BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
'I want nuclear test compensation'
Christmas Island
Derek Redfern attended Christmas Island nuclear tests
Veterans and civilians involved in the UK and US nuclear tests in the South Pacific in the 1950s and 1960s are considering legal action, after claiming the tests led to chronic ill-health.

Derek Redfern, 62, from Newquay, Cornwall, believes his problems were caused by H-bomb tests on Christmas Island in the South Pacific in 1958.

"I was a 21-year-old diver with HMS Narvick and the ship was moored at Christmas Island.

"When the first bomb went off I was on the deck of another ship, the Lord Byron, which was moored alongside.

"We had heard there was going to be a bomb but we were not told there was any danger or given protective clothing.

"The bomb went off 24 miles away on the other side of the island and it was the worst explosion I have ever experienced in my life.

Shock wave

"Although I had my back to the explosion the light was so intense I could see right through my hands to the bones.


I was... suffering every day from what was described as headaches, but were actually worse than migraines

"There was an overwhelming noise and the calm sea was disturbed by a shock wave which travelled towards us.

"And although it was baking weather in the middle of the Pacific, a wall of heat hit us which felt at least three times as intense as the sun.

"Straight afterwards I developed little boils all over my skin, but the doctors put it down to prickly heat, even though I never had it before.

"There were three other bombs after that and I left Christmas Island in autumn of the same year.

"Four years later, at the age of 25, I was invalided out of the Navy suffering every day from what was described as headaches, but were actually worse than migraines, and bad dreams.

Pension worries

"Up until then I had been extremely fit, but at 26 I had my first angina attack.


Doctors have diagnosed me as having post-traumatic stress disorder and I have suffered heart attacks

"I have since developed diabetes and glaucoma, and I sweat profusely every night and still have bad dreams.

"Doctors have diagnosed me as having post-traumatic stress disorder and I have suffered heart attacks.

"I have been unable to work and only started receiving a 30% pension nine years ago.

"Now I want compensation because if I die of something which the MoD says is not its fault, my wife will not get my pension."

He added that very few of the crew of HMS Narvick were still alive, and claimed most had suffered health problems.

See also:

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes