitehead says:

      sorry for delay I have your replys today ,my e-mail address is dawn.whitehead@sssft.nhs.uk I would be grateful for any documents and information you can send me

      • Dawn Whitehead says:

        i am trying to locate a RAF serviceman who served with the gentleman i am helping who has given permission for me to give his name its Michael John Sargent known as John, he would dearly like to find out what happened to his friend unfortunately we don’t know his first name as he was always known as Taffy Jones, he was living in Abberdare in south wales and went to Johns wedding also john visited him at his home when they were serving together ,i have managed to get a photo of them together taken the day before they left for Chirstmas Island in November 1956 but wondered if you have any suggestions what else i can do. regards Dawn

  32. Dawn Whitehead says:

    thank you for the copy of the newspaper ,I am currently putting all the information together and this is a big help thanks again. regards Dawn

  33. Ann mckenzie says:

    I think the government got off with murder m y mum said dad was a change d man when he came back unfortunately my dad was there twice I might have had a better dad but I know Christmas Island broke him as a person I might of had a real dad if it wasn’t for all his bad memories of that plas

  34. Garry Freeman says:

    Roy I believe my father John Freeman also served on HMS Warrior and maybe the aircraft carrier, as he used to tell stories of them pushing old aircraft off the back into the sea as in your link. I would be interested to know if anyone knew my father who sadly passed away in 2010 from cancer. He also suffered from MSA for many years before, and like everyone else I always thought the tests may well have had something to do with that..

  35. Peter Gingell says:

    I was there in 1956/57 how do I join the Veterans .I was on Malden Islands

    • Dennis Hammant says:

      Hi Peter, I hope you are as well as I am. We were going to meet up sometime since I moved to Hampshire but it didn’t happen, maybe we could rearrange and try again?

      I joined the vets but at that time they didn’t seem very interested in servicemen on the island 1956/7. Also there was some problem with where the money went that I, along with others donated towards something for the islanders. I stopped my subscription although I have thought of rejoining if things have settled down.

      Hopefully speak one day.

      Bedt regards,

      Dennis

      Dennis Hammant, RAF fire section, Operation Grapple, Christmas Island.

      • Peter Gingell says:

        Hi Dennis it was good to see your message, look forward to going over the times we had before and after H Bomb test.Garrison Photographer was a position I did enjoy.

      • Dennis Hammant says:

        April 5, 2017 at 1:58 pm Hi again Peter, I live near West Meon in the Meon Valley, Hampshire. It would be nice to meet up somewhere.. Can’t remember where you live but I guess there must be a half way house that would be good for us both. I am available most days. I have just turned 80 so nice to know we are two of the lucky ones.

        Best regards for now, Dennis.

        Sent from my iPad

        >

      • Peter Gingell says:

        Hi Dennis sorry for not replying to you ,so many things have been going on .I have had to delay our meeting but things have settled down now ,so am looking forward to us meeting up .Peter.

  36. Louise McGinley says:

    My father is Ken McGinley who was at Christmas Island and founded the British Nuclear Tests Veterans Association and was Chairman until 2000. My dad has fought tirelessly for the veterans and for justice and has been to the European court twice and travelled all over the world campaigning for human rights.

    I am very proud of my father and all he has done.

  37. Graham Elwell says:

    How many test vets are left alive
    today 1st Nov 2016

  38. Mark Penfold says:

    My Grandad William John Silk Warrant Officer 1st Class was in charge of oil om Xmas Island. He was my hero and sadly passed away in 1998 From Unknown Heart Disease. My Nan is still alive at 94, would she be able to claim this compensation? Does anyone recall my Grandfather from Xmas Island. I have what I believe is the only Telephone Directory left in existence for the operation.

    • Ray Towsey says:

      Hi. Mark. I served on HMS Messina at Christmas Island
      for the November 1957 Grapple X Test. I was 20 at the time and have suffered with various heart problems since.I emigrated to South Africa in 1969 and know nothing of any compensation you mentioned in your letter. Kindly let me know any details if possible. Kind regards, Ray Towsey

      • Roy Bett says:

        Hi Ray.

        Were you the Ray Towsey who joined up in 1954 and Was at Ceres 1954/55. If so we were classmates and you possibly relived me on Messina. Regards Roy Bett

  39. Colin brown says:

    I was on h m sMessina 1956/1957 I saw three nuclear tests

    For the past thirty years I have had various illness

    Which include heart surgery
    Pancresitis
    Remove of gall bladder
    Two operations on my prostate
    Knee operation
    Cacanail spur
    Thyroid problems
    Lupus
    Ice cold toes summer and winter
    Restless legs
    Nerve damage
    Small fibre neuropathy
    Anti-to/said antibodies

  40. Morgan Jones says:

    I was there 1957 HMS COOK you look like you are suffering I have a lot of problems but not so many as you cheer up mate we are all still trying to get this government to listen perhaps our new prime minister Mrs May will help us out.Many many of our lads have lost their lives and nothing has been done our blast was operation GRAPPLE YOU NEVER KNOW WE MAY GET OUR COMPENSATION BEFORE ITS TOO LATE

  41. john hamilton says:

    would anybody know or remember my granddad albert hamilton he was from northern Ireland I have seen pics of him in Christmas island but I never knew what he was doing until now thanks

  42. Mark Penfold says:

    I have many pictures here and momentos of my Grandad from Christmas Island. Where can I post them

  43. Ray Towsey says:

    Hi Roy,
    Yes that was me..Kindly contact me on towseyer@netactive.co.za. Kind regards, Ray.t.

  44. Ray Towsey says:

    Hi Mark Penfold and/or Roy Betts
    I have some interesting photos to share and I don’t seem to be getting my messages properly on to this website – are you receiving them?
    regards – Ray Towsey

  45. Dennis Hammant says:

    Hello everyone, I was on Christmas Island 1956/7 and was part of the advance party being the first on the island at the start. I was part of the RAF fire section based at the main camp and on the airfield site.

    Is there anyone out there who was with me during that time?

    Two of my close friends were John and Benny, if you are still around I would love to hear from you.

    I have a large amount of photographs and colour slides if anyone is interested in seeing them.

    Best regards to all,

    Dennis.

  46. Dennis Hammant says:

    Hi again Peter, I live near West Meon in the Meon Valley, Hampshire. It would be nice to meet up somewhere..
    Can’t remember where you live but I guess there must be a half way house that would be good for us both. I am available most days.

    I have just turned 80 so nice to know we are two of the lucky ones.

    Best regards for now, Dennis.

    • Peter Gingell says:

      Hi Dennis sounds a good idea I live in Pagham just outside Bognor Regis .
      If we can decide a place for us both to meet would be fine bye me.
      Looking forward to having a chat with you ,I often think back the times we met on the airfield while I was doing my job taking official photos.

  47. Dennis Hammant says:

    Great, looking forward to it, will start searching for somewhere, if you have any ideas please say.

    Cheers for now,

    Dennis.

  48. Dennis Hammant says:

    Hi again,

    How about The Castle Inn, Rowlands Castle? It’s around the half way mark between us. A lunch time would be good for a drink then if we get hungry we could have a bite.

    You are welcome to give me a ring if you prefer, 01730 829469.

    ATB Dennis.

    • Peter Gingell says:

      Hi Dennis your suggestion is fine bye me ,if you could let me know what day and time ,
      Friday and Saturday’s are out ,I work those days gives me something to do.

      cheers for now.

      Peter.

  49. Dennis Hammant says:

    How about Wednesday 26th next week at around midday?

  50. Dennis Hammant says:

    Hi Peter,

    Any thoughts about this Wednesday 26th?

    ATB, Dennis.

  51. Peter Gingell says:

    Hi Dennis sorry about the delay have been trying to rearrange one or two thing’s ,but unfortunately haven’t managed it so far.
    Is it possible we could pick another date which of course is convenient to you ,will you be on your own?, or will you have company, if so Toni my wife may come .

    Regards Peter.

  52. Dennis Hammant says:

    Originally I was coming alone but if you would like the ladies there Ann could come?

  53. Dennis Hammant says:

    Hi Peter,

    Any more thoughts on meeting up with or without the girls and when?

    Regards, Dennis.

  54. Dennis Hammant says:

    Hi Peter,
    Not having heard from you I hope you are well?
    Best regards,
    Dennis.

    • Peter Gingell says:

      Hi Dennis sorry about not coming back to you sooner ,had so many things going on ,but still looking forward to us meeting up,I will when we meet up be on my own .
      Best regards Peter

      • Dennis Hammant says:

        Hello Peter, very pleased you are well, I was getting worried for you not hearing back.
        Meeting up will be good, is the Castle Inn at Rowlands Castle still alright for you?
        I am fairly flexible so what dates do you have, give me a few so I can sort one out.
        All the best,
        Dennis.

  55. Andrew Gray says:

    My late father also served on Kiribati Christmas Island on Cassidy air Base as he was in the RAF doing national service. He died at the age of 65 with Prostate cancer and osteoporosis. During the years of development of these bombs the scientific boffins were also testing out radioactive gasses from nuclear sites across the UK on it’s own people to see what the effects would be. The Government will never stop the cover up regarding the tests sadly. Look up my page Children of the H BOMB on Facebook where I posted my Dad’s Christmas Island photos a couple of yrs ago.

    Andrew Gray
    grayandy65@gmail.com

  56. Dennis Hammant says:

    Hi Peter,

    Hope you well, looking forward to meeting up?

    Best regards,

    Dennis.

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